June 09, 2010

Dal Makhani / Black Lentils in a creamy sauce..

The best part about blogging instead of writing for a magazine is that you can miss deadlines...deadlines are set by me but as always , there are 10 deadlines set by me and blogging is the last priority..way  way below getting my resume done, looking for a job, keeping the house in a semblance of order and feeding the kids and spouse. So ever since I wanted to post all my grill recipes, I haven't grilled.. the weather turned hot and the unventilated, closed room kitchen started slowly roasting me as I tried grilling in the oven. So I will keep adding to that when I grill outside.
Meanwhile, all the blog events keep happening around me and I gleefully check out the round up, not very guilty about reading without contributing my two cents .
But this time I had a Dal Makhani lying around in my photos so am posting this classic yet staple lentil/dal recipe. This is my entry to the ever popular "My Legume Love Affair" , started by Susan and this month hosted byA Little Bit of Spain - My Legume Love Affair 24

Dal Makhani is literally "lentils in a buttery sauce" and is also called Maa Ki Daal, meaning "mom's lentils. This is one recipe I don't associate with my mom. so definitely not my ma/mom ki dal.
This dish conjures up images of all the wonderful meals from the dhabhas/street cafes (for want of better term,) of Delhi, especially any kebab/tandoori place such Karims. Bombay's Delhi Durbar, Shalimar kind of  restaurants too have a wonderful dal makhani.
Ideal combination..tandoori chicken or tikka kebab and pickled onions and  tandoori naan to dip into the creamy buttery dal makhani. Veg lovers will take offense, so let me add that it tastes equally awesome with some jeera rice.:))

Sometimes, this dal is a dull brownish grey in color and at times, I have seen a rich reddish colored makhani. I keep trying out the recipes from everywhere to recreate the perfect taste.(which of course since its from different memories of eating out, can never be matched). It all started with a recipe from the Prestige Pressure cooker book for Dal Makhani!! For a long time, I followed that recipe, whcih didn't have an ounce of tomatoes in it , till I started tasting tomatoes at all the restaurants. (and of course, at my friend S's house, who makes a really awesome Ma ki Dal.)

This is a mish mash of all the recipes that I have tried out over time. I stopped at this recipe for the last few times, but who knows, in some years, it may change again. Over time, I have moved onto the reddish dal makhani and that's the recipe outlined here. Depending on whether you use fresh tomatoes or paste and the type of the red chili powder(hot, paprika or Kashmiri chili powder) the color will vary.

You Will Need:
To pressure cook:
Whole Black Gram - 1 Cup
Chana Dal/ Bengal Gram -2 tbsp(optional)
Red Kidney Beans (Rajma)- 1/4 Cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tablespoon
Ghee/oil- 1 tsp

For the Seasoning:
Green Chillies -3
Garlic -1 1/2 tbsp chopped
Onions - 1 1/2 cup chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tablespoon
Tomatoes-(300 gms) 3 small ones or 2/3 can of 300 gm of crushed tomatoes(no flavorings added)
Toamato Puree -2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder -1tbsp
Garam Masala Powder -2 tsp
Kasuri Methi Powder -1 tsp
Salt  to taste
Oil : 2-3 tsp

For garnish
Butter : 2 tbsp
Fresh Cream -1/2 cup

Chopped Coriander - a handful


Soak the black gram, kidney beans and the Bengal gram overnight in lots of water. Rinse and wash off the water as this is said to contain the gases. Place the beans in the pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Then add 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste and the teaspoon of  ghee to this mix and pressure cook till the first whistle. Then lower the heat and further cook for 10-15 minutes. If they are not cooked, cook for some more time.  Then using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the lentils to a chunky state.
Heat oil and 1 tbsp of the butter in a saute pan and fry the chopped onions, garlic and green chillies till the onions are translucent. Add the remaining ginger garlic, saute and after a minute add  the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt and saute till the tomatoes are completely cooked they start moving together as a mass. Add the canned tomatoes judiciously as the flavors can dominate easily. Add the tomato puree and the red chili and garam masala powders and saute. Then add the lentils, more water and bring it all to a liquidy form. Add salt to taste and simmer for ab20 minutes on low heat with constant stirring. When the flavors seem melded in, crush the kasuri methi in the palm of your hand and add it in.  Drop in the remaining 1(or even 2 tbsp) of butter and cream. Do not let it boil on high heat after cream in added. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

For a weeknight, you could make a lighter version of the dal avoiding all the high fat butter and cream. Follow the procedure, but instead of butter and ghee, use olive oil. Add just one tablespoon of butter all together, just in the end and add 1/2 cup of milk instead of cream. You could fold in 1/4 cup of hung yogurt(or Greek Yogurt) in the end to give it the creaminess. Take care to remove from flame before adding yogurt as it tends to split on heat.

