Indian Essentials: Three Recipes for Dal Makhani


I have three favourite Dal Makhani Recipes. Enjoy them, they are all tremendous, just a little different from each other.

Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also liked our Indian recipes here and here, or some Dal recipes.

You might also like to read:

Dal Makhani a la Oberoi

Makhani is a Hindi word for “butter”, and boy, does this live up to its name! I had Dal Makhani in India at the Oberoi hotel in Bangalore. It was so good, I asked the Chef for the recipe, and he kindly typed it out for me. It is very easy to cook, but will take some time, as the black lentils have a long cooking time. Traditionally it is cooked slowly overnight.

150 g Urad Dal (black lentils) 50 g rajma (red kidney beans) 50 g channa dal (gram lentils)
10g ginger, peeled 2 – 3 garlic cloves (about 10 g) 2 green chillies
Tempering 50 ml ghee or oil 1 tspn cumin
2 – 3 cloves garlic pinch asafoetida powder
3 g chilli powder or cayenne pepper 100 g tomato puree
100 g butter 30 ml cream
0.5 tspn fenugreek seeds 0.5 tspn garam masala

Soak all of the lentils (urad, rajma and channa dal) in hot water for at least 1 hour, and overnight if possible. Wash four times, changing the water each time. Boil with ginger, garlic, green chillies and salt, and simmer until lentils are well cooked. Drain off excess water and mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle.

Heat the ghee or oil until quite hot, and add the cumin seeds and stir until they crackle. Add the garlic and fry until brownish. Add the asafoetida powder and tomato puree. Bring to the boil, add the cooked dal, mixing well. Bring to the boil again, adding the butter and cream. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the fenugreek and garam masala and adjust seasonings. YUM.


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Nilgiris Dal Makhani

Nilgiris is a Hindi word meaning Blue Mountain. Apt for the name of an Sydney Indian Restaurant, Cooking School and Home Food Provedore.

100 g whole black lentils (urad dhal) 50 g Red Kidney Beans (rajma) 50 g Split chick pea lentils
1 small stick cinnamon 2 or 3 green cardamom pods 2 or 3 cloves
1 Tblspn grated ginger 1 Tblspn crushed garlic 1 Tblspn chilli powder, or to taste
1 can tomato puree 250 g unsalted butter 1 Tblspn dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
Salt to taste

Wash the lentils and soak overnight. Add the cinnamon, cracked cardamom pods and cloves to the soaked lentils. Simmer over a low heat until lentils are well cooked. Remove the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves (if you can locate them) and mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle.

Add the remaining ingredients except for fenugreek leaves, and simmer for a while. Check the seasoning, add the dried fenugreek leaves and serve hot with rice or Indian Breads.


Bazaar Dal Makhani | Heat in The Kitchen

 Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani

The story of dal makhani goes like this:

Some time ago in Bangalore, India, I had a dal makhani to die for. It was just a room service meal ordered as I was very busy at the time, yet it made me sink back into my couch with a wonderful smile on my face – as if I had died and gone to Dal Heaven.

I rang through to the kitchen and asked for the recipe. Oh what hilarity that caused in the kitchen – much laughter and giggles, and simply hours later, I received a typed up recipe from the chef at the Taj in Bangalore. It is the most wonderous dish, full of butter and cream and takes some time, so a dish for special occasions.

Recently I wanted to make it again, so off to the wonderful Asian Bazzar in Market Street in Adelaide to get my dal. I knew that I needed 3 different lentils but could not recall them. I asked the wonderful indian man if he could help me. “But of course madam. You need Kidney beans, chana dal and urad dal.” Then he proceeded to write out his recipe from memory! Here it is. It is just as yummy as the other recipe, which you can find on my web site, but lots simpler. Go for it!

Indian Bazzar’s Dal Makhani

Use 1.5 cups of urad dal,
0.5 cups of chana dal,
0.5 cups of red kidney beans

Soak the beans overnight.

Cook the beans until tender with 1 onion, 1 knob of ginger, 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 red chilli or your favourite curry mix (use a good one) to taste, all chopped finely, and salt (use only celtic sea salt for superior flavour). Don’t use too much chilli or curry. You want a tang, but don’t want it to be really hot.

Cook until well done and just a little mushy. Mash some of the beans on the side of the saucepan. Stir through 2 Tblspn tomato paste, the same amount of ghee or butter, 25 – 30 ml of cream and adjust the seasonings. Heat through, and stir through half a bunch of coriander, chopped. Serve with rice and wait for the “Yum”s.

You can serve this as part of an Indian meal, but more and more these days I do Fusion Cooking – I could serve this with a nice salad of greens, tomato and onion, perhaps cucumber and bean sprouts. Not much dressing on it, and certainly not too acidic. No vinegar – use lemon or lime and not much of it. You could shred some kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass and sprinkle through the salad as well.



Bazaar Dal Makhani | Indian | Heat in The Kitchen

These have each been cross posted on A (Life) Time of Cooking, and appear here as part of the Retro Recipes Series – they all come from my old blog site.


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