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Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

This has to be one of the most popular and delicious dals in India. Luscious and rich with a deep flavor, this dal is made mostly with a whole black lentil called sabut urad dal and a smattering of red kidney beans. Originally from Peshawar (now in Pakistan), this Punjabi dal was brought to India during the Partition and became an instant classic, served everywhere from 5-star hotels to roadside dhabas (shacks). There are various versions of this dish, such as kali dal, ma ki dal and dal bukhara. This version, dal makhani, was created by the founder of Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, who added kidney beans, tomato and cream. Traditionally it is made in a clay pot and simmered for 24 hours, but a pressure cooker speeds that up. It makes great leftovers because it tastes even better the next day.


  • 1 cup whole black urad dal (see Cook's Note), rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 3 tablespoons Kashmiri rajma (or red kidney beans or pinto beans; see Cook’s Note), rinsed and soaked overnight 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely grated (1 tablespoon) 
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (2 teaspoons) 
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder (see Cook’s Note) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala  
  • 1 cup strained tomato puree 
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for topping, optional 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Drain the soaked black urad dal and Kashmiri rajma beans and transfer to a 6-quart Instant Pot®. Add 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Follow the manufacturer's guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on low for 1 hour (see Cook’s Note). (Alternatively, use a stovetop pressure cooker over medium-high heat set for 15 minutes.)
  2. After the pressure-cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer's guide for natural release. Once the pressure is released, unlock the lid and add the garlic, ginger, Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala and 1 teaspoon salt. Set the pot to medium sauté and simmer, stirring often so the mixture doesn’t scorch on the bottom, until the raw smell is gone, about 5 minutes. (If using a stovetop pressure cooker, saute over medium-high heat.) 
  3. Lightly mash the urad dal mixture with a potato masher, leaving some intact. Add the tomato puree and butter and mix well. Cover with the lid (but do not seal), set the pot to slow-normal (slow cooker) and cook, checking and stirring occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom and adding a little water if it gets too thick, about 2 hours. It should be the consistency of a pourable lentil soup. (If using a stovetop pressure cooker, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup water along with the tomato puree and simmer over low following the instructions above.) 
  4. Add 6 tablespoons of the heavy cream, set the pot to low sauté and simmer, stirring as needed to keep it from sticking to the bottom, until cooked down slightly and combined, another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust with more salt if needed. (If using a stovetop pressure cooker, simmer over medium heat.) 
  5. Make a cappuccino swirl with the remaining 2 tablespoons cream just before serving. Optionally, you can add another pat of butter on the dal just before serving for some extra love!

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