24 January 2019

Dal Makhani - An Indian Dish

Dal Makhani - An Indian Dish / www.delightfulrepast.com

Dal Makhani (pronounced doll mock-NEE), a buttery lentil curry, is a popular Indian (Punjabi, to be precise) dish introduced to me by Tony of the delightful blog London Calling after his autumn trip to northern India. 

Tony was part of a group of six whose guide organized a cooking experience for them in the home of a family in Old Delhi. This recipe is my adaptation of one he learned.

Dal Makhani is only the second Indian dish I’ve ever made, the first being Chicken Tikka Masala. With copious amounts of butter and cream, this is a very rich vegetarian, though not vegan, dish often reserved for special occasions.

It can be the main dish or an accompaniment. For me, a 1-cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) portion makes a perfect lunch all on its own, but it’s strictly a side dish for Mr Delightful.

The recipe Tony got from his hostess/instructor in Old Delhi called for cooking it in a pressure cooker. But I thought, since I’m brand new to pressure cooking, I’d adapt it to stovetop.

Lentils require no soaking and have quite a short cook time, and by using canned red kidney beans instead of dried, which take a long time, it really comes together rather quickly.

Dal Makhani requires no special equipment, just a 3-quart saucepan and a 2-quart saucepan and a food processor or blender to puree the fresh tomatoes. I’ve converted the difficult-to-find-here spices, such as black and green cardamom pods, to available ground spices.

Though I make no claims to authenticity, I think my adaptation captures the flavors quite well. But feel free to play with the spice amounts to suit your own palate.


Dal Makhani - An Indian Dish / www.delightfulrepast.com

Dal Makhani


(Makes seven 1-cup servings)

3 cups (24 fluid ounces/710 ml) water
1 1/8 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) lentils (I could not find the whole black gram lentils/urad dal called for)
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can red kidney beans, drained
3/4 cup* (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) heavy cream, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or 4 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin or 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) tomatoes, pureed in food processor
1 4-ounce (113 grams) can diced green chiles (hot or mild, I used the hot) or 2 to 3 green chiles, minced
Garnish: cilantro (also known as fresh coriander leaves)

* That is a very generous amount of cream. I think next time I make it I'll use half the amount.

1 In 3-quart saucepan, bring water just to the boil. Stir in lentils that have been rinsed and picked over for debris. Bring the water to a rapid boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender.

Note: If you use urad dal, whole black gram lentils, they will require soaking and longer cooking.

2 Stir in the kidney beans, half the cream (3 ounces), salt, half the paprika (1/4 teaspoon), ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne. Leave it simmer for 15 minutes or so while you proceed with the tomato mixture.

3 In 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the coriander, cumin, remaining 1/4 teaspoon paprika, tomato puree and green chiles. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes “or till the butter leaves the gravy.” (If you don’t know what that last bit means, don’t ask me; just cook it for about 6 minutes and let that be that!)

4 Stir the sauce into the lentil mixture and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat. Stir in the remaining cream and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and naan or roti.

Jean

59 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

I love all things legumes! This is a perfectly warming and delicious dal curry.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thank you. I could live on legumes!

Tony Grant said...

Hi Jean. Well done and thank you for making one of the dishes Marilyn and I experienced in Delhi. The lady of the house, we visited, showed us how to cook all the recipes I sent on to you.We then had to eat. The food just kept coming. It was very difficult to say, "no more," after a while. I think I ate two lots of everything. I know we all felt very full. Her elderly mother and her son were also there. The old lady hugged each one of us as we arrived and placed a bindi mark on our foreheads.They were so welcoming. Marilyn and I feel inspired to go back to India, perhaps to another part of India next time. Delhi is an intense place. There are some upsetting sights, beggar families with babies crawling in the dirt but also many uplifting experiences too.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tony. I really enjoyed the recipe. Perhaps I'll try one of the others soon! I hope you and Marilyn continue to enjoy many more travel adventures.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Like it, Sully…like it. Good gollee-gollee, I think I do. I mean, it looks like chili. Of course, killing cows doesn’t fly well – fly?…as in the cow flew over the moon – in a lot of India, but I’m just saying it LOOKS like chili con carne. And we know that appearance is half the pleasure of good cuisine, right? So, I think I like it. Depends on the sauce, and you are very good at making the case for your sauces. Me, if I describe sauce, it sounds like porn. But you always get enough spice or sweetness on board those sauces to sell me. Which way to the Taj Mahal?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Well, Sully, I'm shocked and awed! But, yes, you may consider it chili. It has the heat of the chiles and spices, and you can make it even zippier by increasing the quantities of those elements. There you go!

