July 16, 2012

Dal makhani

Most of the time we are at an Indian restaurant outside India and Blaž does not wish to have non-vegetarian meal he orders dal makhani. Dal makhani translated to ‘buttery lentils’, is a rich creamy lentil dish originating from the Punjab region of India which then migrated to different parts of Northern India and abroad. The well-cooked lentils with rich cream and a generous dollop of butter on top forms a rich and delicate combination of flavors. Whenever I am cooking lentils I am heading home, I cook the staple Bengali lentil dishes. However, this time for some special occasion I decided to make for Blaž the dal makhani. Last time he was in Germany, he bought the black lentils for his favorite lentil dish. Therefore, it was time to put everything together and pair it up with some naans. I was surprised how well the flavors and textures worked. It was authentic and I was proud of myself. Blaž was very happy to get his favorite restaurant lentil dish at home, and that too in its authentic glory.

 You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 4)

100g whole urad dal (black lentils)
50g rajma (red kidney beans)
40g chola dal (Bengal gram lentils)
1inch ginger
3 garlic cloves
3 green chillies
1 big tomato
20g tomato paste or puree
30g butter
30ml cream
3tbsp ghee
1sp whole cumin
pinch asafoetida powder
1/2sp fenugreek seed
1/2sp chili powder
1/2sp garam masala


1.      Thoroughly wash the lentils and soak them in water overnight.
2.      Make a paste of garlic, ginger and green chilies.
3.      Boil all the lentils with the garlic-ginger-chili paste and salt. Use just enough water. Simmer until the lentils are well cooked and then mash lightly with a ladle. Do not strain the remaining water.
4.      Heat ghee in a wok. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds, asafoetida and temper the spices well. Add finely chopped tomato and tomato puree. Stir for a couple of minutes on high heat.
5.      Add the cooked lentils and bring to boil.
6.      Add the chili powder, butter and cream. Simmer on low heat for around 30-35 minutes.
7.      Add garam masala. Season well. Garnish with a dollop of butter.

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