Dal Makhani (Black Dal)
Spice Kitchen - Indian

Dal Makhani (Black Dal)

Traditionally, this recipe was made only on special occasions due to the extra time needed for soaking the beans and gathering together the ingredients. Pick a day when you can really indulge yourself in the experience of cooking this authentic recipe from scratch. You won’t regret it.


  • 1 tbsp ghee (or butter) 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or mild chilli powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water (or as required)
  • 2 tbsp fresh double cream
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
COOKING THE DALpage5image59480064
  • 1 cup whole black urad lentils, soaked overnight
  • 1⁄4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking
  • 2 tbsp salt


  • 1 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 1⁄4 tsp asafoetida
  • 3⁄4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 1⁄4 tsp garam masala


  1. Strain and rinse the lentils and kidney beans. Place them in a large pot with five times the amount of water, bring to the boil and simmer until cooked (approximately 90 minutes).
  2. They should be soft and breaking apart, so don’t be scared to overcook them.
  3. Making the dal
  4. Place a large pan on a medium heat and add the ghee (or butter). As it begins to melt, add the bay leaf, cumin, black cardamom and cloves. Sauté for just a few seconds.
  5. Next, add the chopped onion and sauté until caramelised. Once onions are done, add the ginger and garlic paste and chopped tomatoes, and cook till they are soft and mushy.
  6. Then, add the turmeric, ground coriander and Kashmiri chilli powder, and cook for a further minute.
  7. Now it’s time to add your cooked lentils and beans. Carefully tip them into the pan, adding extra water if the mixture is very thick.
  8. Add the kasoori methi, some salt and leave to cook for about 15 minutes while you do the next step...
  9. Tempering
  10. Heat the ghee (or butter) in a small frying pan and once hot, add the rest of the ingredients. Let them sizzle for a few seconds before adding into the lentil mix.
  11. Before serving, swirl the double cream on top and garnish with chopped coriander.
  12. Tastes great with naan or your favourite rice.

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