Dal Makhani Recipe : Indians Ki Maa Ki Dal !

The delicious and delectable Dal Makhani is also known as “Maa ki dal”. This Punjabi curry has a good mixture of whole black lentil with red kidney beans in a creamy base. The combination of mixed lentil curry in the cream with the various veggies sautéed in lots of butter is very tempting. This Authentic Punjabi Dal Makhani Recipe is not only rich in taste but also rich in proteins and fibers. The Dal has a high content of fiber and the beans all fully packed with proteins.

Dal Makhani

  • Author:
  • Recipe Category: Punjabi Dish
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description: Dal makhani or dal makhni is a popular dish of Punjab. The primary ingredients are whole black lentil, red kidney beans, butter and cream.

Dal Makhani - Punjabi Maa ki Dal

Ingredients for Dal Makhani Recipe:

There are lots of whole spices, spice powders and other Indian condiments which are required for making the Dal Makhani at home. All these ingredients are easily available in super stored and commonly present in everyone’s kitchen.

For Curry:

  • Bay leaf – 1 piece (small or medium size)
  • Black Cardamom – 1 unit
  • Butter- 3 tbsp.
  • Cinnamon/ Dalchini – 1 Piece
  • Cloves/ Laung – 2 Pieces
  • Coriander Powder- 1 tsp.
  • Fresh Cream- ⅓ cup
  • Garam Masala- ½ tsp.
  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsp.
  • Green Cardamoms – 2 to 3 units
  • Green Chillies (finely chopped) – 1 or 2 pieces
  • Jeera / Cumin Seeds- ½ tsp.
  • Kasuri Methi (finely crushed) – ½ tsp.
  • Nutmeg Powder – 2 pinches
  • Onions (finely chopped) – ½ cup (1 medium size onion)
  • Rajma / Red Kidney Beans – ¼ cup
  • Red Chilli Powder- ½ tsp.
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Tomato Puree – 1 cup (2 large sized tomatoes)
  • Urad Dal (Sabut) / Whole Black Lentils- ¾ cup
  • Water (for boiling) – 3 cups (750 ml)

Note: If you do not have a ginger-garlic paste, then take 1-inch ginger and 7 garlic cloves. Take them to mortar-pestle and crush them to a fine paste. You can also use grated nutmeg if you do not have its powder.

Use the low-fat fresh cream to add in the curry. You can use either salted butter or unsalted butter.

 For Garnishing:

  • Fresh Cream- ½ tbsp.
  • Green Coriander Leaves – ½ cup

Note: You may use heavy cream or low-fat cream for garnishing. You can use parsley leaves or any other fresh herb leaves to garnish your Dal Makhani.

Method of Making Dal Makhani:

It is very easy and simple to make the restaurant style Dal Makhani at home. It does require time and patience, but carrying our certain task before making the Dal Makhani eases the whole process.


  1. Soak Urad Dal:
    • Take the ¾ cup of whole black lentils in a colander or strainer.
    • Wash it 2 to 3 times under the running water.
    • Take in a bowl having the enough water to soak the ¾ cup of Dal.
    • Let the Urad Dal soak properly for 7 to 8 hours. Remove them and drain the water.
  2. Soak Rajma:
    • Similarly, take ¼ cup of Rajma in a colander.
    • Rinse them with water and wash properly.
    • Then soak these cleaned kidney beans in a bowl of full of water.
    • Let them soak for around 8 to 9 hours.
    • Transfer to another bowl and discard the water.
  3. Cook Lentils:
    • Once again, take the two lentils and rinse separately.
    • Wash Urad Dal and Rajma properly a couple of times with clean water.
    • Drain them and remove the excess water.
    • After you have washed the lentils properly and drained the water, keep them in a side.
    • Take a pressure cooker and pour in 3 cups of water.
    • Add these lentils into the cooker with water and stir well.
    • Switch on the stove and pressure cook the lentils on high flame.
    • Wait for 20 whistles or till the lentils have cooked and have become soft.
    • Open the lid after the air escapes from the cooker. Do not drain the water from the cooker (keep the stock for later use).
    • When the Urad and Rajma are cooked or softened, they should easily melt in the mouth.
    • If they are having some resistance when you eat them, then they need to be cooked again.
    • Check with your hand or spoon if they are cooked or not.
    • Once the lentils are pressure cooked and have softened, take them out.
    • Now mash the dal and Rajma in such a way that some of the dal and Rajma is left whole and some are mashed.
    • Now keep it aside in a bowl.
  4. Tomato Puree:
    • Take two large size tomatoes and wash them.
    • Peel off their skin and chop them into small cubes.
    • Transfer these chopped tomatoes with their juice to the blender or mixer jar.
    • Blend them to the smooth tomato puree without the use of water.
    • Take out the smooth tomato puree from the blender to the small bowl and keep it aside.
  5. Ginger-Garlic Paste:
    • Take the ½ inch ginger and 2 cloves of garlic.
    • Crush the ginger and chop the garlic.
    • Take them to the mortar-pestle. Grind them together to make the paste.

