Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani Recipe The Ultimate Guide to Making the Perfect Punjabi Delight

Dal Makhani is a popular Punjabi dish that’s whipped up using Indian masalas, healthy fats, and black urad lentils. With subtly smokey tastes and a creamy texture from the lentils, this Dal Makhani recipe is a restaurant-style rendition.

This Dal Makhani will make you adore authentic Punjabi cuisine even more. Dal Makhani is a favorite dish of every Punjabi and is most popular in the regions of Punjab

You could still make dal makhani with less butter and cream.

Ingredients for Dal Makhani

  • ¾ cup whole urad dal
  • ¼ cup Rajma (Kidney Beans)
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking
  • 3 tablespoon Butter – salted or unsalted
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Bay Leaf (tej patta)
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 2-3 Cardamom Pods
  • 2 teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste or crushed garlic ginger
  • 3 Green Chillies finely chopped
  • 1 large Onion finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes coarsely blended
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 cup water or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • salt as required
  • 2 tablespoons Kasuri Methi dried Fenugreek, roasted
  • ¼ cup low fat cream 

For Garnish (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon cream 

Instructions for Dal Makhani

  1. Soak urad dal (black gram) and rajma (kidney beans) in enough water that there is an inch over, for at least 8 hours.
  2. Later drain them well. Rinse both the lentils a couple of times in water.
  3. Now, add them to a pressure cooker with ¼ teaspoon salt and 3 cups water.
  4. Cook it in a pressure cooker for about 6-8 whistles till both the urad dal and rajma have cooked thoroughly and softened.
  5. Once the beans are cooked, lightly smash them with a potato masher, making sure to leave them partially intact.
  6. Keep the cooked beans aside.
  7. In a blender or mixer jar, take chopped tomatoes and blend to a smooth puree. Set aside.
  8. No need to blanch the tomatoes while pureeing.
  9. In a pan, now heat butter. You can use salted butter or unsalted butter.
  10. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
  11. Fry for some seconds till the spices sputter and become aromatic.
  12. Now, add finely chopped onions to the pan.
  13. Stir and sauté the onions till the they turn translucent on a low or medium-low heat.
  14. Add the green chilies and ginger garlic paste.
  15. Stir again and sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  16. Add the tomatoes (blended), red chilli powder, salt and garam masala.
  17. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy, and sauté this mixture on a low to medium flame, till you see fat releasing from the sides.
  18. Now, add 1 cup water or as required. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  19. Add salt as required and Keep on stirring often, so that the lentils don’t stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  20. When simmering you can add more water if the gravy looks thick or dry. The longer you keep dal makhani to simmer, the better it tastes.
  21. Mix in the heavy cream, and kasuri methi.
  22. Mix the cream very well. Then switch off the heat.
  23. let the dal makhani rest for 15 minutes before serving, topped with more cream.
  24. Dal Makhani is ideally made the previous day to let the flavors mingle.

Serving Suggestions

Serve punjabi dal makhani garnished with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and a few teaspoons of cream with naan, roti, paratha or steamed rice.

Tips and Variations

  • Whole urad dal (black gram) and rajma (kidney beans) are easily available at Indian stores
  • Add the the soaked black gram, kidney beans and 3 to 4 cups water in a large pot. Cover and cook on medium heat till the lentils and beans soften. Add water as needed. If cooking the beans in a pot, it may take from 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Before cooking, rinse the soaked beans in water a couple of times.
  • Tomatoes are an important ingredient in this recipe. You could use canned tomatoes too or packaged tomato puree (1 cup).
  • Kasuri Methi is dried fenugreek leaves that help round up the flavors in the dal makhani.
  • Add ½ teaspoon curry powder if you do not have garam masala.
  • Feel free to adjust the spice levels based on your tastes by reducing the green chillies


Calories 539kcal
Fat 39g
Carbohydrates 40g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Calcium 208mg


Dal Makhani

Also read: Fish fry recipe (step by step)

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