Dal Makhani

dal1.jpgDal makhani is delicacy from punjab filled with rich proteins and fiber .Traditionally lentils and beans are generally soaked overnight or for atleast 8 hours and gently simmered on low heat along with ginger, garlic and a few other spices (garam masala).These are then combined with a tangy masala base which includes onions, tomatoes ( chopped or puree) or dried mango powder or even pomegranate seeds. Dollops of fresh cream and butter provide for the rich finishing touch. Garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves and fresh cream. Dal Makhani takes longer to cook than the split dals, but the result is worth it.


1 cup whole urad or black gram lentil
1/3 cup kidney beans( Rajma)
1 tbs grated ginger
2 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
Red chilli powder (accord to taste)

1 tsp. turmeric powder
3-4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds

A large pinch of hing
1 tbsp minced ginger & garlic
1 medium onion (thinly chopped ,optional)
2-3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1/2 cup fresh cream.
2 tbs. chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
5-6 cups water (to cook dal)



Wash and soak black urad whole and rajma overnight.Cook the soaked dal and rajma in 5-6 cups of water with salt, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, turmeric, and grated ginger till dal and rajma are done/soft ( I pressure cooker for 10-12 whistles). Lightly mash dal and rajma mixture, keep aside. Heat oil or butter in a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and hing, let it crackle. Add ginger, garlic, chopped onions, and cook till light golden brown in color. Add garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Sauté till tomatoes are well mashed and fat starts to leave the masala. Add mashed dal and rajma to this mixture and little water ( desired consistency). Correct seasoning, and simmer at very slow flame for 15-20 minutes.Add fresh cream and let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.

Serve hot with Naan or Paratha or even with rice.


Notes and tips

This recipe also tastes very good the following day after reheating properly.Soaking for longer, say overnight, reduces cooking time. You can substitue garam masala with cumin-coriander powder and cream with sour cream or lowfat yogurt.


46 Responses to “Dal Makhani”

  1. March 9, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I love this…but am never sure about the name so didn’t know how to make it 🙂
    Thanks and the end result looks warm & delicious

  2. March 9, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Hi P! Surprise!! Guess what I have I have in my post?!:))
    Well..mine’s Dal Maharani.Looks great ,what a great dish to eat with Parathas.YUM!Thanks for this recipe.

  3. March 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks Sandeepa

    Hey Asha
    I saw it in ur post, I tried to leave a comment and as usual i’m not able to. all dishes looks delcious except for chicken, you know why;)

  4. March 9, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Love this dal with whole urad but never tried at home. As a south Indian urad dal meant only for dosa and idli for me. Nice pictures too.

  5. March 9, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Hi padmaja
    dal makhani goes well with chapathi..looking good.i have seen in asha’s blog also..

  6. 6 sia
    March 10, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    whole urad dal is something i ahve never tried. looks like i have been missing out some good thing. i am gonna buy it soon an make this. looks mouthwatering…

  7. March 10, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Great Dal recipe…I have to try your version…pic looks great…thanks for sharing..

  8. March 11, 2007 at 12:50 am

    Hi Manju
    Whole urad has a different taste when cooked with spices. EVen I use to think like u but once I came to know that whole urad is used in making dal makhani I was little suprised.

    Thanks Swapna

    Sia, ur missing the best, Lemme know how it turned when u make.:)

    Dilip Ji, Thank you .

  9. March 12, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    I was looking for this recipe.Dal Makhani !!My hus’s favourite dish to have with chappathi.I will try and let u know…

  10. March 13, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    lovely looking recipes.Nice ones love both of them .The spicy dal is also looking grest fresh and hot.hmm

  11. 11 Vasanthy
    March 29, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Dear Paddu,
    Tried your recipe – Dal Makhani. I have to say .. it came out really well . I shared it with my brother’s family. They all loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

    I would talk to you soon. Keep up the good work 🙂

  12. April 5, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Shivapriya
    Just tried this yesterday. I was making dal with whole urad for the first time. It was superb!!! Was so excited serving and hogging I just forgot to click pictures. Anyway I am sure I will make this more often now. Will capture the pics next time.
    Followed step by step as you said, was a little doubtful about adding the fennel seeds with the dal. So I put 1 tsp instead of 2. I could taste the fennel in the dal later..its really tastes good and very flavorful. That dollop of yogurt at the end makes a whole lot of difference!!
    Thank You so much for posting this recipe.

  13. July 5, 2007 at 7:09 am


    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


  14. 14 siga
    August 29, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    This dish was very good even though I omitted all oil and dairy and used a tomato avocado cilantro salsa as a topping to add back the fat I omitted. (I am trying a lowfat vegan diet.) I will definitely make this again. Thank you for the recipe.