Note: You may also keep the Dal and Rajma to soak for an overnight. While pressure cooking the Dal and Rajma, both should have cooked thoroughly. If you feel they are not properly cooked, then add ½ cup of more water and again pressure cook.

Do not blanch the tomatoes while making the puree.


  • Take a non stick frying pan keep it on the stove, add butter and let it melt. (the butter can be salted or unsalted)
  • When the butter gets melted, start to add the whole spices to the pan.
  • Add the ½ tsp. Jeera (Cumin Seeds) and let it cook.
  • When Jeera begins to crackles add 1 small or medium sized bay leaf and 1 inch of cinnamon stick.
  • Fry these whole spices for few seconds.
  • Then mix in the 2 to 3 pieces of cloves, 2 to 3 green cardamoms and 1 black cardamom.
  • Saute these whole spices together in the pan for few seconds till they become aromatic.
  • Then add the ½ cup finely chopped onions to this pan.
  • Fry the onions until they become golden brown and turn translucent.
  • Stir and saute the onions on the low flame. Wait till they release a pungent aroma.
  • Now, add 2 tsp. of ginger garlic paste you prepared. Fry it with the onions and whole spices until the raw smell leaves.
  • Then, add the 1 tsp. chopped and deseeded green chillies to this pan.
  • Stir fry all these ingredients for a minute and let the fragrance spread all over the kitchen.
  • When these spices and veggies are cooked, transfer the 1 cup tomato puree to pan.
  • Stir the puree into the mixture and let it cook.
  • Stir again and then sprinkle ½ tsp. red chilli powder with 1 tsp. of coriander powder.
  • Add 2 pinches of nutmeg powder (or grated nutmeg) as well and mix it well.
  • Stir and saute everything over a low flame for a while.
  • Fry the gravy until raw smell leaves or till the butter separates out of it.
  • Now add the mashed dal and the cooked Rajma beans along with the stock in the gravy.
  • Stir everything well and nicely. Add 1 cup of water and stir again. Adjust the amount of water according to the consistency of the gravy.
  • Continue to simmer the Dal Makhani on a low flame without covering the pan.
  • Now to simmer the gravy for 25 minutes on slow flame. Also, keep on stirring at intervals.
  • Take care that the dal do not stick at the bottom of the pan.
  • Season the mixture with the after 10 minutes. Once again give a gentle stir and let it simmer.
  • When the Dal Makhani gravy has thickened enough add 1/3 or ¼ cup of cream to the pan. Stir well and mix the fresh cream in the gravy.
  • The Makhani should not be too thick or too thin. So, add water if it’s too thick or simmer for some time if it’s thin. Get it to the medium consistency with the creamier texture.
  • Once you have stirred and mixed the cream in the gravy, now switch off the stove.
  • Add ¼ tsp. crushed Kasuri Methi in it and stir well. (For that you can rub Kasuri Methi in between your palms and crush it, then add it.)
  • Stir once again, cover the pan and transfer the dal Makhani to the plate.

And the delicious dal Makhani is ready to eat!

Note: If the gravy looks dry, then you can add more water while simmering. The proportion of water can also be increased if feel the consistency of gravy is thick. The longer time you keep to simmer the gravy, the better would it taste. Always keep it on low flame, so the chances of burning the gravy are reduced.