 Punjabi Garam Masala is best made at home. It stores well for a  month and then you can remake it.  I use Anita's recipe sometimes and my mom's recipe sometimes which goes lighter on the moti elaichi and uses regular elaichi instead.
This is Anita's recipe.
Punjabi Garam Masala
4 parts moti elaichi /Black Cardamom(100 gm)
1 part zeera (cumin)
1/2 part cinnamon (or cassia bark, if cinnamon is not available)
1/2 part black peppercorns
1/2 part cloves
5-6 tejpatta (not bay leaves!)
Measure out the spices and dry roast in a medium hot skillet till it slowly starts smoking. Or in a hurry , use the microwave for roasting.. roast in a microwave safe plate for 2 minutes. Cool and then grind to a powder (as fine as possible) and store in a dry jar.


Cooking Blog Indexer said...

Dal makhani looks very yummy...

An Open Book said...

never made it...can u blve that...??? im a huge dal fan though.

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Wow... So creamy... YUM!

Shabs.. said...

Hi shaheen....
I love dal makhani and very recently made it....u knw what my hubby said "Don't make it again"....hehe....not really bad, but cant say that was good as well....have to try that one again and again until i get it fixed ...I might have done some terrible mistake...yours looks perfect by the way

Pinney about the filling, i guess beef or mutton will taste the best....i dont have both and had only chicken.....badly wanted to make it, so made with chicken mince, even though iam not a fan of chicken mince at all......U can try it with mutton dear...

Chetana Suvarna Ganatra said...

Banged into ur wonderful site...wit g8 recipes.
Specially dis dal makhani...awesome recipe wit a very tempting click.
Creamy n soo scrumptious.
Between a food blogger and a cook from down under.

Apu said...

Love dal makhani - this looks super.

Anita said...

I know what you mean about deadlines and life happening!
Dal makhani is a great dish for weekends when you need the oomph but not the work - I rely on it often!

Mallugirl said...

An open book..its as easy as making parippu.:))

Sukanya, deceptively creamy as this was a weeknight version without cream.

Shabs, most mallu guys don't like non-nadan food, it probably has nothing to do with ur cooking. pinne, i have a chicken marinating in my fridge for ur roast .:))

Nags said...

i recently tried someone's killer version, will post soon :)

Mallugirl said...

nags.. do post..looking forward to what the differences would be.

Shabs.. said...

shaheen...salt problem with an expert cook??!....I used to have it at times, but now it is ok......the only problem is cooking salt and table salt has different level of saltiness....whenever i ask my hubby to get salt, he gets whatever salt he finds in shelf.....so to get used to the salt that he gets takes some time.... uppilleknil nothing tastes good.....Again, my fave has always been ur roasted chicken....

Jyothsna said...

The pic looks very good....yum!

Sarah Naveen said...

I have never made this..may be i can try now with this recipe..looks yummy!!!

Pinne , i usually buy fish from Pathmark or shoprite.....

Mallugirl said...

shabs..kaliyakkalle.:))definitely no expert here.

jyo, thanks!! i bet ur dal comes out awesome..did u post one?

sarah, thanks.

Aparna said...

There is something special about dal makhni. Of course, the butter makes all the differenc e but the creaminess of this dish is just unbeatable.

Uma said...

beautiful dal makhani!

Spice Rack said...

I love the herbs on the cream. Hello to all food lovers.

Amy B. said...

Mmm, yummy! Reminds me of our own lentil dish in Philippines, except without the chili. But I'd sure love this because I LOVE spicy food. Do you mind if I share this to my friends in Foodista? Just add the foodista widget for lentils at the end of this post, and that should do it! :) The widget will direct readers to this post when they go looking for lentil recipes. Thanks and keep on sharing recipes! xx

Cheers from Australia,
Amy @ Foodista

Jisha Dil said...


Sanhita said...

I loved this post of yours, and I made it. It was really good. Thanks for posting!!! I have posted it on my blog, and please feel free to visit it http://tastebuds-sanhita.blogspot.in/2012/08/dal-makhani.html
Happy Cooking!!

Apani Rasoi said...

Very Nice Blog.
Indian Vegetarian Food Recipes