Indian Cuisine

Dal Makhni

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Dal Makhni is queen of the dal (lentil curry) recipes. It’s mildly spicy, creamy and delicious.

Dals or Lentils are the staple ingredient of Indian cooking, there are so many varieties and so many different preparations, recipes from every state of India. Amongst all those Dal Makhni is my favourite, it’s creamy, buttery and delectable. Maknhi literally means buttery and this exquisite recipe gets it’s texture from a lot of butter and cream.

If you are watching your diet and trying to loose a few, then I will suggest don’t bother making this recipe 😉 These days there are a lot of recipes of Dal Makhni on internet which are dairy free or low in calorie but in my opinion that is just a disparage of the word Makhni 😀

The recipe I am sharing with you is my take on the traditional one, I have been cooking this from many years and everyone loves it. I had an opportunity to cook it for 200 people when I was in my school in New York, also while I was working in professional kitchens.

It takes about 5-6 hours to make it but perhaps you can shorten the cooking time. Another thing worth mentioning is this dish tastes better the next day or better still after a few days.

Do give it a try!


  • 3/4 cup Black lentils (whole urad dal)
  • 1/4 cup red lobia beans (rajma)
  • 2 tbsp chickpea gram (chana dal)
  • 1 big white onion finely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes diced or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 5 big garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 ginger finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few peppercorns
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp red paprika (for colour)
  • 2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp veg oil
  • 1.5 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup milk extra optional while cooking the gravy


Rinse the beans and lentils together and soak them for 8 hours to overnight. Strain the water and rinse again, cook them in pressure cooker adding 4 cups of water, salt, 1 tsp oil, 2 garlic cloves and a pinch of asafoetida. To cook in the pressure cooker, turn the flame on high and bring the pressure on high then reduce the flame and cook for 18-20 minutes.

While the dal is getting ready, make the gravy.

In a frying pan heat together butter and oil. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and cardamom. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, now add the onion and sauté till it becomes golden brown in colour. Add ginger, green chilies and all the spice powders except garam masala. Sauté for 5 minutes and add the tomatoes.

Fry this mixture on the low flame till the water is evaporated. Open the pressure cooker and mash the lentils and boil them again with the gravy.

Add milk, cream and garam masala, let it cook on a very low flame or in a double boiler for about 5-6 hours till the gravy thickens up and you get the desired consistency. You may have to add some milk in between to loosen up the gravy and to get more creamy consistency also to prevent it from sticking it to the bottom.

Before serving add a small cube of butter and 1 tsp cream (optional). Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot with rice and rotis.

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