dal makhani recipe dhaba style | punjabi dal makhani dhaba style recipe

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dal makhani dhaba style recipe with step by step photos – dal makhani is one of the most popular dal recipe of india along with dal tadka and dal fry. i have already shared easy one pot way of making dal makhani recipe. well, this one pot recipe is the way, my mil makes dal makhani at home and is liked by all. for restaurant like taste, you can check this restaurant style dal makhani recipe.

the dal makhani recipe posted here is how this creamy dal is served and relished in punjabi dhabas. this is one dal which is made by every dhaba and is usually had with rotis or different varieties of parathas.

like sarson ka saag and langarwali dal, the taste of dal makhani also improves with time. so you might like it even more on the second day. but keep in mind that it is little heavy on stomach and to get the best taste addition of makhan (butter) is must. so eat in moderation, no matter how delicious you find this creamy dal. few more dhaba style recipes on blog are: 

the recipe of dhaba style dal makhani has been adapted from the book “the dhabas of amritsar” by yashbir sharma and a few more cookbooks. this recipe is the simplest recipe allowing the flavors of urad dal coming through in the dish. only tomatoes, ginger, garlic and red chili paste are used in the recipe. so there is a slight tang of the tomatoes in this mildly spiced dal makhani. the original recipe does not use rajma or kidney beans, but i have added them. many people add rajma to dal makhani and many don’t.

dal makhani is best served with naan, rotis, paratha or plain rice. this dal goes very well with jeera rice or saffron rice or biryani rice or ghee rice or garam masala rice.

if you are looking for more dal recipes then do check kali dal, dal bukharapalak dal, chana dal and masoor dal recipe.

dal makhani recipe dhaba style below:

4.34 from 18 votes
dal makhani recipe dhaba style
prep time
9 hrs
cook time
50 mins
total time
9 hrs 50 mins
dhaba style dal makhani - a delicious creamy lentil preparation as made in the dhabas.
course: main course
cuisine: north indian, punjabi
servings: 3 to 4
author: dassana amit
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
main ingredients for dal makhani:
  • ¾ cup sabut urad dal (black gram)
  • 3 tablespoons rajma (kidney beans) - optional
  • 1 inch ginger chopped
  • 3 cups water, for pressure cooking
  • 2.5 tablespoon oil OR 3 tablespoon butter
other ingredients for dal makhani:
  • 1 cup water, added later
  • ¼ cup cream, 25% to 35% fat
  • ½ teaspoon punjabi garam masala powder or garam masala powder
  • 1 generous pinch nutmeg powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi leaves (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • salt as required
for dhungar method (optional)
  • 1 small piece of charcoal
  • ½ to ⅓ teaspoon oil
  • 1 outer covering of onion or onion shell
for the red paste:
  • 200 grams tomatoes, chopped OR 2 large tomatoes OR 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 dry kashmiri red chilies
  • cup hot water for soaking dry red chilies
  • 7 to 8 small to medium garlic, chopped OR ½ tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped OR ½ tablespoon roughly chopped ginger
how to make recipe
preparation for dhaba style dal makhani recipe:
  1. rinse and soak the lentils in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.

  2. drain and then add them in a pressure cooker.

  3. add 3 cups water and pressure cook on high or medium flame for 18 to 20 whistles. 

  4. meanwhile, add 2 dry red chilies in hot water. soak the red chilies in ⅓ cup hot water for 15 minutes.

  5. add 2 medium sized chopped tomatoes, dry soaked red chilies, chopped garlic and ginger into the grinder jar.

  6. grind till smooth puree is formed. there is no need to add water while grinding. place this puree aside.

  7. when the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid and check if the lentils are cooked. if they are not cooked then add some more water and pressure cook for some more time. they should be cooked well.

making dal makhani dhaba style recipe:
  1. add 1 cup fresh water, tomato-chili puree, butter or oil, garlic, cream and salt to the cooked lentils in pressure cooker.

  2. stir and mix well.

  3. simmer dal makhani for 30 to 40 minutes on low flame without any lid. keep stirring at intervals. 

  4. mash some lentils with the back of a spoon to thicken the dal.

  5. the lentils should become so soft, that they should melt in your mouth.

  6. check the seasoning and add more salt or red chili powder if required.

  7. simmer dal makhani till you get a creamy smooth consistency like the way you see in the dhabas and restaurants.

  8. then add garam masala powder, nutmeg powder and kasuri methi leaves which have been crushed. mix very well. switch off the flame. 