Additional Information:

  • Calories: 720 calories
  • Total Time: PT60M
  • Serves: 4
  • Date Published:

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The two lentils are the core ingredients of this delicious dish. But all the side ingredients help to enhance the flavours and richness of the dish. Their addition makes a lot of difference to the taste. The black and green cardamom with the cloves gives their own flavours. The sprinkle of whole spices, Garam masala and spice powders add their heat to the gravy. The aroma of sautéed whole spices in this recipe will increase the appetite of your whole family including the neighbours as well. The mixing of cream and use of butter is the highlight of the recipe.

Because of its popularity of taste, this delicious Punjabi Dal Makhani has an important place in menu of all restaurants and Dhaba’s. Earlier it was prepared for long hours on slow flame with slow cooking. But nowadays usage of the pressure cooker has made the job easy and less time-consuming. Yet, the slow cooking is the key for making the best Dal Makhani. This recipe tastes very delicious even the next, just reheat properly. Try out this restaurant style Dal Makhani recipe for the small party at your house and collect the praise your way.


Transfer Dal Makhani from the pan to the serving bowl. Serve it with phulka Roti or Plain Roti. You can also have it any type of delicious and tasty Paratha or Butter Nan. You may also serve it with steamed spicy or mild flavoured Rice. The best combination to serve Dal Makhani would be with the spice tempered Jeera Rice and chilled crunchy Cucumber Raita.

Garnish the dal Makhani in serving bowl with:


  • The total time required for the cooking of Dal Makhani Recipe is 55-60 minutes
  • The measured proportion of ingredients serves 3 to 4 people. The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
  • Do stir the dal while it’s simmering because if it is not stirred up it will get stuck at the bottom of the pan. There are chances of the dal to burn.
  • The beans can be cooked in a pot as well. But it would take time approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • You can store the tomato puree in the fridge and use it later.
  • The onions, ginger-garlic, green chillies and other whole spices can also be sautéed in oil or ghee.
  • For the Rajma and Dal to be soft and tender, always use fresh Rajma and Dal.
  • You can prepare this Dal Makhani Recipe with the half whole Urad Dal and half split Urad Dal. The taste and texture will be slightly different. This way, you can prepare it quickly with just 8 to 10 whistles.
  • The nice red colour of the curry is due to the use of fresh and ripe tomatoes. They infuse their bright red colour. Also, the reddish colour highly depends on the red chilli powder and dry red chillies.
  • If some dal Makhani is left, you can store in the fridge and have it on next day.
Quick Tip:
  • If you have the stored tomato puree, then don’t make fresh. You can use that as well.
  • Mashing the lentils will give perfect consistency to the dal Makhani. But if you want, you can directly add it without mashing.
  • If your lentils are old or near the expiry date, then they would take a lot of time to cook.
  • You can skip adding the cream and still, it would taste delicious.
  • Replacing the tomatoes with thick tomato puree will enhance the taste and texture of the dish. But if you want, you can skip puree and add chopped tomatoes.
  • Be careful while eating Dal Makhani. Its over-eating can cause difficulty in digestion. (Have a glass of chilled Jal-Jeera after you eat it!)
Time Serving Calories
 1 hour  3 to 4 people  720 calories

This popular Indian Punjabi dish uses fresh red kidney beans the whole black grams. Both of these ingredients are cooked with lots of butter and various spices to give to a very flavorful dish. The texture of rich Dal Makhani is creamy and its taste is delicious. The aroma of veggies and spices when cooked is totally tempting. This delightful Dal Makhani is a standout amongst various other Punjabi dishes because of two main reasons.

The first factor is the spicy lentil mixture made from the mix of Beans and Urad Dal. There is a perfect blend of veggies, whole spices and other condiments in the gravy. The recipe is made as per its name “Makhani” and complete justice to it as it uses butter in abundance. The tanginess of tomato puree is balanced out with the heat from the spices. The final mix of the individual ingredients makes the tangy, spicy and creamy gravy which rich in lentils.

