Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

A popular savoury to tickle your palate

Made of whole black lentils and red kidney beans, this is a hugely popular dish that has its origins in Punjab, North of India. Some of the best tasting Dal is at the popular roadside motels called “Dhabas” in most of northern India. Served with unleavened breads like Naan and Tandoori Roti, Dal Makhani is a not-to-be-missed experience.

A Spicy Treat

Dal Makhani is made with whole black lentils and red kidney beans. The combined flavour of the two along with a spicy tempering or as Indians call it “Tadka”, a squeeze of lime and garnished with butter and green coriander, this dal is a never forgotten flavour.

A Two in One Treat

The unique combination of two types of lentils, cooked in cream and butter, and a spicy tempering makes it a favourite especially in the winter months of north India. It’s rich in flavour and in nutritive content, besides being a delicious gastronomical experience.

Serve with style

Dal Makhani is best served with a dollop of butter, a dash of lime juice and finely chopped green coriander leaves. It is best accompanied by unleavened bread like Naan, Tandoori Roti, Chapatis or Parathas. A Side of cut onions and some green chillies give it that extra zing. This dish can be made into an option for a full menu which can then include chicken, a salad and some vegetables cooked Indian style.


Dal Makhani

Healthy and Tasty Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani can be made with or without dairy products. Of course, the non-dairy version cannot compete in taste and flavour with the dairy version, but both are rich in texture, flavour and of course very satisfying. 


  • One measure whole black lentils
  • Half measure red kidney beans.
  • 6 measures of water, warm or normal
  • One flake garlic
  • Half inch piece of ginger
  • Pinch sodium bicarbonate
  • Two tomatoes (optional)

How to make

Initial preparation to make this dish

  1. Whole black lentils and red kidney beans MUST be soaked overnight. The next day, pressure cook for 8-10 minutes with two chopped tomatoes and a little ginger and garlic, grated. Once cooked, keep aside for tempering. Although the lentils cook without pressure cooking, pressure cooking is a preferred method. 

  2. The lentils should be soft to touch and smooth in consistency. On a stove top, bring the dal to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer for at least 30-45 minutes. Add a pinch of Sodium Bicarbonate to speed up the cooking process. Just a pinch, mind you, else your dal will get a bitter aftertaste. 

  3. Wash and soak overnight in warm water if you are cooking it on a stove top. Soak in normal water if you are using a pressure cooker. Remember, the longer you soak the lentils the softer they are to eat and easier for cooking.

Don’t throw away the water that the lentils are soaking in.

The Next Day…

For Pressure cooking

  1. Pour the lentils and the water into your cooker. Add one flake of garlic and half an inch of ginger, both grated.

  2. Add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate, two chopped tomatoes.

  3. Pressure cook for 8-10 minutes. 

On a stove top

  1. All of the above, bring to a boil and the simmer for 30-45 minutes or till soft.

For the Tempering

For your Dal Makhani you need…

  1. 2 tablespoons oil 

  2. ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

  3. 1 onion, finely chopped

  4. 4 flakes of garlic, grated or finely chopped

  5. 1/4th tsp turmeric powder

  6. ½ tsp red chilly powder

  7. 1/4th tsp sugar

  8. Chopped green coriander

  9. Juice of half a lemon

  10. 3 tablespoons cream

  11. 1 measure milk

  12. 1 tsp butter

  13. Salt to taste

Tempering your Dal Makhani

Take a wok or a saucepan, depending on the quantity of your lentils.

  1. Pour oil and heat

  2. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle

  3. Add turmeric 

  4. Add Onions

  5. Add Garlic

  6. Add Chilly powder

Post the Tempering of Dal Makhani

  1. Mix well and stir till onions are a tad brown. 

  2. Add your previously cooked lentils along with the water etc.

  3. Stir well and add milk. Keep on low flame. 

  4. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste, add sugar. Stir and let it boil for a few minutes. Add the cream but don’t stir it in. 

  5. Pour out into a serving bowl, sprinkle lime juice and green coriander, place the dollop of butter in the middle and Voila! Your Dal Makhani is Ready! 


The consistency of your Dal Makhani should be kind of thick but not sludgy. It should not be liquid either. You can add some milk to bring it to the right consistency

  • It is best served hot with breads like Naan and Tandoori rotis.
  • If you want dairy free dal Makhani then do all of the above without the milk and cream.
  • A measure can be anything that you want or are comfortable with, a cup, a glass, a bowl etc.
  • Go with your instincts for the rest of the spices also. Some of the best cooking is done on sheer gut feeling or experience.
  • Have a side plate of sliced onions and whole green chillies with salt and lemon juice squeezed over it and it will give your dal and bread experience an extra punch.

Nutritive value of Dal Makhani

  • As with all cooking the nutritive values depend on the quantities of items used. Given below is an approximation of its nutritive values.

Dal Makhani - 1 Cup
(196 grams)

Amount Per Serving

  1. Calories from Fat 168
  2. Calories 330
  3. Total Fat 19 grams
  4. Saturated Fat 9.9 grams
  5. Trans Fat 0.6 grams
  6. Cholesterol 44 milligrams
  7. Sodium 372 milligrams
  8. Potassium 567 milligrams
  9. Total Carbohydrates 31 grams
  10. Dietary Fibre 10 grams
  11. Sugars 4.7 grams
  12. Protein 13 grams
  13. Vitamin A 16%
  14. Vitamin C 10%
  15. Calcium 8%
  16. Iron 26%

A lot of its calorie and fat content would depend on the amount of cream and butter you add to the dish.

Eat hearty and enjoy!

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