If you are serious with Indian food, you will completely submit to and crave this Dal Makhani with all your flavor senses!
The buttery and creamy lentil & beans dal makhani curry recipe is Vegetarian and Gluten-free.
Learn how to make dal makhani curry form scratch with the step by step photo instructions in the printable recipe below and watch the video for more visual details, so that you can impress your family and friends with your newly found cooking skills!
What is Dal Makhani?
Dal Makhani simply means dal = lentil and makhan= butter and it’s a creamy north Indian dish, which originated in the state of Punjab and has been enjoyed through India and all over the world.
When you go to an Indian restaurant in Europe or the American continent, you will see somewhere in the menu dal makhani among other dishes such as saag paneer (green leaf curry with Indian cottage cheese), Butter Chicken – Murgh Makhani, Tandoori and Tikka Chicken.
Generally speaking, north Indian dishes seem to be more popular in the western world and I think it has something to do with the cream-based Moghul and Punjabi style of food.
I personally love this type of food and you must have noticed that by now.
In central Europe, the weather is rather cold so our diet is based on heavier milk and meat dishes.
The north Indian food with its velvety texture and aromatic spices has been my extension of food know-how and to be honest, my ultimate addiction.
So, a dish like this Dal Makhani is of course, in its own right, a complete success in the western world. Dal Makhani is healthy and rich in proteins which of course makes for a welcome change from our deeply rooted meat culture.
After all, we need proteins!
What lentils to us to make Dal Makhani?
We will use whole urad dal lentils for this gorgeous rich lentil curry and kidney beans, and they make a great team.
Urad dal is also known as black lentils, black grams, mungo beans (don’t confuse with mung beans!) and vigna mungo.
When you go to buy this lentil type, refer to this picture to make it easier for you because different places might have different names for this lentil variation.
Urad lentil/black lentil look like Mung beans, which are green, but both have the same distinct shape.
Black lentils are simply… well black, as you can see.
I use whole black lentils in this dal makhani recipe, you can use split urad dal/black lentil too.
The soaking time might be less, however, I think the curry looks better with the whole lentils.
How to make Dal Makhani Curry
The dal makhani recipe will take you about 15 minutes to prepare.
What you need to do first is to soak the urad dal lentils and kidney beans together for at least 7 hours or simply overnight in water so that the beans get soft.
After soaking, I cook the beans in the pressure cooker for about 10-15 minutes with 4 whistles.
The pressure cooker saves you time and energy (gas/electricity) but you can cook it too the regular way, which might take around 1-2 hours.
Once cooked you can just add the beans while cooking as described in the recipe instructions.
More recipes with lentils/beans similar to Dal Makhani:
- Masoor Dal Curry [Vegan]
- Kidney bean salad
- Mulligatawny soup
Dear Reader, do you enjoy Indian lentil dishes?
Dal Makhani Recipe – Spiced Indian Butter Urad Dal Black Lentil Curry
- 1 cup Black Lentil dried
- ½ cup Kidney Beans dried
- 2 Tablespoon Clarified Butter Ghee or unsalted Butter
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Green Chili Pepper slit lengthwise
- 1 Onion sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger + Garlic *see Notes
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin ground
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Seed ground
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper ground
- 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 Tomato diced
- 1 cup Broth veg
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 Tablespoon Fresh Cream
- Cilantro aka Coriander leaves, chopped, optional
- Keep the lentil and beans to soak over night or for 7 hours so that they get soft and then cook them soft. Don't use salt to the lentil and beans during the cooking because they tend to take longer to cook otherwise. I like to use the pressure cooker until cooked soft.
- Heat up a shallow pan with the clarified butter, and add in the bay leaf and slit green chili halves. Stir fry for a minute so that the aroma comes out. Then add the Onion slices and fry till they turn a bit yellow in color.
- Now add in the ginger garlic paste and stir fry. Continue to season with the cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala powder. Stir fry.
- Then add in the diced tomato and stir fry again. Continue with the cooked beans and the veg stock. Mix a bit and add the tomato paste, which will help in thickening the dal makhani.
- Stir well and cover, let it cook for about 15 minutes and make sure to stir occasionally because beans have a habit to stick on the ground of the pot and you don't want them to burn.
- Once the dal makhani is cooked and just before serving add 1-2 tablespoons of fresh cream and garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro.
- Serve hot with nan, roti, chapati flat bread or rice.
- The split lentil might require less soaking and cooking time.
- Keep the lentil and beans to soak overnight or for 7 hours first and then cook until soft.
- I like to use the pressure cooker to cook the beans soft.
- Use fresh ginger and garlic finely chopped (ration 1:2) or use ginger and garlic in paste form