Jeanie said...

Indian food is such a delicious cuisine. I've only make tikka masala too -- maybe it's time to branch out!

Louca por porcelana said...

I love lentils so I think I will love this recipe too.I love lentils with rice and caramelized onions...Best wishes,Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I plan to try more Indian recipes. I like to make different things. No sense eating the same thing all the time, right?!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Maristella! Caramelized onions would not go amiss in this or many other dishes!

Pauline Wiles said...

I think our experience level with Indian cooking is about the same! Nonetheless, I love lentils so reckon this would be a great addition to my comfort food repertoire. Thank you for the note that the cream could be reduced.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Pauline. I really liked this dish, but I liked it even more before the addition of that last 3 ounces of cream. I'll definitely go with 3 ounces total next time. The color is prettier and the flavors brighter with just 3 ounces.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I'd say that your version gets the flavour and feel of this dish just right. Sounds lovely. Although I admit that I'm far from authentic in my tastes and my idea of Dal Makhani is based on the many (probably too many) restaurants I've visited in England. Black lentils aren't hard to find over here but I've found them tricky to cook well in the past. Years ago a friend who was born in India told me that I was rushing the cooking and that I should soak black lentils for 12 hours and then cook them slowly for 6 hours. I thought she was kidding me, I didn't follow her advice and we lost touch soon after. Some time later I had the best black lentil dish I've ever eaten in a local restaurant (now closed, sadly). When I met the chef and asked him the secret he told me that it took him 18 hours to prepare the lentils - 12 hours of soaking and 6 of cooking slowly. And so the lesson I learnt was believe your friends - at least when they tell you about lentils.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Phil! Good to know. If I ever get my hands on those legumes I'll give them the full (lengthy) treatment.

Margie said...

Looks great, Jean. Health Canada just released the updated food guide which recommends we eat more plant-based protein foods like lentils! Thanks for the visit.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Margie. I've always loved lentils. Good to know Health Canada is making such a sensible recommendation.

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

Lentils are my favorite legumes and your recipe looks delightful. I need all the help I can get when it comes to preparing an Indian dish.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Gerlinde. I want to learn a lot more Indian dishes!

Cranberry Morning said...

I appreciate that you've translated it to the vernacular for us. It's so much easier to use those spices I already have. And I will use half the cream as you suggest. I'm pretty sure I will love this! I'm a fan of diced green chilies.

Lee MacArthur said...

This looks fantastic. I love Indian cooking because its full of flavor. Thank you for sharing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Judy, thank you. I'm glad you like it. I see no point in getting "cute" with hard-to-find ingredients that most people don't have and won't be getting. Much better to make it doable.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Lee. And the flavors are so different from other cuisines.

Lea Ann said...

Thanks so much for this recipe Jean. I was organizing my pantry and found a box of puy lentils. I need to use them and this sounds divine.

Vee said...

Stopping by to say howdy! Not brave enough to give this a try. No, I am not even going to take a wee taste. 😁 Sometimes, I wish that I were more adventurous...

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

This sounds like a perfectly wonderful, comforting wintertime meal, Jean, and 1 cup would be plenty for me, too. Thanks for sharing your recipe and tips with us.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lea Ann, thank you so much. Let me know how it turns out for you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Vee, you sound just like one of my friends! I did get her to taste my hummus once, but it was quite an ordeal. You know, the big "working up to it," then putting an infinitesimal speck of it on the tip of her tongue while making a dreadful face! That's okay--we all have our "things!"

