Dal Makhani Recipe Restaurant Style, How to make Dal Makhani

restaurant style punjabi dal makhani recipe - one of the popular indian dal recipe made with whole urad dal and rajma.
4.91 from 116 votes

dal makhani recipe with step by step pics – one of the most popular dal recipe from punjabi cuisine. this dal makhani recipe is restaurant style and tastes awesome. if you love authentic punjabi food then you are going to love this dal makhani even more.

dal makhani recipe restaurant style

dal makhani is always always on our menu whenever we dine outside, which happens very rarely. our choice of restaurant is usually a north indian one, rather than chinese or one with a world cuisine.

tips for making delicious dal makhani

1. use whole spices – i tried many times to get the restaurant taste in the dal makhani i make at home. but it never came close. i remember once having dal makhani (and it was one of the best dal makhani, we have had) in goa. we have had dal makhani at this place many times, at the quiet and serene benaulim beach in goa. surprise, surprise i once found a black cardamom and a clove in the dal makhani. i thought may be its the black cardamom and clove giving that flavor. when we make dal makhani at home, we never add whole spices or whole garam masala. instead we add garam masala powder. thereafter i made dal makhani many times with the whole spices and it does make a difference. but i still felt something was missing.

2. its important to add good amount of cream and butter in dal makhani. when i cracked the dal bukhara recipe, i felt it was the cream and butter making this difference, apart from the slow cooking. i would always add less butter or oil (2 tbsp for 1 to 1.25 cups of lentils) and make dal makhani with no cream or very less cream. you could still make dal makhani with less butter and cream. just remember to slow cook it for longer periods of time, to get the real deal.

3. the more slow cooked dal makhni is, the better it tastes. initially i have cooked the lentils in a pressure cooker for about 30 minutes. but later i have slow cooked on a low flame for 25 minutes.

4. another factor is the smoky charcoal infused aroma in the dal makhani, which we get in restaurants. i tried the dhungar method (charcoal smoking technique) and it worked very well. i myself was surprised when i tasted this dal makhani. exactly like the ones we get in restaurants. the dhungar smoking technique is optional and you can just skip if you cannot get charcoal.

5. lastly don’t forget to soak whole urad dal and rajma overnight, so that they take less time to cook. always use the fresh lentils and not the ones close to their expiry date for best taste and flavor.

dal makhani restaurant style

two more similar dal recipes you can make at times are kaali dal (punjabi maah ki dal) and amritsari dal recipe (langarwali dal).

serve dal makhani with rotis, rice, naan or aloo paratha or aloo kulcha or parathas.

few more tasty recipes for you!

dal makhani

4.91 from 116 votes
Prep Time:8 hrs
Cook Time:1 hr
Total Time:9 hrs
restaurant style punjabi dal makhani recipe - one of the popular indian dal recipe made with whole urad dal and rajma.
dal makhani recipe
Course:main course
Cuisine:punjabi
Servings:4
Calories:325kcal

INGREDIENTS FOR dal makhani

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

main ingredients for dal makhani

  • ¾ cup whole urad dal OR 140 grams whole urad dal
  • ¼ cup rajma OR 40 grams rajma (kidney beans)
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking OR 750 ml water
  • 1 medium onion OR 50 grams onion OR ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 or 2 green chilies - chopped (hari mirch)
  • 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (adrak lahsun ka paste) OR 6 to 7 garlic + 1 inch ginger - crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
  • 2 large tomatoes OR 200 grams tomatoes pureed OR 1 cup tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 to 3 cloves (lavang)
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms (choti elaichi or hari elaichi)
  • 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • 2 to 3 pinches of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg (jaiphal powder)
  • 1 cup of water or add as required
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup low fat cream - 25% to 30% fat
  • ½ tablespoon low fat cream for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 tablespoon butter - salted or unsalted
  • salt as required

for dhungar method: (optional)

  • 1 small piece of charcoal
  • ½ to ⅔ teaspoon oil

HOW TO MAKE dal makhani

preparation for dal makhani

  • soak both 3/4 cup whole urad dal and 1/4 cup rajma/kidney beans overnight in enough water for 8 to 9 hours or overnight. later drain them well.
  • rinse both the lentils a couple of times in water.
  • drain again and then add them in a pressure cooker. add 3 cups water and stir well.
  • pressure cook for 18 to 20 whistles on a high flame, till both the urad dal and rajma have cooked thoroughly and softened. if they are not cooked, then add about 1/2 cup water again and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles more. the urad dal should melt in the mouth and should not give any bite or resistance when eaten. you can also just mash the urad dal with a spoon or with your fingers to check the doneness. the same rule applies for rajma too. keep the cooked beans aside.
  • in a blender or mixer jar, take chopped tomatoes. 2 large tomatoes or 200 grams of tomatoes, chopped.
  • blend to a smooth puree. keep aside. you can also use ready 1 cup tomato puree instead of blending the tomatoes. no need to blanch the tomatoes while pureeing.

