Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is one of the most popular dal recipes from Punjab cuisine.

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

Recipe by Ushakal GroupCourse: Main CourseCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • ¾ cup whole Urad dal

  • ¼ cup Rajma

  • 3 cups Water

  • 1 medium Onion

  • 2 green Chilies

  • 2 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic paste

  • 2 large Tomatoes pureed

  • ½ tspn Cumin seeds

  • 3 Cloves

  • 3 green Cardamoms

  • 1 black Cardamom

  • 1-inch Cinnamon

  • 1 tej patta

  • ½ tspn red Chili powder

  • Pinch of nutmeg powder

  • 1 cup water

  • ¼ cup Milk cream

  • ¼ tspn crushed Kasuri Methi leaves

  • Salt to taste

  • For Dhungar method:

  • 1 small piece of Charcoal

  • ½ to 2/3 tspn Oil


  • Soak both ¾ cup whole urad dal (whole black gram) and ¼ cup rajma/kidney beans overnight in enough water for 8 to 9 hours. Drain them well.
  • Rinse the urad lentils and rajma legumes a couple of times in water. Drain well and then add them in a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups water and stir well.
  • Pressure cook for 18 to 20 whistles on a high flame, till both the whole urad dal and rajma have cooked thoroughly and softened. If they are not cooked, then add about ½ cup water again and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles more. The urad dal should melt in the mouth and should not give any bite or resistance when eaten. You can also just mash the urad dal with a spoon or with your fingers to check the doneness. The same rule applies for rajma too. Keep the cooked beans aside. Both the urad dal and rajma beans have to be fresh. If they are old or close to their expiry, they take a lot of time to cook.
  • In a blender or mixer jar, take chopped tomatoes. 2 large tomatoes, chopped. No need to blanch the tomatoes. Blend to a smooth puree. Keep aside.
  • In a pan, now heat 3 tbsp salted or unsalted butter.
  • Add the whole spices – ½ tsp cumin seeds, 2 to 3 cloves, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1-inch cinnamon, 1 small to medium tej patta/ bay leaf. Saute till the spices become aromatic.
  • Then add ½ cup finely chopped onions. Stir and saute the onions on a low flame often. Saute the onions till they become light golden.
  • Then add 2 tsp ginger garlic paste. Stir again and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Add 1 tsp chopped green chilies and stir for a minute.
  • Then add the tomato puree. Add ½ tsp red chili powder. Then add about 2 to 3 pinches of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.
  • Stir very well and saute this mixture on a low to medium flame, till you see fat releasing from the sides. About 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame.
  • Then add the cooked urad dal and rajma beans.
  • Add the remaining stock. Add 1 cup water or more if required.
  • Stir very well and simmer the dal makhani uncovered on a low flame.
  • Keep on stirring often, so that the lentils don’t get stuck to the bottom of the pan. The lentils become viscous and start to stick at the bottom if not stirred. Mash a few lentils too while stirring.
  • Once the dal makhani has begun to thicken, add salt as required.
  • Stir very well and continue to simmer on a low flame. When simmering you can add more water if the gravy looks thick or dry. The longer you keep dal makhni to simmer, the better it tastes. The lentils become creamy, viscous and the consistency of the dal will keep on thickening as you simmer. It takes about an overall 25 minutes on a low flame. Keep stirring at intervals.
  • When the gravy has thickened enough, then add ¼ to 1/3 cup cream. Punjabi dal makhni is not too thick or too thin. It has a medium consistency with a viscosity coming from the thoroughly cooked lentils.
  • Stir the cream very well. Then switch off the flame.
  • Now add ¼ tsp kasuri methi, crushed. Stir again. Punjabi dal makhani is now ready to be served.
  • The best flavoring taste comes to Punjabi dal makhani if one used ‘The Dhungar Method’: For this, heat a small piece of charcoal on flame till it becomes red hot.
  • Keep the red hot charcoal in a small bowl.
  • Pour ½ to ⅔ tsp oil on the charcoal. The hot piece of charcoal would begin to smoke as soon as you pour oil on it.
  • Immediately keep this bowl on top of the dal makhani.
  • Cover with a lid tightly for one minute and allow the charcoal to infuse its smoke in the dal makhani.
  • Serve punjabi dal makhani garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a few teaspoons of cream with naan, tandoori roti, parathas, kulcha, phulkas or aloo paratha or steamed rice.


  • Use whole spices
    It is important to add good amount of cream and butter in dal makhani.
    The slower cooked dal makhni is, the better it tastes.
    Another factor is the smoky charcoal infused aroma in the dal makhani, which we get in restaurants
    Lastly don’t forget to soak whole urad dal and rajma overnight, so that they take less time to cook.

Leave a Reply