  9. serve the dal makhani hot plain or topped with some butter or cream along with rotis, naan, paratha or plain or jeera rice.

recipe notes
  1. the consistency of dal makhani can be easily adjusted by adding more or less water.
  2. if in the third stage of cooking the consistency becomes thick, add some water.
  3. if the consistency is thin, then simmer dal makhani for a longer period of time till you get the desired consistency.

how to make dal makhani recipe dhaba style:

1. rinse and soak ¾ cup sabut urad dal (black gram) and ¼ cup rajma (kidney beans) in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.

2. after 8 to 9 hours, drain the water. rinse the lentils very well in fresh water.

3. then add them in a pressure cooker.

4. add 3 cups water.

5. pressure cook on medium or high flame for 18 to 20 whistles.

6. meanwhile, add 2 to 3 dry red chilies in ⅓ cup hot water for 15 minutes.

7. in a grinder jar add 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes, dry red chilies (which had been soaked in previous step), ½ tablespoon chopped garlic and ½ tablespoon roughly chopped ginger.

8. grind till smooth puree is formed. there is no need to add water while grinding. place this puree aside.

9. when the pressure settles down on its own, then remove the lid. check if the lentils are cooked well. if they are not cooked then add some more water and pressure cook for some more time. they should be cooked well.

10. add 1 cup water and ground tomato puree.

11. next add 3 tablespoons butter (or 2.5 tablespoon oil) and salt as required. also add ¼ cup low fat cream.

12. stir and mix well.

13. simmer dal makhani on a low to medium-low flame for 30 to 40 minutes without the lid.

14. if the mixture starts spluttering, then partly cover the cooked with its lid. allow some steam to escape from the sides.

15. the lentils should be completely cooked and mushy. do stir at intervals so that the dal makhani does not get burnt from the bottom. add more water if required.

16. simmer dal makhani till the consistency becomes medium and smooth. mash some lentils with the back of a spoon to thicken the dal. do stir often when the dal is simmering. the lentils should become so soft, that they should melt in your mouth. check the seasoning and add more salt if required.

17. simmer dal makhani till you get a creamy smooth consistency like the way you see in the dhabas and restaurants. then add ½ teaspoon punjabi garam masala powder, 1 generous pinch of nutmeg powder and ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). crush the leaves while adding. mix very well and keep aside.

18. heat a small piece of charcoal on flame till it becomes red hot. with the help of tongs, keep on turning the charcoal so that it evenly burns.

19. place this burning charcoal on a onion shell or a small bowl.

20. drizzle some oil and you will see the charcoal leaving smoke.

21. immediately place this onion shell (or the bowl) in the pressure cooker and keep it covered for a minute.

22. after one minute open the lid. remove the onion shell. stir the dal makhani one last time. serve the dal makhani hot plain or topped with some butter or cream along with rotis or naan or paratha or tandoori rotis or plain rice or jeera rice or ghee rice or plain biryani.

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This post was last modified on June 18, 2018, 7:13 pm

    Categories Dal RecipesFestival RecipesNorth Indian RecipesPunjabi Recipes

View Comments (78)

  • Hi Dasana,

    Can I use slow cooker to cook the dal? If so, do I add anything other than dal and water? Love your site and recipes come out great! Thanks.

    • hi bharti. you can use slow cooker. i have seen some dal makhani recipes being made on slow cooker on the web. though i have never tried making dal makhani in the slow cooker. i guess that you can add everything. its basically slow cooking so all the ingredients can be added. you can check on the internet and you will get some dal makhani recipes made in slow cooker.

    • kavitha, dal makhani should be very well cooked. the whole urad dal should become very soft and this softness gives the dal makhani a creamy and melt in the mouth texture. well cooked dal is easy to digest. if the dal is not cooked well then it can upset the stomach.

  • Hi Dassana, I like ur recepies. I just want to know why did u through the boiled water and again used the fresh water and also no tadka required, isnot it? u have put everything in the boiling dal.

    • to get the best color in the dal makhani, the water is discarded after cooking the beans & lentils. mostly the way dal makhani or dal bukhara is cooked, tadka is never added. everything is added in one simmering pot.

  • Hi Dassana...first of all, I love your site and especially the way you present the entire recipe which includes simplest of details. Also, the way you provide with some additional information going beyond the recipe..appreciate your work..coming to the point on this dal makhani recipe; can we use actual tomatoes instead of puree?! Also, does the cream extremely important to complete this recipe or can we go without it?! Thanks for your reply in advance...continue the good work. Regards, Arun

    • thanks arun. you can add chopped tomatoes. but in this case, i would suggest you to saute the tomatoes in butter/oil first till they soften and become mushy and then add the lentils and other ingredients. cream balances the tang of the tomatoes and contributes more to the already buttery & sweet taste of the beans. but you can avoid the cream. if you slowly simmer the lentils for some extra time like say 30 to 40 mins more, then the dal tastes so good, that you won't need to add cream. but remember to keep on stirring so that the dal does not stick to the bottom of the pan or cooker.