making dal makhani

  • in a pan, now heat 3 tbsp butter. you can use salted butter or unsalted butter.
  • add the whole spices - 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 to 3 cloves, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 small to medium tej patta/bay leaf.
  • saute till the spices become aromatic.
  • then add 1/2 cup finely chopped onions.
  • stir and saute the onions on a low flame often till they become light golden.
  • then add 2 tsp ginger garlic paste. stir again and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • add 1 tsp chopped green chilies and stir for a minute.
  • then add the tomato puree and stir again.
  • add 1/2 tsp red chili powder and 2 to 3 pinches of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.
  • stir very well and saute this mixture on a low to medium flame, till you see fat releasing from the sides.
  • then add the cooked urad dal and rajma beans along with the stock. also add 1 cup water or as required.

slow cooking dal makhani

  • stir very well and simmer the dal makhani uncovered on a low flame.
  • keep on stirring often, so that the lentils don't stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • once the dal makhani has begun to thicken, add salt as required.
  • stir very well and continue to simmer on a low flame. when simmering you can add more water if the gravy looks thick or dry. the longer you keep dal makhani to simmer, the better it tastes. i kept dal makhani for about an overall 25 minutes on a low flame. do keep on stirring at intervals.
  • when the gravy has thickened enough, then add 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream. dal makhani is not too thick or too thin. it has a medium consistency.
  • stir the cream very well. then switch off the flame.
  • now add 1/4 tsp kasuri methi, crushed. stir again. cover and keep the dal makhani aside, if you are proceeding to the dhungar method. or else you can serve dal makhni straight away.

dhungar method for dal makhani

  • heat a small piece of charcoal on flame till it becomes red hot. with the help of tongs, keep on turning the charcoal piece so that it evenly burns.
  • keep the red hot charcoal in a small bowl.
  • pour 1/2 teaspoon oil on the charcoal.
  • immediately keep this bowl on top of the dal makhani.
  • cover for a minute and allow the charcoal to infuse its smoke in the dal makhni. i always keep for one minute.
  • serve punjabi dal makhani garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a few teaspoons of cream with naan, tandoori roti, chapatis or steamed rice.

RECIPE TIPS

if cooking the beans in a pot, it may take from 45 minutes to 1 hour.
 
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preparation for dal makhani recipe

1. soak both ¾ cup whole urad dal (whole black gram) and ¼ cup rajma/kidney beans overnight in enough water for 8 to 9 hours. drain them well. here’s a pic of soaked whole urad dal and rajma.

urad dal and rajma

2. rinse the urad lentils and rajma legumes a couple of times in water.

rinse urad dal

3. drain well and then add them in a pressure cooker.

urad dal for dal makhani recipe

4. add 3 cups water and stir well.

water to make dal makhani recipe

5. pressure cook for 18 to 20 whistles on a high flame, till both the whole urad dal and rajma have cooked thoroughly and softened. if they are not cooked, then add about ½ cup water again and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles more. the urad dal should melt in the mouth and should not give any bite or resistance when eaten. you can also just mash the urad dal with a spoon or with your fingers to check the doneness. the same rule applies for rajma too. keep the cooked beans aside. both the urad dal and rajma beans have to be fresh. if they are old or close to their expiry, they take a lot of time to cook.

cooking urad dal for dal makhani recipe

6. here’s both the rajma and urad dal cooked and softened.

cooked urad dal

7. in a blender or mixer jar, take chopped tomatoes. 2 large tomatoes or 200 grams of tomatoes, chopped. no need to blanch the tomatoes.

tomatoes for dal makhani recipe

8. blend to a smooth puree. keep aside. you can also use store brought 1 cup tomato puree instead of blending the tomatoes.

puree for dal makhani recipe

making dal makhni

9. in a pan, now heat 3 tbsp butter. you can use salted butter or unsalted butter.

melt butter for dal makhani

10. add the whole spices – ½ tsp cumin seeds, 2 to 3 cloves, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 small to medium tej patta/indian bay leaf. saute till the spices become aromatic.

spices for dal makhani recipe

11. then add ½ cup finely chopped onions.

onions for dal makhani recipe

12. stir and saute the onions on a low flame often.

sauting onions for dal makhani recipe

13. saute the onions till they become light golden.

sauting onions for dal makhani recipe

14. then add 2 tsp ginger garlic paste. stir again and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

add ginger paste - making dal makhani recipe

15. add 1 tsp chopped green chilies and stir for a minute.

