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Dal Makhani or Dal Makhni is a popular lentil recipe from Indian cuisine. Creamy, flavorful and aromatic Dal Makhani is made with black gram lentils and kidney beans, one of the classic dal recipes!!
Dal Makhani is also known as Madras Lentils. Makhani or makhni means “creamy” in Hindi. This dal makani happens to be one of the most popular dal served in the Indian restaurants around the globe. This restaurant style creamy, flavorful, aromatic Dal Makhani is very easy to make at home.
Growing up in India, I remember, back in 1980’s, when I went to Amritsar, Punjab on our family trip. On our way to Golden Temple, Amritsar we stopped at one of the roadside dhaba or restaurant and for the first time I tried Dal Makhani.
I still mesmerize this creamy and flavorful Dal Makhani served to us. This was one of the best dal. Creamy, flavorful, aromatic dal served with some Tandoori roti, some onion salad and a tall glass of lassi (buttermilk) ahhhhh …?
Dal Makhani also known as Dal Makhni, is a dish originating from the region of Punjab, India. This dal is mainly made with whole black urad dal (black lentils) and rajma (kidney beans).
Traditionally, this dal makhani is slow cooked for few hours for all the flavors and spices to blend in well, cream and butter are also used to bring out the creamy taste and texture in this dal.
However, I like to keep my dal very light. I do not use any cream while making this dal. I think this dal when cooked right brings out the creamy texture, since black whole urad dal (black lentils) when cooked adds to the creamy texture and taste of the dish.
The recipe I am going to share with you all, is my take on this authentic Dal Makhani without using any cream. Enjoy this healthier version of restaurant style dal makhani right in the comfort of your home ?
HOW TO MAKE DAL MAKHANI
I prefer to soak these overnight or minimum of 8 hours. Soaking the lentils and beans not only enhance the flavor and cut back on cooking time, but most importantly it also eliminates any impurities there may be in the lentils and/or beans.
SOAKING: Rinse the lentils and beans thoroughly, discard any stones, debris or bad beans or lentils. Soak in ample water overnight or minimum of 4 hours.
When beans and lentils re-hydrate they almost double in size. I soak one cup of lentils and beans in 3 cups of water, thus making sure there is enough water for the beans and lentils to re-hydrate.
NO-SOAKING: There are times, when I forget to soak the lentils and beans and still what to make dal makhani for dinner. How do I do it? Yes, you can still easily cook this dal.
Instant pot comes to my rescue. I pressure cook the lentils longer for a creamier dal makhani. Recipe card includes details on no-soak dal makhani.
INSTANT POT DAL MAKHANI
Turn ON saute (more). When it displayed “HOT”, add oil, cumin seeds, asafoetida.
Add onions, garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add tomatoes, ginger, green chili, tomato paste (optional).
Dry spices – coriander powder, turmeric powder, dry mango powder, red chili powder and salt to taste. Saute for a 1-2 minute.
Optional: You can add half a tablespoon of tomato paste. Tomato paste gives nice color to this dal.
Add drained and rinsed lentils and beans, water. Mix well. Turn OFF saute.
Optional: Place a trivet. In a insert (bowl) add all the ingredients for brown rice and place the insert on the trivet. Close lid, vent sealed.
Turn ON MANUAL / PRESSURE COOK (high) for 40 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Open the lid.
(Optional) Using tongs, carefully remove the bowl of brown rice and the trivet.
Turn ON saute (more). Add garam masala, lemon juice, butter (optional). If required add more water to adjust the consistency.
Note: For vegan, vegan butter.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, stir frequently to avoid any sticking to the bottom.
Turn OFF saute. Add cream (optional). Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve. Enjoy!!
Note: Cream is optional. I do not add any cream to my dal. If you chose to add cream, add it once the Instant Pot is completely turned off.
Note: For vegan, substitute cream with coconut cream or cashew paste. For cashew paste, soak 8-10 cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. Grind to a paste, add it at the end.
DAL MAKHANI WITH BROWN RICE USING PIP (POT-IN-POT)
I absolutely love this concept of pot-in-pot cooking. Getting entire meal done in just one pot. How cool it is?? However, it is important to understand how pot-in-pot method works.
So basically, pot-in-pot cooking means, that multiple things can be cooked at the same time in the main pot (Instant Pot) using multiple, smaller pots or inserts that easily fit into the main pot.
For pot-in-pot cooking, I use the following stack-able egg trivet (just the tall trivet). It’s dual purpose you can use this for pot-in-pot cooking as well as for cooking eggs in Instant Pot. I also use stainless steel inserts or pots that easily fit into 5 quarts or larger Instant Pot.
Food that have similar cooking time can be cooked using this method. For example, dal makhani, it takes 30 minutes for dal to cook on Bean/Chili mode. Brown rice takes about 22-25 minutes of cooking. So, dal makhani and brown rice can be cooked together using pot-in-pot method.
Similarly, you can also cook Rajma Masala (kidney beans curry) and brown rice using pot-in-pot method. Here’s the recipe for Rajma Masala if you would like to check it out.
STOVE TOP DAL MAKHANI
Follow the same recipe as discussed earlier. After the first whistle, reduce the heat and pressure cook for 40 minutes. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.
