Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Dals Week 2: Punjabi Mom's Dal Makkhani, Simplified!

Dals Week 2: Punjabi Mom’s Dal Makkhani

Dal makkhani (literally buttery dal) is my standard dal order at a restaurant. I love it for its rich aroma, earthy taste and the melt-in-your-mouth buttery creamy texture. 

At my place dal makkhani, as in any other non-Punjabi home, was a loved-at-restaurants-but- never-tried-at-home recipe. Now that I have a Punjabi neighbor whose mom also had come to visit, I have asked for and tried these recipes by the dozen. 

And the myth is broken! This one, that seems complex, is extremely easy to make and is one of those few that tastes as good as and sometimes even better than the restaurant at home!

Dal Makkhani


1/2 cup black udad dal
1/2 cup masoor dal
1/2 cup rajma (optional)

2 tbsps oil
5-6 cloves of garlic crushed
1 medium-sized onion finely chopped
1 medium-sized tomato finely chopped
1 ½ tsps turmeric powder
1 ½ tsps red chilly powder
2-3 tsps garam masala
20 ml fresh cream (optional)
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander finely chopped to garnish

The dals

And that's all the ingredients you'll need!


Mix the dals and soak them in 2 cups of water for at least 2 hours. If you are using rajma, they will need to be soaked overnight in 3 cups of water.  Cook the dals and rajma  in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles on a high flame and then on a low flame for 10 minutes.

In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the crushed garlic. Cook for about 1 minute till the garlic releases its aroma.

The crushed garlic being fried in the oil

Add the chopped onion and sauté on a medium high flame for 3-4 minutes till they turn reddish.

The reddish colour of the onions on being cooked properly

Add in the chopped tomatoes and sauté on the medium high flame till they start to release the oil.

The oil separating from the tomatoes when they are cooked

Now add the turmeric powder, the red chilly powder and the garam masala powder and roast till the masalas release their flavour and the oil separates.

Adding in the spice powders

Add in the cooked dals and mix them well into the cooked masala. Add a little water to adjust consistency (dal makkhani is supposed to be richly thick in consistency). Add salt to taste and let the dal come to a boil. Then cover the dal and let it simmer on a low flame for 10-15 minutes, the more the patience you have with this the better the flavours will seep into the dal.

The dals being cooked with the masala

If you wish to add in the cream then you can add it at the end, keeping the dal on the low flame and let it simmer for a couple of minutes more.

Garnish with fresh coriander (and a dollop of butter) and serve hot!

Yummy buttery and creamy!

P.S. I just added a side note to a blog post on my other blog today about how simple, everyday things can be complex and profound. And this just turns out to be an example of how complexity can actually be very simple!

P.S. 2.... Since I seem to be having a love affair with dals, it is beautiful serendipity that I found out about the food blog event My Legume Love Affair today. Submitting this entry for it's 61st edition...

As a requirement of all such events, I am sharing their logo. It is one of the better designed ones that I have come across!

Spreading the word about My Legume Love Affair (the event and my personal love affair too!)