making dal makhani masala

16. then add the tomato puree.

add puree to make dal makhani

17. stir again.

sauting to make dal makhani recipe

18. add ½ tsp red chili powder.

making dal makhani recipe

19. then add about 2 to 3 pinches of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.

nutmeg for dal makhani recipe

20. stir very well and saute this mixture on a low to medium flame, till you see fat releasing from the sides. about 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame.

sauting dal makhani masala

21. then add the cooked urad dal and rajma beans.

add urad dal

22. add the remaining stock. add 1 cup water or more if required.

add water to dal makhani

slow cooking dal makhani

23. stir very well and simmer the dal makhani uncovered on a low flame.

simmer dal makhani recipe

24. keep on stirring often, so that the lentils don’t get stuck to the bottom of the pan. the lentils become viscous and start to stick at the bottom if not stirred. mash a few lentils too while stirring.

simmer dal makhani recipe

25. once the dal makhani has begun to thicken, add salt as required.

salt for dal makhani recipe

26. stir very well and continue to simmer on a low flame. when simmering you can add more water if the gravy looks thick or dry. the longer you keep dal makhni to simmer, the better it tastes. the lentils become creamy, viscous and the consistency of the dal will keep on thickening as you simmer. i kept for about an overall 25 minutes on a low flame. do keep on stirring at intervals.

simmer dal makhani recipe

27. when the gravy has thickened enough, then add ¼ to 1/3 cup cream. punjabi dal makhni is not too thick or too thin. it has a medium consistency with a viscosity coming from the thoroughly cooked lentils.

cream for dal makhani recipe

28. stir the cream very well. then switch off the flame.

simmer dal makhani recipe

29. now add ¼ tsp kasuri methi, crushed. stir again. cover and keep the dal makhani aside, if you are proceeding to the dhungar method. or else you can serve punjabi dal makhani straight away.

making dal makhani recipe

optional – dhungar method for dal makhani

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

dhungar for dal makhani recipe

31. keep the red hot charcoal in a small bowl.

dhungar for dal makhani recipe

32. pour ½ to ⅔ tsp oil on the charcoal. the hot piece of charcoal would begin to smoke as soon as you pour oil on it.

dhungar for dal makhani recipe

33. immediately keep this bowl on top of the dal makhani.

dhungar for dal makhani recipe

34. cover with a lid tightly for one minute and allow the charcoal to infuse its smoke in the dal makhani. i usually keep for one minute.

cooking dal makhani recipe

35. serve punjabi dal makhani garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a few teaspoons of cream with naan, tandoori roti, parathas, kulcha, phulkas or aloo paratha or steamed rice.

dal makhani restaurant style recipe


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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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415 comments/reviews

  1. Hello Mam, Your site is awsome for a person like me who is new to cooking… The added advantage is the pictures… Really helpful… Thanks a lot and keep up the good work…

  2. Thank you for creating this wonderful blog. Can’t appreciate enough for such detailed tried & tested recipes, also for step by step photo instructions & every little personal touch of yours in every recipe you post.
    I have made many of your recipes, but never left a comment for this great help you do for many people like me. Sorry for my procrastination & thank you too!!!

    • thanks deepta for this genuine feedback. no need to feel sorry. it does help me when i get feedback from readers, but even if some readers are unable to comment or share their feedback, it is alright. thanks again and happy cooking.

  3. Every recipe I’ve tried thus far has been amazing! I am especially happy you take the time for step by step pics…it really helps us rookie chefs 😉. I’m truly grateful for your blog…its saved me many times. Looking forward to many more meals! Thanks Dassana for all the dedication!

  4. I am so grateful to you for teaching me how to cook. When I moved to US, I was so bad at cooking that my house-mates had to have an intervention. I did improve after that but my food was average and often un-reliable. It was only after I chanced upon your blog that my entire cooking style and confidence changed. I also learnt about the nuances and differences between recipes which I had never bothered to know about (i.e. why myriad of paneer recipes cooked using the same ingredients are called differently, or different recipes for chole, etc.).
    Now I can say that I cook as good as my mom!! And I have learnt most of it from your blog!!

    • thanks you much dhaval. i am so glad that and i feel good also that the recipes on blog are helping folks who want to cook good indian food. comments like yours are also encouraging. thanks again and wish you all the best.