  • I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe - but I don't have a pressure cooker! Any tips for making it using a regular pot?

    • Dear Arun,

      An alternative (and my personally preferred) method of softening the lentils is to use the microwave. Soak the urad dal over night and then microwave on high for 12 minutes, stir, five minutes, stir, five minutes, stir, five minutes. Be sure to pour out most of the water (I only reserve a bit, maybe 1/2 a cup) before microwaving. Comes out perfectly soft and leaves me free to prep the other stuff for this recipe. I also like to add onions, ginger-garlic paste, cumin, yogurt, and a bit of garam masala to this dish for flavor. Stewed on low for an hour makes this dish really pop.

    • soak the lentils and kidney beans overnight. next day rinse them well and then add them to a pot of boiling water. cover partly and cook them till the lentils and beans become soft. then proceed with 7th step of the recipe. if the consistency begins to thicken and then add some hot water. it will take more than an hour for the beans to cook first, before you move to the 7th step.

  • Hi i am.trying dal.makhani first time after reading the recepie .... Hope to enjoy with my family

  • Hi, I am planning to make this recipe. But I do not have a pressure cooker that relies on whistles, instead i have one that is measured by time. About how long does it take for the beans to cook? Thank you :)

    • it does take about 20 minutes on medium to high flame. but the best part of cooking beans is, even if they are not cooked completely, you can cook them further. just add some water if required and then cook. also the consistency of dal makhani can be altered by adding less or more of water.

  • Hi, i am planning to prepare it tomorrow. Just have a quick question though won't cooking d cream will make it cruddle?

  • Hi dassana
    I made this dal makhani today and the taste was very good. I didnt pre-planned to make this so i didnt had the time to soak the lentils & kedney beans for overnight. I soak it in the hot water for 1.5 hr and then started cooking. This was the first dal i was going to cook in my life. I just followed the instructions exactly as u've written. At first step when i pressure cook it upto 12 whistles the dal cover (chilka) became separated from dal because it was fully melted.
    I came worried as i didnt know how it would turn out to as there was 2nd step left with more 12-15 whistles.
    Without carring that much, i go ahead and added 8 crushed garlic, 3 tomato puree, 2tsp refind oil, salt, red chilli powder & fresh cream. As lentils was already fully melted so this time i pressure cook only 1 whistle. Open up and saw that dal was almost done. I simmer it for 4-5 minutes until i got required consistency.

    When i taste it the taste was very good and much much better than i expected. The dal was fully done and melted in mouth. The taste of this dal reminds of my mom & gurudware di dal.

    Few questions, which brand butter did u use? I know u must be using home made butter, i do make it but i finish it off as i lyk very much. The Amul butter which i bought have salt in it. So which supermarket butter is good for regular cooking.

    • thanks gurpal for such a positive feedback. in fact coincidence, but today i also made dal makhani. if the cover if dal separates, then no issues. like as you say the dal should be melt in the mouth. i think since you soaked in hot water, that make the lentils cook faster. what you have done is right. the only thing important in the recipe is that the lentils have to be completely cooked. and the more you cook on a slow flame, the better it is. cooking tomato puree etc does not take much time. slow cooked dal makhani, where the dal is simmered for hours, it tastes very good. you can try this way too when you have enough time. just remember to stir occasionally otherwise the dal would stick at the bottom of the cooker.

      if i have white butter at home, i use that. otherwise i use amul butter. but white butter gives a better taste than amul butter. if using amul butter, the just cut down on the salt. imported varieties of butter are also good, but they are very expensive.

      • Thank you for your quick reply.
        I will try that method too some day. Whenever i wish to cook something i try something new and love sharing the experience. Slowly will learn all recipe from your website. And i feels very good when delicious food makes the taste buds, body & mind happy.
        Btw, i forgot to say...wish you happy new year :)

        • welcome gurpal. its all learning and trying new recipes and cooking methods. even i learn and keep on learning. all the best and wish you happy new year too.

    • may be you have added more water. so you just have to simmer the dal makhani for some more minutes, till the water reduces and gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

  • I have a problem after the first step of cooking, the lentils are cooked , how do I seperate or remove the water and then rinse the lentils , I feel lot of the lentils is going to get washed out in the process of washing. What do i do

    • you will have to use a fine meshed strainer like a juice strainer. add the cooked lentils in the strainer and then rinse them. lentils will not be washed out. as the lentils are just cooked and not yet mushy or softened.