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty. I don't seem to need huge amounts of food. But when I was a teenager, whoa! I could have eaten this whole recipe in one sitting!

April J Harris said...

This looks delicious, Jean! I love the spices you have used. I can just imagine how wonderful this dish smells while it's cooking! Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, April. You are so right, it smells heavenly while it's cooking.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I like some Indian food and this sounds great. I think the smell of it cooking alone would entice me. Although I've never once cooked lentils, I am willing to try. Thanks for sharing your recipe and when I get around to making this, I'll let you know how it turned out.

Frugal Living On The Ranch said...

This sounds so good I haven't really cooked a lot of Indian dishes but it is something I have wanted to venture into may have to start with this one. Thanks for sharing at the " BLoggers Pit Stop" hope to see you next week.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you so much. I'll look forward to hearing how it turned out for you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, FLOTR. I think it's a good one to start with. Let me know if you make it.

Rosie said...

As a British Indian, dal is one of the staple dishes I grew up with. I love looking at others recipes and how much they're enjoying this beautifully simple yet delicious dish x #BlogCrush

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Rosie, thank you so much. Once I pick up a few more spices, I'll be ready to try more Indian dishes. The lists of ingredients might seem very long, but if you have the spices on hand, it shouldn't be difficult. It's always fun to learn new dishes.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

It appears like you adapted the recipe very well...it certainly sounds good to me.

holyveggies said...

I love Dahl, thanks for sharing this amazing, will have to try it out.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Melissa. I hope you will!

Veronica Lee said...

My family loves dal and your Dal Makhani looks amazing!

#GlobalBlogging

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you so much, Veronica!

Isabel said...

mhm this sounds yummy, I love spices and in combination with lentils this sounds like heaven, especially on a cold, blustery winter's day :) Must try this out - thank you for sharing :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Isabel! I hope you'll try it soon and let me know how you liked it.

Zaa said...

I do enjoy international dishes... and loves spices... This recipe is perfect for the cold weather that we are experiencing here... We're expecting another storm on Wednesday might .. so I best get cooking..Thanks for sharing...Hugs

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Zaa. You have an international flair, so I'm not surprised! I hope you enjoy the dish *and* the storm!

Kathleen Aherne said...

A very interesting Indian dish. So much flavor and spice. We will feature this on the next Blogger's Pit Stop. Well done:)
Kathleen
Blogger's Pit Stop

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kathleen, thank you so much. I like this dish so much that it makes me want to experiment a bit more with Indian food, so I appreciate the opportunity to get "more eyes" on this post!

June Lorraine Roberts said...

Wow looks very yummy!

FABBY'S LIVING said...


Oh pretty lady, I love lintels and Indian food and this recipe sounds great !
Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a terrific week.
Hugs,
Fabby

Richard Sheppard said...

Yes! This looks delicious and an extra bonus--it's low in carb. I loooove using my pressure cooker and was wondering if you know how long to cook it once it comes up to pressure? Gonna have to try it. Thanks Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, June. I love legumes!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Fabby! Aren't lentils wonderful!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Richard. The lady in India who made this in the pressure cooker (a stovetop pressure cooker, I think) soaked the legumes overnight and pressure cooked for 30 minutes before adding that mixture to the tomato mixture. Let me know how it turns out for you! But, as I mentioned, the black "lentils" she used are not what we in the US call lentils and require more cooking, same length of time as the kidney beans.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I love dried legumes and pulses! Can never get enough, and dal is the best way to use them -- most of them pair beautifully with Indian spices. This looks excellent -- really nice recipe. Thanks!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, John. I could live on legumes and pulses! I'll definitely be making this again.

handmade by amalia said...

This looks super tasty, Jean. I love Indian food, especially the vegetarian dishes, but have never tried making any.

Daydreamer Mum said...

I've been trying to cut down on our meat consumption at home , but we are such carnivores it takes something speicial for something to grab our interest but this certainly has!! #blogcrush

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Amalia. I hope you'll give it a go!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, DM. It's such a satisfying dish, I really think you won't miss the meat!

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