Quintessential Dal Makhani (Buttery Black Lentil Mix)

Quintessential Dal Makhani (Buttery Black Lentil Mix) It’s a mixture of black lentils (urad dal) cooked with beans, spices and essential Indian spices that result in a buttery – melt in your mouth dal. It’s the most famous and sought after recipe from the state of Punjab and is a default in ‘ALL’ Indian Restaurants.Dal Makhani‘Dal Makhni / Makhani / Makhani Dal / Ma ki Dal (Indian Lentil Mix’ is a recipe that actually needs no introduction to anyone who would have ever tasted Indian food or been to an Indian restaurant. It seriously is the Quintessential comfort-food recipe especially for people coming from the Northern part of India and every household adds their special touch or flavor to it. Though the ‘Dal/Lentil’ calls for few main ingredients like Black Lentil/Urad Daal, Kidney Beans/Rajma, Ginger+Garlic paste, Cream and few more ingredients. All these ingredients are added at just the right time to enhance the dish and make it extremely mouth-watering. best-Dal-makhaniThis is also one of those recipes which when cooked for longer becomes even more buttery and almost melts in your mouth. Once made, it can be stored in refrigerator up to a week or frozen for a month (just thaw overnight in the fridge). I usually love preparing this dish with few kidney beans, but it’s absolutely as per your choice, you can even use all black lentil or mix with Split Bengal Gram/Chana Dal. Since, this is a slow cooked, slightly heavy recipe, hence we usually eat it on a special occasion or maybe once in 1-2 months, however, you can eat it as and when you want. You can make the lighter version with ‘No Cream’.dal-makhni-buttery-black-lentil-mixIf you’re a slow cooker fan, you will definitely love this even more, as all you need to do is add the ingredients and just plug, start and carry on with your other activities while the dal gets ready (the cooking time would be exactly the same you use to cook any other lentil). Give it a try this weekend and enjoy with your favorite side of bread or rice or just about any grain.

Yields 6

Quintessential Dal Makahni (Buttery Black Lentil Mix)

6 hrPrep Time

2 hrCook Time

8 hrTotal Time

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Recipe Image


2 Cup Black Lentil (Urad Dal) - I'm using whole lentil

1/2 Cup Kidney Beans

3 Large Onions - thinly chopped

2 Tsp Ginger+Garlic Paste - fresh or store bought

2 Tomatoes - thinly chopped - you can use canned/frozen or even puree/paste

4 Tbsp Olive Oil - you can use any light oil

2 Tbsp of Ghee / Butter - optional

1/4 Cup Cream

5 Cups of Water - to cook the lentils

** Powdered Spices **

1/2 Tsp Turmeric

2 Tbsp Coriander Powder

1 Tbsp Cumin Powder

2 Pinch Asafoetida (Hing)

1 Tbsp Kasoori Methi / Dry Fenugreek Leaves - optional

1 Tbsp Garam Masala

1 Tbsp Red Chili Powder

2 Tsp Salt - use as per taste

*** Whole Spices ***

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

1 Small Cinnamon Stick

3 Black Cardamoms

3 Green Cardamom

4-5 Cloves

6-7 Black Peppercorn

For Tadka / Tempuring: (Optional)

1 Tsp Ghee

1-2 Whole Red Chili

1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds

Pinch of Fenugreek leaves

2-3 Tsp Cream


  1. A night before OR atleast for 6-7 hrs, soak black lentils+kidney beans in a large pot with 5 cups of water.
  2. Once nicely soaked, cook them in the same pot for an hour (over low flames) OR use a pressure cooker to cook (15 minutes / 3-4 whistles)
  3. Once the dal is cooked, keep it aside.
  4. Heat a large pot/pan (that can accommodate all the lentil).
  5. Now, add oil+ghee and let it melt completely, takes about 1/2 minute.
  6. Now add all the 'Whole Spices' and let them crackle and heat for a minute over low flame.
  7. To this, add chopped onions and saute till slightly pink (about 3 minutes).
  8. Add, ginger+garlic paste and saute cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Now add all the powdered spices (EXCEPT Fenugreek leaves) and saute for a minute.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they become slightly cooked.
  11. Finally, add the cooked lentils/dal, saute and cook covered for 20 minutes in low heat (stir every 3-4 minutes)
  12. Once the dal is nicely cooked with all the spices, add the cream and fenugreek leaves.
  13. Saute and cook for another 10 minutes over low flames.
  14. Give it a final stir and turn the heat off.
  15. **** If you are doing the Tadka/Tempuring
  16. Heat a small pan and add oil.
  17. Add whole red chili + cumin seeds and let them crackle for 1/2 minutes.
  18. Turn off the heat
  19. Transfer the Dal Makhni to serving bowl, decorate with tadka, fenugreek leaves and some fresh cream.
  20. Serve Hot with choice of side or store in fridge/freezer as per choice.
Cuisine: Indian | Recipe Type: Entree

