Dal Makhani or Indian ‘Buttery’ Lentil Stew, is a rich, healthy & delicious dish, often made in Indian kitchens. This recipe originates from the North Indian state of Punjab and loved by Indians across the globe.
‘Urad Dal’ (or whole black gram/ lentils) and ‘Rajma’ (or Red Kidney beans) are slow cooked along with cream, butter & bunch of different spices to finally give the aromatic, flavorful lentil stew.
It best goes with Naan or ‘Rotis’ (Indian flatbread) or plain white steamed rice.
‘Dal Makhani’ changed the face of Indian Vegetarian food scene.
This creamy and flavorful recipe is believed to be the brain child of Kundan Lal Gujral, founder of Moti Mahal chain of restaurants (in the Indian capital city of Delhi). He’s the same man who is also responsible for introducing ‘Butter Chicken’ to this world.
Using cream and tomatoes as a souring agent in ‘Urad dal’ instead of plain yogurt was his twist. Until then, yogurt was the only souring ingredient used for lentil in the north of India.
Is this Recipe Healthy?
Well, no points for guessing that Butter & Cream in this recipe tends to make it high calorie. To all those who shy away from butter, butter made from grass-fed cows or Indian clarified butter or ‘Ghee’, consumed in controlled quantities is actually good for our body.
For starters, butter helps absorb fat soluble vitamins, is a great source of anti-oxidants & good for cardiovascular system.
There can be a place for cream if used wisely. Modest portions of cream can have a place in a healthy diet as well.
If you really want to substitute these 2 ingredients, then swap the butter with oil & cream with milk (or half & half). The key to its ‘creamy’ texture and rich flavor lies in slow cooking lentils and not in the cream that we add ☺
As for the lentils, whole black gram and red kidney beans are rich in fibre, proteins, calcium & minerals.
About the Recipe
Although this recipe is time-consuming and requires patience, it still is our favorite meal to unwind to on a weekend. Times when we feel like eating something vegetarian that needs to be filling and flavorful as well, I bank on my ‘Dal Makhani’ recipe.
You Make Also Like: Whole Green Gram Dal Makhani, Moong Chane Ki Kadhi, Makhani Sauce
Making this recipe requires planning as well along with patience. It begins with soaking the lentils overnight or for at least 8-9 hours. Follow it by pressure cooking and then slow cooking in butter (or oil/ ‘ghee’) along with onions, tomatoes and spices.
I like to use Indian clarified butter or ‘Ghee’ instead of regular butter and milk instead of cream. As I mentioned earlier, cream (as in ingredient) doesn’t contribute to the creaminess (as in texture) of this stew. Pressure cooking followed by slow cooking, makes it creamy and rich.
We generally pair it with a green salad and ‘roti’ side to complete our meal.
Psst…you could make it vegan by substituting Butter or ‘Ghee’ with coconut oil/ any plant-based oil and cream/ milk with Coconut milk/ Almond milk/ Ripple milk or half & half
Hope you enjoy making and having this recipe, as much as we did!
If you like the recipe or make “Dal Makhani”, please be sure to leave a comment. Above all, I love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe and decide to post, please be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook!
Dal Makhani (Indian ‘Buttery’ Lentils Stew)
- 3/4 cup whole ‘Urad dal’ or whole black gram/ lentils
- 1/4 cup ‘Rajma’ or Red Kidney beans
- 1 medium Red Onion chopped
- 1-2 Green chili or Jalapeno
- 4 medium Tomatoes or 3 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cardamon pods
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 nos bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
- 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1/3 cup half and half cream or Milk or dairy free alternative (for vegan)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter or ‘Ghee’ or Oil
- 1/2 tsp ‘Kasuri Methi’ or dried Fenugreek leaves; crushed
- 2 tbsp Cilantro chopped; for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Water as required
- Wash & soak whole ‘Urad dal’ & ‘Rajma overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours.
- Drain, wash once again and transfer the lentils & beans in a pressure cooker. Add around 3 cups of water. Pressure cook for at least 20 whistles.
- Once the cooker cools, check if the lentils and beans are well cooked and soft (consistency). If it’s not, then add another 1/2 cup water and pressure cook for another 5 whistles.
- Once the lentils & beans are well cooked, keep them aside.
- In a large pot, heat butter/ ghee. Add all the whole spices: cumin, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon & cloves. Cook for 1 minute.
- Now add the chopped onions and cook until they turn pink and translucent.
- Next add ginger garlic paste and cook until the raw aroma disappears or another 1 minute.
- Add red chili powder, green chiles (chopped) & nutmeg. Cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped tomatoes or tomato paste. If using fresh tomatoes, cook until the water disappears, tomatoes become pulpy and you see oil around the edges. In case you’re using tomato paste, add water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Now add the pressure cooked lentils & rajma to the pot along with some water.
- While stirring, on a medium flame, bring it to a boil. Now add salt and simmer the heat.
- Stirring in between let the ‘dal’ boil keeping the heat on simmer. Ensure lentils don’t stick to the base of the pot. You can add some more water, if you feel the consistency is too thick.
- In this way, let the dal boil for 30 minutes. Maintain the consistency: shouldn’t be too thick or too thin.
- Just before removing from heat, add the cream/ milk and give it a quick stir. Bring it to boil.
- Lastly add crushed dried fenugreek leaves. Stir one last time and remove from heat.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.
- Enjoy with Naan, ‘rotis’, ‘parathas’ or plain white steamed rice.