‘Dal Makhani’ or ‘Dal Makhni’ is a popular dish originating from the Punjab region of India. The primary ingredients in ‘Dal Makhani’ are ‘kali dal’ (whole black lentil) with ‘rajma’ (red kidney beans) adding a lot of butter and cream. Dal Makhani is always on our menu whenever we dine outside specially at highway dhabas. I tried many times to get the Dhaba taste in the ‘Dal Makhani’ I make at home but it never came close. This time it was pretty close!
It’s called as ‘Dal Makhani’ as it is made with ‘dal’ (whole black lentils and red kidney bean) and ‘makkhan’ (white butter) and full fat cream. Generally this lentil and legume combination are cooked first and then simmered in a base of onion, tomato puree, ginger, garlic, white butter and spice powders. This dish is rich in calories. Due to the use of all these ingredients ‘Dal Makhani’ gets a thick creamy and silky texture. I use pressure cooker for cooking the kidney beans and lentils. However, a pot can also be used. Though cooking in a pot will take a lot of time (probably this slow cooking method makes the difference in taste in Dhabas). Here is the way I make ‘Punjabi Dal Makhani’….
- Soak kali dal and rajma for atleast six hours, preferably overnight in sufficient water. Next day drain and pressure cook adding 2.5 cups of water with 1 tsp salt till completely cooked and soft. Let the pressure release of its own. Keep it aside.
- In a deep heavy bottomed pan or kadai add oil and butter. Once hot add cumin seeds and once they start to sputter, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom. Sauté till they exudes aroma.
- Next add crushed ginger and garlic. Cook it until it becomes aromatic.
- Add chopped onion and fry till the colour becomes translucent.
- Add tomato puree along with turmeric powder. Fry the masala for some time and then add a little water and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until it gets cooked through.
- Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt to taste. Mix and cook it for another couple of minute or so.
- Add the boiled lentils. Bring it to boil and add dried fenugreek leaves. Crush them in between your palms before adding.
- Let it simmer on low for good 30-45 minutes. Keep checking and if it starts to get too dry, add water. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Add heavy cream and stir.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and chopped green chillies for an extra kick.
- Serve with Butter Naan, Romali Roti or Matar Pulao!