Global Veg » A Culinary Journal

Dal Makhani


If you go to any Indian restaurant, some form of “dal makhani” will always be on the menu.

This dish of lentils (“dal”) and cream is traditionally slow cooked overnight in clay pots with tons of spices and ghee (clarified butter). To say that it is a rich (and tasty) dish is an understatement.

When I make it at home, I usually veganize it by just not adding cream or ghee. When cooked well, the natural creaminess of the lentils is more than sufficient.


The combination and quantity of spices is one of the most important things in Indian cooking. In Dal Makhani, I like to balance  sour (tomatoes), bitter (dried fenugreek leaves or powder), sweet (cardamom/cinnamon) along with the traditional spice blend “garam masala.”  Making this dish will likely require a trip to an Indian grocery store. However, these are common ingredients in most northern indian dishes so you will have uses for them again.

The great thing about Dal Makhani is that it is very easy to make large quantities, without any additional effort.

Great for potlucks, or just make a batch on the weekend for a quick weeknight dinner. Just serve with some rice or flatbread (like these Spinach Whole Wheat Parathas).

Dal Makhani


  1. 1/2 cup kidney beans
  2. 1/2 cup bengal gram dal
  3. 1 cup whole urad dal (black)
  4. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  6. 2-3 garlic cloves, diced
  7. 1/2 cup tomato puree
  8. 1 green chile (chopped)
  9. piece of ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  10. 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves or 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder
  11. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  12. 1/4 tsp powdered cardamom
  13. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  14. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  15. salt
  16. small bunch of cilantro


  1. Soak overnight the lentils overnight (kidney beans, bengal gram, urad).
  2. Cook them well and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil or ghee (traditional) in a saucepan.
  4. Add cumin seeds, garlic cloves and pinch of asafoetida.
  5. When the garlic/cumin start browning, add the tomato puree, green chile and ginger.
  6. When the tomatoes start breaking down, add lentils.
  7. Cook for about 5 minutes. Mash them lightly.
  8. Add the fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and garam masala. Stir well.
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro
  11. Serve with cooked rice or flatbread.

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