TIPS FOR DELICIOUS DAL MAKHANI
I prefer to soak lentils and beans prior to cooking. I think it not only reduces the cooking time but also enhances the flavor of this dish. You can soak the lentils and beans overnight or minimum of 4 hours, as discussed earlier in the post.
Cream is optional. Heavy or light cream may be used. If you chose to add cream, add the cream once the heat is completely turned OFF. Note: I have not used any cream in this recipe.
Butter is optional, you can add more or skip completely. You can use ghee instead of butter it will still taste great.
Dal Makhani thickens over the period of time. Add water to adjust the consistency of the dal.
Tomato paste is optional. It gives dal a very nice red color, just like a restaurant one. You can also use Kashmiri red chili powder for the red color in the dal.
Garam masala powder adds a nice aromatic flavor to this dal. Some recipes also use whole garam masala.
I think this dal tastes even better the next day, as all the flavors incorporate well into the dal.
I normally make twice the recipe and freeze it for later use. This makes an excellent make ahead dish for any occasion.
HOW TO MAKE DAL MAKHANI VEGAN
For vegan dal makhani you can use the following substitute for butter and cream:
Skip the butter and add your choice of plant based oil or vegan butter.
Instead of cream, you can use coconut cream or cashew paste for the creamy texture.
For cashew paste, soak 8-10 cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste. Add this cashew paste at the end.
HOW TO SERVE DAL MAKHANI
Dal Makhani is served with some Indian flatbread such as tandoori roti or naan. But this dal goes well with steamed Basmati white rice or brown rice as well.
I like to serve some dry subji (dry curry) along with this dal. My family loves Jeera Aloo with this dal. Some lemon wedge and onion salad on the side. Lastly, a glass of lassi or buttermilk.
HOW TO STORE DAL MAKHANI
Dal Makhani stays fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. This dal thickens over the period of time. Add some water to adjust the consistency of the dal.
Dal Makhani freezes well too. Skip the cream if freezing the dal. Freeze the dal in a freezer safe container. Dal Makhani stays good for up to a month in the freezer. Defrost the dal in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat and serve. If desired add some cream before serving.
Here are some more recipes for you to enjoy!!
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Bharwa Bhindi – okra stuffed with some Indian spices
Homemade Ghee –rich nutty flavor, nourishing and aromatic, homemade ghee
Aloo Gobi – simple, easy, delicious Potato Cauliflower curry
Carrot Halwa, quick and easy carrot halwa.
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Subscribe to our Youtube Channel for easy and delicious video recipes. Happy Cooking!!
Dal Makhani / Madras Lentils - Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker
- 1 cup URAD BLACK WHOLE (Black Lentils), soaked overnight or minimum of 4 hours
- 1/3 cup RAJMA (Kidney Beans), soaked overnight or minimum of 4 hours
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
- 1/2 inch ginger, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 green chili, chopped (as per taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, as per taste
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional) , For vegan, please refer to the recipe notes
- 2 tablespoon cream (optional), For vegan, please refer to the recipe notes
- salt to taste
For Brown Rice:
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 teaspoon oil
- salt to taste (optional)
- Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
INSTANT POT DAL MAKHANI
- Rinse and soak, lentils and beans overnight or minimum of 4 hours. After 4 hours, drain and rinse lentils and beans, keep it aside.Note: For no-soak option, refer to the recipe notes.
- Turn ON saute (more). When it displayed "HOT", add oil, cumin seeds, asafoetida.
- Add onions, garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes, ginger, green chili, tomato paste (optional). Dry spices - coriander powder, turmeric powder, dry mango powder, red chili powder and salt to taste. Saute for a 1-2 minute.
- Add drained and rinsed lentils and beans, water. Mix well. Turn OFF saute.
- Optional: Place a trivet. In a insert (bowl) add all the ingredients for brown rice and place the insert on the trivet. Close lid, vent sealed.
- Turn ON BEAN / CHILI (high) for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Open the lid.
- (Optional) Using tongs, carefully remove the bowl of brown rice and the trivet.
- Turn ON saute (more). Add garam masala, lemon juice, butter (optional). If required add more water to adjust the consistency.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, stir frequently to avoid any sticking to the bottom.
- Turn OFF saute. Add cream (optional). Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve. Enjoy!!
- FOR NO-SOAK OPTION: Add rinsed lentils and beans, along with 3.5 cups of water, and PRESSURE COOK (high) for 60 minutes. Rest of the recipe is same.
- TIPS FOR DELICIOUS DAL MAKHANI - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- HOW TO MAKE DAL MAKHANI VEGAN - skip the butter and cream in the recipe. You can use your choice of plant based oil or vegan butter. For cream substitute coconut cream or cashew paste. For cashew paste, soak 8-10 cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. Grind to a paste, add it at the end.
- The dal does thicken over the period of time. Add some water to adjust the consistency.
- Tomato paste is optional, it gives dal a nice red color, just like the one you get in a restaurant.
- FOR STOVE TOP PRESSURE COOKER- please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- HOW TO STORE DAL MAKHANI-please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- HOW TO SERVE DAL MAKHANI - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- For brown rice, we like the rice well done. Ratio 1:1.25, rice:water can also be used.