Dal Makhani Recipe

dal-makhani-recipeDal Makhani, or “Maa ki Daal” is a famous lentil curry savored with rice in the Northern part of India. Made with black lentils, mainly Udad, and flavored with tonnes of flagrant spices, it is indeed a treat to be enjoyed. With its rich taste and unique flavor, it can be served with Chapatis, Parathas or Plain Jeera Rice. Tasty, filling, and full of nutritious value, Dal Makhani is one lentil curry every Indian cook aspires to perfect! You could experiment with other types of lentils too, or maybe mix-and-match a few others to keep the variety going!

[recipe & photo courtesy of Deeba from Passionate About Baking]

1 cup whole urad dal
1/2 cup chana dal
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup kidney beans – soaked overnight and cooked
6 or 7 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 to 4 serrano or Thai green chillies
2 tbsp chopped ginger
2 each white and black cardamoms
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 inches long)
salt – to taste
lemon juice – to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 cup water (or more, as needed)
1/2 cup whipping cream
chopped cilantro – for garnish

Boil the lentils in six cups of water and a pinch of salt on the stove-top or in a pressure cooker until they become soft and fall apart. If cooking on the stove-top, skim off foam from time to time.

While the lentils are cooking, chop up and cook the tomatoes on medium flame, until they become mushy and leave most of their water. ( You can use 1 cup canned crushed canned tomatoes, but the fresh tomatoes give a better taste)

Heat 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle. Next add 1 cup finely chopped red onion (or shallots) and fry them on medium heat until brown around the edges. Add the chopped ginger and garlic, the whole spices, and the cooked tomatoes. Cover partially with a lid, lower the heat to medium-low and allow to cook and the flavors of the spices to soak in.

When you see some of the ghee starts to separate on the surface, add the cooked kidney beans to the Dal. Coarsely mash them, add 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Add more water if you need, mix well, and allow to cook for another 10 mins or so.

Adjust seasonings to your taste and add a dash of lime if your tomatoes weren’t tart enough. Let it sit for an hour for the flavors to come together. Then Remove the whole spices from the dal.

Add a spoonful more of ghee right before serving, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with hot Chapatis or Jeera Rice.

Related Recipes
Toor Dal Recipe – Gujarati Style
Chana Masala – Punjabi Chhole
Paneer Butter Masala


  1. Nice post. I love dal makhni, but as I am weight conscious i like to cook it diet style. Check the recipe for diet style dal makhni here – http://www.gdayindia.com.au/dal-makhani-diet-style

  2. Anonymous says:

    Tried your Dal Makani and Mirchi Ka Salan last night. Wife and kids simply loved it it. Thanks!! Couldnt get the Mirchi Ka Salan quite right though … I think I put a bit too much tamarind … my bad. BTW is there a Jeera Rice recipe ?

    Please keep the recipes coming.

    – murali

  3. Slurp! Miss Indian food! 🙂

    Thanks Mansi. Yeah, Bangalore has become a true cosmopolitan city. It was a shock for me visiting it after so many years but if you are familiar with Mumbai, don't think it will shock you. Enjoy the trip. I loved meeting family and friends!:)

    I am still not recovered completely, but getting there. Enjoy the Summer, see you in Fall.

  4. Though I've eaten kidney beans often, I am yet to trying making it this way.

  5. I love dal makhani, the best one i had tasted was in hyderabad..its was so rich and creamy drizzled with lots of ghee..brought back some really delicious memories 🙂

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