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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dal Makhani - Spicy Lentil

Dal Makhani is one of my favorite dals. I remember watching the cook at a "dhaba" in Delhi prepare this. It was a long time ago, but I still remember watching in surprise as he added an entire packet of 100 gram butter to just our order of dal, and it tasted fabulour. I remember the rich taste and it tasted heavenly with hot tandoori roti and some onions. Now, my version is definitely not as rich as the authentic one, but I promise you it's just as tasty. This is a recipe that I make on days when I need to prepare a quick but wholesome meal. I use whole lentils/ masoor dal for my quick, low calorie version instead of whole urad. Since masoor is a lentil variety which doesn't need to be pre-soaked, and cooks in about 15 minutes in the the pressure cooker, it doesn't need advance preparation. Serve it with some rice or naan or bread and it makes a complete meal.

2 tbsps oil or ghee
2 black cardamoms
1 green cardamom
1 bay leaf
1 red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
red chilli powder to taste
1-2 tsp garam masala (add 2 tsp for spicier taste)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 inch ginger, grated/crushed
1 cup lentils/whole masoor dal
2 cups water
salt to taste
additional water as needed

Add the water and one garlic clove to the dal cook in the pressure cooker. In another pan, heat the oil and add the two types of cardamom and the bay leaf to the oil, fry till you can smell the aroma, but take care not to burn them. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Fry this till the onion is well browned. Then add the tomatoes, and cook till the tomatoes are browned. Add garam masala, red chilli powder and cook for another minute. Then add the cooked dal to the pan, stir. Add water if the dal is too thick. Add salt. Serve hot with naan or white rice.

If you want a richer version, cook it in ghee and add butter towards the end of the cooking process.


  1. Thanks for posting this recipe, I followed the same procedure and it turned out super yummy :)


  2. Thanks Anita. I tasted the dal and agree, the end result was really good. Thanks for sharing!