Dal Makhani also referred to as Maa ki dal needs no introduction. Name itself is self explanatory where Dal means lentil and Makhani means creamy. A simple and traditional Punjabi dal simmered with onion- tomato and mild spices – so delicious and intensely flavorful!
In the recipe below whole black lentils (sabut urad), Kidney beans (rajma) and Chana dal are cleaned, washed and soaked overnight- that’s where all the prep time goes (8 hours). In the morning they are drained and combined with onion, tomatoes, spices and slowly simmered for hours to prepare this authentic and traditional recipe. Adding chana dal is optional – I add chana dal to this recipe because it disintegrates very easily during the cooking process and gives dal a well – blended – smooth texture. This dal gets its tadka in a very aromatic way – hot ghee mixed with chopped garlic is drizzled on top..YUM YUM YUM!!
In restaurants no meal is complete without ordering this dal. Restaurants give this dal a smoky flavor through “dhungar method”. In this method – coal/charcoal is smoked to a point where it is red hot. Place this hot coal in a small katoori/steel bowl and place it inside the cooked dal kadhai and pour ghee over it. Cove the lid of the kadahi- let it sit in the kadhai for 20 -30 minutes and the smoke from the coal will permeate food giving it that smokey (dhungar) flavor. Chefs in Rajasthan – to dhungar a dish – put spices over hot coal to give that particular dish extra spice and flavor. This smoky flavor perks up the whole recipe and brings extra flavor to the dal. Enjoy this dal with homemade hot naan or kulchas.
Don’t worry about katoori falling in the dal – consistency of the dal is so thick that it will keep the katoori afloat.
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- 1/2 cup Whole Black gram dal
- 1/2 cup Rajma (Red Kidney Beans)
- 2 tablespoon Chana dal OR Bengal Gram
- 2 small Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium Finely Chopped onion
- 2 teaspoon Ginger paste
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Haldi (Turmeric powder)
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Each of Cumin seeds
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Degi Mirch (adjust if using red chili powder)
- 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tablespoon Ghee (adjust according to taste)
- Clean and thoroughly wash whole black dal and kidney beans (rajma).
- Soak them in clean water for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the soaked dal and wash it once again.
- Clean and wash chana dal. Mix it to the overnight soaked dal.
- In a pressure cooker add mixed dal, chopped onion, tomatoes, crushed ginger and garlic along with salt and turmeric powder.
- Add 1.5 cups of water, mix everything up and close the lid.
- Pressure cook the dal for 30 minutes on a low flame.
- In the meantime assemble all the dry spices and tadka ingredients. Open the pressure cooker and spoon out some dal to check for doneness. The grains will feel soft between your fingers.
- In a pan heat ghee, add cumin seeds, chopped garlic and cook till garlic is light brown in color. Stir in red chili powder, coriander powder and cooked dal. Dal has soaked up all the water during the cooking process. Add more water (appx. 1 cup) to the tadka and stir till it is well blended.
- Add garam masala and mix. Bring it to a boil. Cover the pan and cook for another 30 minutes on a low flame stirring in between.
- This is how the cooked dal will look- well blended and creamy.
- I skipped adding butter to this dal and swapped butter with cream. Serve hot with homemade naan.