  5. This is the best dal makhni recipe I’ ve ever tried. Every time I make it, it turns out really tasty. I just do it with a little more butter. 😉
    Btw you look so cute. 🤗

  6. Dear Dassana Amit,
    All the recipes that I have tried from your blog, has turned out tasty. We can see the passion in the way it’s put up in the blog. Tried and tested recipes…I recommend this blog for everyone 😊

    • you can add salt before. generally salt is added later in dals, lentils and legumes so that they cook well. its said that if added earlier, then the lentils don’t soften and become mushy. but i have seen whether salt is added first or later, the lentils do get cooked well when pressure cooked. could be when cooking in a pan, they must be not cooking well if salt is added earlier.

  7. Two questions:
    1) In step 22, what is the “stock” you refer to? (…add the remaining stock…)
    2) I bought Urid Dal (“black gram split, husked”). It’s not black in color – should it be ok in this recipe?
    Thanks.

    • the stock i refer to is the liquid in which the beans were cooked initially. the black gram has to have the black husks on the. with the husked white black gram, do not make dal makhani. the texture as well as the taste will be different. instead you can use it to make south indian snacks like idli, dosa and medu vada. you can check this collection of 33 black gram dal recipes to get an idea – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/urad-dal-recipes/

      • Hello. I live in Goa. Wanted to know exactly where did you have that Daal makhani at Benaulim Beach? I will be visiting that beach this weekend, and want to try the daal makhani you had.

      • it was johncy restaurant at benaulim beach. their food used to be good. occasionally we would visit some of the restaurants in colva and benaulim. now i no longer stay in goa, but i saw the ratings and i believe it must be good now too.

  8. *Love* this recipe, it’s near perfect.

    I recently talked with the punjabi restaurant owner who makes my favorite dal makhani about it – Like Dassanna he emphasized that a long, slow simmer is key for the best flavor. He also gave me a great tip when I mentioned using heavy whipping cream (the most commonly available cream in the U.S.) – because of the higher fat content, you need much less of it. Since then, I’ve tried halving the cream (I make double batch and use only 1/4 cup) and it comes out perfectly. With too much cream, the flavor of the spices is muted and the dish is much less flavorful.

    A few notes for Americans who might try this recipe:
    – “Black lentils” from Whole Foods are (I think??) equivalent to urad dal and are much fresher than you usually find in indian sections in the U.S. from brands like Swad. The flavor of lentils is subtle but important for a good dal dish, in this recipe fresher makes a big difference
    – This recipe works great with an electric pressure cooker (aka insta-pot or instant pot) – The dal cooks perfectly in 11 minutes at high pressure. You can then add what you cook on the stovetop (step 21) into the pressure cooker in slow-cook mode on High for a long simmer.
    – As noted above, unless you can find “light cream,” go a little easy at first on the cream (you can always add more) so as not to mute the flavor. It should function to bring together all of the flavors rather than be a flavor on its own

    • thank you michael. its great to ready your detailed suggestions and tips. i am sure it will help all readers. i agree on the heavy whipping cream that it does mute the flavor of spices. thanks again and happy cooking 🙂

  9. This recipe has saved my life 🙂 I’ve been dying to make a good dal makhani and have never made it before and I don’t have anyone I could ask to share a good recipe as well. This has been a life saviour as it turned out perfect the first time (and I didn’t event measure everything exactly). Will continue to make it for many more times to come I’m sure. Really, thank you for sharing this Miss Dassana and keep up the good work with this blog!

  10. Awesome blog….loved every recipe…great job…keep doing good….we ll keep loving you…all the best…

  11. Hello !!
    I literally had a “Veg Recipes of India” dinner for my friends this weekend.
    I made your Dal Makhani, Tawa Paneer and the Creamy Corn Soup !
    Everything was excellent.
    I got tons of praises.
    Your recipes are precise and simple to follow. And of course the pictorial steps make life so much easier.
    Please keep up the fantastic work.
    – A delighted fan

  12. Love your style of cooking !! I am a big foodie plus I love cooking – I have tried and followed lot of bloggers, big chefs and their recipes… but the dal makhani either was very creamy or had a strong Taste of spice. But your recipe is just perfect – the coal thing just brings up the flavour !! Thanks for sharing !!!

  13. Where is your feet????? where is it? where where

    I’m a movie buff! I’m sure you could figure that out 🙂

    I never cook but today i did
    Oh god….it turned out sooooooooooooooooo welll… allll thanks to you

    Thank you … 🙂

  14. Hi,
    I’ve been living in India for a year and I’m desperately trying to reproduce the taste of India. Everything I found in North America or Europe is never spicy enougth.

    Is this receipe adapted to North America/Europe ? Should I double (tripple ?) the spices to try get closser to the Indian version ?

    Thanks

    • nicolas, this recipe is not adapted to north america or european standards. none of the indian recipes on the website are adapted to north american and european tastes. there is no need to double or triple the spices. doubling or tripling them will give too much aroma of the spices and will unbalance the flavors as well as aroma in the dish.

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