And the second factor is the smoky flavour of charcoal. The red hot charcoal is drizzled with oil and it becomes smoky. It is then placed in the gravy and infused its aroma in the creamy dal Makhani. All the restaurant usually serve this style of Dal Makhani. This technique of adding the smoky effect to the gravy is called as a Dhungar method, also known as “charcoal smoking technique”. It is easy to follow this technique if you have charcoal at home. Yet, it is optional to infuse the smoky flavour in your dish, if you don’t want then skip using it. With the use of charcoal, you get the fantastic flavours and the fabulous fragrance from the dish.

Dhungar Method:

To infuse the smoky flavour in the Dal Makhani, follow the Dhungar Method. For the Dhungar Method, you would require preparing the Dal Makhani first with the above mentioned traditional method. In addition to that, you will need 1 small piece of charcoal and around ½ tsp. to 2/3 tsp. of oil.

If you are following the Dhungar method, then continue the recipe from where you stopped. In the last step, after you stir the cream, cover the pan and switch off the flame. But do not transfer the dal Makhani from pan to plate. Instead, cover the pan of the Dal Makhani and keep it aside for a while. Follow the procedure to get the smoky flavours and charcoal fragrance in your dish.

  • Take the small piece of charcoal.
  • Heat it over the flame and wait till lit becomes red hot.
  • Evenly burn the charcoal piece with the help of a tong.
  • Keep flipping it till it becomes red from all the sides.
  • Take a small bow which can resist heat, and keep this charcoal piece in ti.
  • Drizzle ½ tsp. of oil over this heated and burned charcoal piece.
  • Immediately hold this bowl having a charcoal piece and place it over the top of Dal Makhani. (You can also place directly in the gravy or over the pan).
  • Cover the pan with the bowl of charcoal for a minute. (It is fine if do not cover the bowl of charcoal. If you want, you can cover the bowl with a cloth and keep it in gravy.)
  • This way, the charcoal would infuse its smoky flavours it’s the Dal Makhani.
  • Wait for a minute or more till the aroma and flavours have been incorporated in the gravy.
  • Remove the cloth from the bowl and take the bowl from the pan.
  • And the dal Makhani is all set to be served.

Smoked Paprika Method:

You can also infuse the smoky flavour in the Dal Makhani using the smoked paprika method. For that, you need ½ tsp. of smoked paprika along with ½ tsp. of Kashmiri red chilli powder. You can keep the proportion of red chilli powder or dry red chillies from ¼ to ½ tsp. based on your desired preference of taste.  The proportion of both the smoked paprika and red chilli powder can be varied depending on the flavour of your choice.  You can use ¼ tsp. of smoked paprika and ½ tsp. or ¼ tsp. of red chilli powder as well. Whatever ratio you choose, add the lesser one first. If you want more smokiness, then consider adding more paprika.

Dabha Style Dal Makhani Recipe:

The famous Punjabi dish, Dal Makhani is very popular food among the people of India. It is widely available in various restaurants, small food shops and the Dabha. The basic way to prepare the traditional dal Makhani recipe is same but there is a little twist in the Dabha style preparation.

  • You have to wash and soak the lentils overnight.
  • Then pressure cook the lentils, drain the water and again put back to the cooker.
  • Mix the tomato puree with whole spices and spice powder.
  • Pour in 4 cups of water and add cream.
  • Pressure cook everything on high flame.

Little Variation for Pressure Cooking Lentils:

While you are pressure cooking the lentils, add around 1 cup of milk after few whistles. If you are waiting for 20 whistles, then you can pour milk after 15 whistles and then again wait for the remaining whistles.

This will improve the taste of the Dal Makhani as well it would also enhance the texture of the dish. With the use of milk, there be a reduced requirement of adding cream in the gravy. We add cream to give the creamier texture to the curry, but the addition of milk will itself do that to a great extent.

How to Cook Lentils in a Pot?

If for some reasons, you do not want to pressure cook the Rajma and Dal, then you can use pot as well.

  • Take a cooking pot filled with water and place it on the stove.
  • Switch on the flame and cover the pot till the lentils are cooked.
  • You must use fresh, washed, cleaned and soaked lentils.
  • It would take around 1 hour for dal and Rajma to soften in the pot.
  • Make sure there is not bite in the lentils after they are cooked.
  • Once tender, remove them from the pot and either drain the stock or keep the stock.
  • Follow the rest of the procedure same as above recipe to make Dal Makhani.