dal makhani

Dal makhani

Here comes another creamy dish packed with protein on day-20 of the No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown series. Another popular dal recipe of Punjab – Dal Makhani!

Made with whole black lentils and kidney beans (rajma) and lots and lots of butter and creamy, it is a treat to your taste buds. Very less spices are used in the making of dal makhani. Now, you might have a question- Then, how is dal makhani a flavorful dish? Originating from Punjab, The Land of Flavors, there should be no question about the flavor as such. But still, to clarify your doubt, the answer is in the cooking process of the dal makhani.

Most of the Punjabi dishes involve not much of spices like the south Indian dishes do. It is all in the cooking process and in the generous use of butter and cream. Comi9ng back to dal makhani, we slow cook the dal in mild spices along with butter. Now, this slow cooking is the real deal. This can be achieved even by using the stove top method. We need to simmer the dal uncovered, in the lowest heat possible for atleast half an hour.

The next main reason for the smell is the smoky flavor that we get in all the dishes from dhabas. As I have already said in my earlier posts, the smoky flavor is achieved at home by the dhungar method. This method involves heating a piece of coal in direct flame, until red hot and then placing it in a small steel bowl inside the curry. Then we pour a drop of ghee or oil on the hot coal and cover the curry immediately to ensure that no smoke escapes. By this method, the smoke infuses with the curry giving us the smoky taste that we usually get in all the dhaba foods.

Apart from all the taste and the flavor, this is also a very healthy dish and a great replacement to our everyday dal dishes. So, healthy how, might be your next question! Belonging to the lentil and the bean family, sabut urad dal and rajma are both rich in protein and dietary fibre. For a wholesome meal, pair it up with jeera rice or even plain basmati rice and some curd by the side. Dal makhani also tastes great with naan, phulka, lachha paratha, etc. And, not to forget dal makhani tastes so gooood the next day. Do try it once!

Do checkout my other Punjabi side dish recipes too! Enjoy this tasty curry with your family. Stay safe, stay healthy! Happy cooking and eating!

If you have tried any of my recipes, then tag @the_busy_apron and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #thebusyapron. Also tag @TheBusyApron and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #thebusyapron.

dal makhani

Dal Makhani

Abhipriya Raghav
A creamy and a flavorful dish made with whole black lentils, kidney beans and lots of butter.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup whole black lentil / sabut urad dal
  • 1/4 cup red kidney beans / rajma
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2+2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil / ghee
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic-green chili paste
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, julienned
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • salt, as per taste
  • 1 tsp crushed kasuri methi
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh cream


  • Wash and soak the sabut urad dal and the rajma in enough water for atleast 6-8 hours or overnight.
    dal makhani
  • Discard the water and transfer the soaked dal to a pressure cooker along with garlic, black cardamom and red chili powder.
    dal makhani
  • Add enough water and pressure cook the dal on a medium flame for 5 whistles or until the dal is completely cooked.
    dal makhani
  • Let the pressure release naturally. Open the cooker and mash some of the dal with the back of the ladle or using a masher.
    dal makhani
  • Add oil or ghee along with 2 tbsp butter to a kadai on medium flame
    dal makhani
  • Add the bay leaves and the cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
    dal makhani
  • Add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and the slit green chilies and saute until raw smell disappears.
    dal makhani
  • Add the chopped onion and saute until they turn translucent.
    dal makhani
  • Add the ginger and the tomato puree along with a pinch of salt. Cook until oil separates.
    dal makhani
  • Add all the spice powders (kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala). Mix and cook the masala well.
    dal makhani
  • Add the mashed dal to the kadai.
    dal makhani
  • Add 2 cup water and mix until well combined. Let it come to a boil.
    dal makhani
  • When the curry boils, add the crushed kasuri methi.
    dal makhani
  • Add the cream and mix.
    dal makhani
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and let it simmer for 45 minutes on low heat.
    dal makhani
  • To get the smokey flavor, the dungar method can be done. Serve dal makhani hot with naan, phulkas or jeera rice.
    dal makhani


  • Soak the sabut urad dal and rajma for a minimum of 6-7 hours.
  • Pressure cook the dal until they turn soft.
  • Butter can be replaced with oil or ghee. In that case, the flavor changes slightly.
  • Add spice powders according to your taste.
  • While the dal is simmering, stir it often to ensure that the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the kadai.
  • The dungar method is optional but is preferred if you want the smokey flavor.
  • To get the original flavor let the curry simmer on low heat for atleast 30-45 minutes.
Keyword dal, indian, kidney beans, Lockdown Series, makhani, north Indian, rajma, sabut urad dal, whole black lentils