Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a dish originating from Punjab, India. It is one of the most loved, rich, and creamy lentil curry made using whole black lentils, kidney beans and mild spices. The curry gets it richness from butter. Basically lentils are cooked along with butter and then cream is mixed in.

When I was living in Bangalore, my friend and I were a regular at a restaurant that was nearby our apartment. It was particularly for this one dish – Dal Makhani and Jeera rice combo. It was so flavourful and comforting on hungry tummies. Just I how we liked – creamy, rich and buttery. I still relish those days because I have to tell you, it is one THE BEST dal makhani I had until now.

Dal makhani traditionally takes quite a long time to make, starting with soaking the lentils and then cooking them for hours on the stove. Slow cooking option gets the best taste out of these lentils. I used to avoid making it often as it was time consuming. But, we can opt pressure cook method for quicker option and still taste good. On days I have nowhere to be, I quickly pressure cook the lentils and then slow cook on stove. Remember, more slow cooked lentils, better the taste.

We can also skip cream, use cashew or coconut milk and vegan butter for vegan option. Tastes the best along with Jeera rice or Roti or Naan.

How to make Dal Makhani?

Start by soaking black lentil and kidney beans overnight. I have tried using canned kidney beans. It does job! I still prefer using soaking kidney beans for the best flavour.

Next saute whole spices and tomatoes, ground spices for a few mins, add in rinsed lentils, tomato puree and cook in Instant pot in pressure cook mode for 30 mins. Or pressure cook on stove top for at least 10 whistles (20-25 mins).

When you add thick tomato puree, dal gets the reddish color. Along with crushed pieces of tomatoes, make sure to add tomato paste. You can use store bought, or made at home. Adding kashmiri chillies brings the color too. They are mild enough just to add color and not enhance the heat.

Let the pressure release naturally.

Turn on saute mode in IP, and cook for at least 15-20 mins further. The longer the better. If you have used pressure cooker, once the pressure has released naturally, simmer the curry in low flame for 15- 20 mins. Stir often.

Next add cream. I have another trick if you want to avoid cream. I blend about two ladles of the cooked dal and stir it back into the pot. The starchy lentils give a creamier texture for the dal. And add just enough of coconut milk or cashew milk at the end so the flavour remains the same. Also, dal gets creamier and thicker the longer it sits.

I hope you like the recipe. It is –

  • Rich
  • Creamy
  • Buttery
  • great with rice or naan
  • & comfortingly delicious

Dal Makhani

Author : Shruthi

Prep Time :8 hours (including soak time)
Cook Time :45 minutes 
Total Time :8 hours 45 minutes

Cuisine :Indian
Category:Lunch, Dinner

Ingredients: 1 cup = 240 ml

  • 1/2 cup urad dal (whole black lentils)
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans
  • 2 cups water
  • 11/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 diced large tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream or coconut cream
  • salt to taste


  1. Soak black lentils and kidney beans overnight. Rinse and drain lentils the next day.
  2. Saute cumin, ginger, bay leaf, cloves, nutmeg in IP Saute mode along with butter until aromatic.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes,cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, jaggery, salt and cook for a minute.
  4. Next add tomato paste(let it be concentrated), lentils, and water.
  5. Pressure cook for 30 mins. Let the pressure release naturally.
  6. Turn on the saute mode again and simmer for another 15-20 mins.
  7. Add cream, and adjust the spices needed.
  8. Serve hot with brown rice or jeera rice.

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