Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dal Makhani - Buttery Lentils

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani which translates to Buttery Lentils is generally made with a lot of butter and cream. This is a lighter version (inspired by the late Tarla Dalal) of a dish that originated in the Punjab region of India. It's a popular dish among truckers who dine at truck stops all over India called 'dhabas'. Because it is made so rich with butter and cream, it is served on special occasions like weddings and festivals.

The base is a combination of whole urad dal and rajma or red kidney beans. The legumes are soaked overnight and pressure cooked the next day with onions, ginger and a variety of spices. In place of dry kidney beans, I used a can to save time.

In spite of using only half a stick of butter, these lentils were creamy and delicious. They go well with hot, steamed rice or with a variety of Indian breads.

1 cup whole urad dal, soaked overnight and drained
1 (15.5 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 large onions, diced
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch or paprika
1 tsp. garam masala powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 (6 oz.) tetra-pak tomato pulp
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 + 2 hot green chilies, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
salt to taste

  1. Pressure cook lentils and beans along with 4 cups water, turmeric powder and salt for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow to naturally de-pressurise which could take up to 20 minutes.
  3. Open the pressure cooker and mash lentils until smooth and creamy, using an immersion or regular blender.
  4. Heat oil in a separate saucepan and sputter cumin seeds, onions and 2 green chilies. 
  5. Add paprika, ginger and garlic pastes and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  6. Empty tomato pulp into saucepan and simmer over medium heat until oil resurfaces.
  7. Pour lentils from pressure cooker into saucpan, stir well and adjust salt to taste.
  8. Add butter and garam masala powder, bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat for another 10 minutes.
  9. Transfer lentils to a serving dish and garnish with minced green chilies and cilantro.
Serve with hot, steamed, long-grain rice or any Indian bread.

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