Decadent Dal Makhani


This gloriously decadent dal originates from the Punjab region of North India where black urid beans, also known as black gram, are eaten in abundance. It happens to be my husband’s absolute favourite king of dals. Creamy and rich from the butter, ghee (or oil) and double cream (oh don’t let that put you off!) and yet zings of ginger, garlic and tomato accompanied with a delicious spicy masala.


Whilst we are lucky to still have some warm days, soon the weather will be turning and this dal is definitely one to bookmark for when there is a chill in the air.


In the Punjab this dal is eaten on special occasions, such as weddings and religious ceremonies. When all the pomp and glory happens you can guarantee that dal makhani will be offered to guests. Do try it and let me know how you get on.


Hope you all have a lovely weekend.


Dal Makhani

Serves 4-6

250g black urid beans (also known as black gram)

20g fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 green chillies, finely sliced

241g tin of red kidney beans (this was the amount once drained)

1 tsp salt



2 tbsp sunflower oil or ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

pinch of asafoetida/hing

2 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbsp tomato puree


Just before serving

1 tbsp butter

40ml double cream

1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

salt to taste

1. Ideally soak the urid beans overnight submerged in a bowl of water. Equally if you plan on eating them in the evening you can soak them in the morning for around 6 hours.

2. Once the lentils have soaked (see above) drain them and then wash them with clean water and drain 3 times so as to get rid of any impurities.

3. Place them in a large deep pan and completely cover so that the water is just above the beans. You can always add more water during the cooking process if it all gets soaked up. Add the finely grated ginger and garlic as well as the green chilli and salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. The scum that comes to the top when cooking can be removed with a spoon and discarded.

4. After about 20 minutes the dal should have softened and much of the water reduced. Press a bean between your thumb and forefinger and it should easily be squashed. If it needs to soften a bit more leave it simmering for a further 5 minutes.

5. Strain the lentils and then place them back in the pan along with the drained tinned red kidney beans. Add 100ml of water and simmer for a couple of minutes.

6. In a separate small frying pan add the oil (or ghee if you are feeling a little bit naughty) and when it is hot gently add the cumin and fenugreek seeds. They will begin to pop after about 30 seconds so proceed to add the garlic, asafoetida and then after a minute add the tomato puree and stir in together. Simmer on a low heat for a further minute.

7. Place the contents of the frying pan into the large pan with the urid and red kidney beans and give a good stir. If it is too thick add a little more water. It is very much down to personal taste on how thick or soupy you wish your dal to be. Simmer together for 10 minutes.

8. A few minutes before serving add the butter, double cream, Kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala. Give a good stir and add more salt as required.

Oh so delicious. I hope you agree.

Do leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers. 

8 thoughts on “Decadent Dal Makhani

        • …just had a look at my various packets of lentils and some talk about dal on the packet (e.g.: mung dal) others not, so I guess the answer would be ‘yes’ to whether gram and dal can be used interchangeably. Sorry for the long winded answer ;o)

          • Hi all – just my 2 bob here. ‘Gram’ generally refers to whole legumes / pulses while ‘dal’ means split ‘gram’ and normally the variety with the skins removed. And Torie is right, dal can also mean the prepared dish.
            Now, to further add to the confusion, ‘sabut dal’ refers to whole legumes/pulses i.e. gram.
            In this dish (which looks delectable by the way), you would use gram (or sabut urid dal).
            Now please excuse me, I have some sabat urid dal to soak 🙂

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