39 Replies to "Quintessential Dal Makhani (Buttery Black Lentil Mix)"

  • comment-avatar
    Jayshree March 4, 2016 (7:41 pm)
    Super tempting dal makhani ???? And you are right , slow cooking churns out the best flavoured dal makhani !! Love the pictures there ♥️
  • comment-avatar
    Lokness @ The Missing Lokness March 4, 2016 (8:27 pm)
    I would have any soup that is creamy and buttery. How great that this soup can be cooked in a slow cooker and be frozen! It would be so nice to take out the soup and enjoy it when I want to. Thanks for sharing!
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar March 24, 2016 (5:29 am)
      Absolutely, it freezes great and can be stored for upto a month that way :)
  • comment-avatar
    AiPing | Curious Nut March 4, 2016 (8:28 pm)
    This sounds very similar to the South Indian sambar (or dal curry in Malaysia). I love it. I can have this with roti every day!!
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar March 11, 2016 (5:00 pm)
      Hi AiPing, sambhar is definitely one of the way we make dal curry, this is more of a Northern style version with cream and absolutely different spices. Do give it a try :)
  • comment-avatar
    Sam | Ahead of Thyme March 4, 2016 (9:01 pm)
    Yum! I have never tried this but it sounds delicious! Saving this to make later!! Thanks!!
  • comment-avatar
    peter @feedyoursoultoo March 4, 2016 (10:02 pm)
    I am so into lentils now. I love your presentation.
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar March 11, 2016 (4:40 pm)
      Thanks so much Peter, they definitely are a great source of protein and I love them too :)
  • comment-avatar
    Michelle Gwynn Jones March 6, 2016 (5:10 am)
    I always love a recipe you should start working on the night before. I didn't know cardomon came in different colors.
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar March 11, 2016 (4:51 pm)
      I love overnight recipes too, especially if the night work involves only soaking or mixing things and leaving overnight :) You should give these different cardamoms atry, not only do they look different, they tastes world apart too! Thanks for visiting.
  • comment-avatar
    Carol Cassara March 6, 2016 (3:15 pm)
    I have never made dal but it is one of my favorite things to have at an Indian restaurant. I love it. Maybe i need to try this recipe, right?
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar April 1, 2016 (5:31 pm)
      I would highly suggest that you give this recipe a try (It's very similar to the ones available in restaurant)
  • comment-avatar
    Emma White March 6, 2016 (9:10 pm)
    oh wow that looks and sounds just amazing going to give it a try for sure
  • comment-avatar
    Mama to 5 BLessings March 7, 2016 (12:11 am)
    Wow that looks like a work of art! Sounds like a dish my husband would enjoy!
  • comment-avatar
    Elizabeth O. March 7, 2016 (1:46 am)
    WOW! That's a lot of flavor. I love that it has a bit of a spicy kick to it too. I would love to try this! It's really very interesting to me.
  • comment-avatar
    victoria March 7, 2016 (4:41 am)
    This is my first time to hear about this and it's such interesting to me, I would love to try this on weekends
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar April 1, 2016 (5:28 pm)
      Hope you like it - Thanks for visiting.
  • comment-avatar
    Nicole Escat March 7, 2016 (5:44 am)
    Looks so yummy and tasty to be honest. I want to make one for my mom. Thank you for sharing the ingredients and instructions. My mom would definitely love it because she loves food so much.
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar April 6, 2016 (6:23 am)
      Aweee, thanks so much Nicole. I hope she enjoys it as much as we do - hugs.
  • comment-avatar
    Rosey March 7, 2016 (2:24 pm)
    A new way to use kidney beans woohoo! This sounds great.
  • comment-avatar
    Bismah March 7, 2016 (4:22 pm)
    I am such a huge fan of beans and lentils especially with fresh bread to go along with it. This dish looks really tasty and has a really great variety of spices.
  • comment-avatar
    Doran @ Haute Beauty Guide March 8, 2016 (1:59 am)
    This look delicious! So perfect for next week's meatless monday meal.
  • comment-avatar
    Jessica Cassidy March 8, 2016 (11:03 am)
    Yum! that looks delish but spicy :-)
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar March 11, 2016 (4:59 pm)
      Thanks Jessica, yes most of our Indian recipes are spicy, but you can just omit the chili and the recipe will still taste absolutely delish.
  • comment-avatar
    Laurie March 8, 2016 (12:57 pm)
    I've never tried something like this before. I'm intrigued on how it tastesz
    • comment-avatar
      Molly Kumar March 11, 2016 (4:39 pm)
      It actually tastes absolutely creamy and almost soup like consistency with beans. Do give it a try :)
  • comment-avatar
    Amber March 9, 2016 (5:54 pm)
    Looks good. I can't say I have ever tried anything like it.
  • comment-avatar
    Darcey March 10, 2016 (1:00 am)
    YUM! This just got added to my meal plan.
  • Delicious Global Vegetarian Recipes - Pooja's Cookery February 8, 2017 (6:23 pm)
    […] 12. Quintessential Dal Makhani (Buttery Black Lentil Mix) […]

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