  • Hi Dassana , I made this dal ,wow ,the taste was awesome ! But Could you pl. tell instead of whistles ,how much minutes can I keep the dal in cooker ? Because while preparing I lost the count of whistles

    • thanks neena. first pressure cook for 20 minutes. if the dal and rajma have not softened then cook for further 10 minutes. at times the dal will cook but the rajma will be little hard. so you have to cook till the rajma also softens. you can add water as required.

  • Thanks Dassana for your lovely, mouthwatering recipes. I myself being a Bengali, love trying out various other Indian recipes. Your parantha recipes are a great hit in my home. Also thanks for the pics of the recipes stage wise. Good luck... Hope to learn more from you in the near future....

    • welcome poulomi. thanks for sharing positive feedback on paratha recipes and for your kind words. glad to read your experience.

  • Dear Dassana,
    Thanks a lot for sharing such easy and traditional recipes. So far I have made only a few of your recipes however you can already include me in your fan list.
    your recipe for dal makhani is a hit in our house. There's lot to share with you but can't due to space constraints. The next recipe on my list is punjabi garam masala.
    please keep on posting your lovely recipes and thanks for your quick replies to all of us. 1 more thing thanks to your mil and mum for sharing their traditional secrets with you . Btw I want to give a 5 stat rating but it seems somethings wrong on my system my apologies for the same.

    • welcome gayatri. thanks for sharing this positive feedback. i am humbled. i agree without their help, something would have been missing from the blog. i will convey your regards to them and they will feel good. thanks once again.

  • Dear Dassana,

    I live in Zimbabwean bush and your recipes are an inspiration! I am always looking for new ways to cook with the ingredients available here. I am trying to live a simple and sustainable life here and your recipes mean that we can eat great food full of flavor! thank you Laurie

    • welcome laurie. good to know your noble thoughts. in india we say, simple living and high thinking. i appreciate your way of living.

  • I have earlier also tried your AALU GOBHI - Dhaba style & was cooked really very good. Food is my Life & like to cook varities - I rather we loved the cooking very much - I am so sorry - I forgot to write about that -
    Yesterday I Cooked RAAJMA with your recipe only . . with a very less difference it was same but I really enjoyed your style. Thanks a million.
    Today I am going to make PANEER MAKHHANWALA - IN ADVANCE THANKS as I know that will also be lovely. Previously i was surfing recipes . . .Now only your vegrecipesofindia - sorry now the name as per my wife is vegrecipesforrajesh . . . .
    if you are from Mumbai - call me & try my hand . .you are welcome anyday - anytime . . .**********

    • thanks rajesh for the feedback on the recipes. paneer makhanwala will be good. its a tried and tested recipe. we smiled when we read your wife's name for you. i have deleted your number from the comment for privacy concerns. thanks a lot for your kind gesture. we don't think we will be able to make it to mumbai any time soon, but i am sure whatever you prepare will be really good.

  • hey thanks for such a easy recipe ,I live with my dad and we both are so bored with off season veggies so i decide to made some dal but still i need some variation we usually avoid out side food so i thought why not to try dal makhani at home and bingo i go through your recipe and yes it was superb so yummy even my dad is now so impressed with my cooking soo all thank to u :) keep it up

  • Hi,can I use half chilka urad and half Chilka masoor dal? Instead of whole of the Chilka urad dal?And also can I use the half and half cream in this receipe??


    • thanks. you can make dal makhani without garlic too. if you can get asafoetida/hing, then add it instead of garlic. a generous pinch of asafoetida can be added in the dal.

  • Thanks to u as I was unaware about d diff between mah ki daal n daal makhni. I LL definitely try, I have note down. Thank u

  • Is there a error inthe recipe?°°°check steps 8 to 12.... you are saying add 4 cups of water and paste and then in step 9...wash the lentils and add 4 cups of water....

  • Hello,

    For some time, I have been following your recipes and they always come out very tasty. Simple to follow tooo.

    Thanks a lot and please continue

  • I have always loved your recipes but never commented. Whenever we are travelling I never fail to eat this dal and roti in a dhaba . Have tried making this recipe several times but it's never the dhaba wali dal. thanks to you we could have the exact taste replicated in our kitchen. You are amazing.

    • Thanks Disha for sharing your positive feedback on recipes. Glad to know that you liked the dal makhani recipe.

  • Looks like the recipe came up just for me :) The thought of dal makhni crossed my mind just today and I was so happy to have found it on your blog. I saw u posted it on 18th ! I am totally honest when I say that if u didn't have the recipe, I wouldn't bother to make it by myself. I love your recipes . Each one of them and this is the only blog I look upto when I want to check on some dish. I owe u big time(everything I make these days comes from ur blog) :)
    Lots of love.

    • Thanks a lot Neha for this awesome and touching feedback. Glad to know that I could help you and this is one of your favorite food blog.

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