  15. 15 abc
    January 11, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    hi, i need to try this, so i went for shopping today i didn’t find anything black dal but i found adzuki bean which is bit darkish and i bought that, is it possible to prepare this dish with this bean, pls tell me

  16. 16 abc
    January 11, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    is whole urda dal (normal white in colour) can be used? pls clarify my doubts

  17. January 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    hey abc sorry for the delay, adzuki bean (read moong) doesn’t go well for dal makhani and yes whole urad (black gram) is the regular urad but with skin is used in preparing this dish. YOu can use split urad dal with skin.

  18. February 15, 2008 at 9:00 am

    very nice and simple recipe… will give it a try soon 🙂

  19. 19 an
    March 8, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    so … what is in the garam masala ? Do you recommend a specific brand ? Or do you make your own ?
    Please let us know either way. I am tired of trying to use store bought garam maasala because the end result is so dependant on what brand you use!

  20. 20 Dean
    March 14, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Wonderful… I used your recipe to help me pick foods while in Chennai India. Thanks.

  21. 21 Rashmi
    March 15, 2008 at 3:47 am


    i love dhal makhani and was looking for one authentic recipe, will try this recipe today and will let you know the result.. Thanks for sharing it.

  22. 22 bharti
    March 31, 2008 at 11:26 am

    we would be trying this recipe tomorrow..
    please give us your blessings..
    will get back with pics..

  23. April 20, 2008 at 5:17 am

    i hv been trying to cook rajma for as many as 5 times and every time it cooks rock hard.. i really dont know whats the problem.. i soak rajma for over night and sometimes in hot water and for more tme, still it cooks hard.. do u hv any solution to it?

  24. 24 RK
    May 1, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Looks good……….will try some day.

  25. 25 prathibalrao
    June 19, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Your post dal Machani looks so yummy. U have a wonderful site.

  26. 26 lotus3ater
    June 21, 2008 at 1:00 am

    NEVER EVER cook Rajma with salt or sour(acidic) ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, etc. This will toughen the skin and make the beans rock hard. Salt should be added after the Rajma is fully cooked.

  27. September 16, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Dal makhani and butter naan is my favourite recipe. Your photos looks really mouthwatering.

  28. September 16, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Sounds great and mouthwatering. Excellent photographs.

  29. September 16, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Sounds great and mouthwatering.

  30. February 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Shivapriya,

    Nice recipe and I’m thinking of trying it out tomorrow. Will the quantities of lentils and red beans in the above recipe be enough to serve 6 adults? Thanks.

  31. 31 Indu
    February 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Hi I was wondering if there is a way to make the dal without a pressure cooker, since I don’t have one.

  32. 33 shina
    March 4, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Thanks! Hope I can make it as it sounds to be!! 🙂

  33. 34 Indu
    March 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks! I soaked it over night and then just cooked it in a pot—-no pressure cooker and it came out great!! Salt should be added after 1/2 hour so the beans have cooked.

  34. 35 Jamie
    July 30, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Can I use split white Urad dal..in case i dont have the whole black one.

  35. 36 chaya
    December 5, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    i never knew we had to use whole urad dal for this… i always thought it was masoor dal!!!
    can masoor dal be used in its place???

  36. January 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I made the whole urad dal in a crock pot today – a cold Sunday – and served it with Indian style basmat. Being from South Carolina, I put collard greens with vinegar and red pepper on the plate, the way they do in Nepal, for a red-neck Dal Bhat. HOOO-Doggies – The flavor was delicious and a first for me. I’ve never made something that tasted so authentic. Thanks for sharing!

  37. August 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I tried ur recipe yesterday n it came out very well.My husband loves Dal Makani though I don’t like it at all but yes I must say yesterday’s Dal Makhani was very delicious.Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Deepti Mishra

  38. April 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm


    I have just moved to India (Kolkata) from New Zealand and am enjoying learning how to cook proper Indian Food. Thank you so much for this recipe, I tried it tonight and both my husband and I LOVED it! Look forward to trying some more of your recipes.
    Thank you


  39. March 15, 2012 at 4:16 am

    look, how many minutes do you cook the dal for in the pressure cooke? how long is ten ‘whistles’ for goodness sake? my pressure cooker doesn’t whistle anyway and nobody around me understand it either. so how many MINUTES please?

  40. 42 Sooma
    November 26, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Can I use Urud chilka or white Urud? For this recipe
    This recipe for how many persons???
    Thank you

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