Dal makhani (restaurant style)

Dal makhani, a very popular dal in Punjab and in North India. Dal makhani is very rich, creamy and buttery with full of flavour and aroma. Every restaurant has its own delicacy of making dal makhani. Dal makhani is very smooth and has a velvety texture, as it is made of black urad dal and rajma with butter and cream. Traditionally this dal is cooked slowly, for hours, on charcoal. When prepared in restaurants, it is cooked slowly on low heat and often has a large amount of cream and butter. To prepare dal makhani, Lentils and beans are soaked overnight for at least 8 hours and gently simmered on low heat along with ginger, garlic and a few other spices (garam masala). These are then combined with an onion and tomato sauce which includes spices.

My dal makhani will give you the restaurant taste, because it is cooked on simmer, slowly for more than 1hr, with cream, butter and spices, which makes the dal creamier, smooth and melts in your mouth quickly. You will get the restaurant taste at home itself. No compromise for the butter and cream in this dal but it’s your choice. You need not cook for 8hours. Cook my way and enjoy the scrumptious, tasty dal makhani from Punjab. Dal makhani when served next day tastes more delicious.

Preparation time: 45 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cuisine: Punjabi

Serves: 4 to 5

Spiciness: Mild


    For boiling

  • Whole black urad dal – 1/2 cup
  • Rajma – 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Ginger (chopped) – 2 tsp
  • For curry

  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Butter – 4 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onion (medium) – 1
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Tomato puree – 1 (bug tomato)
  • Tomato puree (thick, double concentrated) – 4 tbsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger (chopped) – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic (chopped) – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Water – 5 cups
  • Again butter – 40 gms or 4 tbsp
  • Single cream – 100 mls or 1/2 cup
  • For garnishing

  • Butter – as required or 2 tbsp
  • Single cream – as required or 1/3 cup


    Boiling dal and rajma

  • Rinse and soak the lentils in enough water overnight.
  • Drain the whole black urad dal and rajma and then add them in a pressure cooker.
  • Add ginger and Kashmiri chilli powder, add 3 cups water and pressure cook on medium flame for 12-15 whistles or until urad dal and rajma are cooked well.
  • When the pressure settles down, remove the lid.
  • Check whether rajma is cooked or not, as it takes more time than black urad dal, cook for few minutes, until rajma is soft.
  • Keep the cooked urad dal and rajma aside.
  • Cooking curry for the dal makahani

  • For making curry I have used dal store bought tomato puri and also one big fresh tomato, which I have puree it in a mixer. Keep it ready.
  • Heat oil and butter in a kadai (wider vessel), add cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter, add onion and sauté till light golden colour comes.
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic, suate for 10 seconds, add green chillies, fresh tomato puree (homely made) and kashmiri chilli powder sauté on high heat or medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add the thick tomato puree (store bought, thick double concentrated), mix well and sauté for few minutes on medium flame, until it starts leaving oil. It will not take much time.
  • Add water 1cup, boil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes by closing the lid, until it leaves oil, becomes like curry consistency.
  • Add the cooked dal and rajma along with the cooking liquor.
  • Add 2 cups of water, at this stage, garam masala powder 1 tsp, single cream 1/3 cup or 50 mls, butter 20 gms or 1 1/2 tbsp, mix well. Let it boil and then simmer the flame and cook for 45 minutes with the lid closed.
  • After 45 minutes, you can see that good dark and oil has left on top.
  • Mash some lentils with the back of a spoon to thicken the dal, the lentils should become so soft, that they should melt in your mouth.
  • Now after tasting the curry I added, salt, tomato puree 2 tbsp again (store bought, thick double concentrated), garam masala 1/2 tsp, water 2 cups (or as per the consistency required), butter 20 gms or 1 1/2 tbsp, cream 1/3 cup, again simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  • In between stir the dal makhani , by cooking slowly on a low flame, you will get the restaurant or dhabha style dal makhani, smooth, silky, velvety consistency melts in your mouth.
  • You can see the dal colour has changed to darker and the glaze, the oil which has left on top is from cream and butter.
  • Serve the dal makhani topped with some more cream as garnish.
  • I have served dal makhani with rotis or naan, and jeera rice.


  • The tomato puree (store bought) which I have used is double concentrated, thick paste.
  • You can reduce the butter and cream as per your taste.
  • Instead of cream, you can add milk and cook, but the taste will differ.
  • The consistency of dal makhani can be easily adjusted by adding more or less water.
  • If you want your dal makhani to be spicy, can add more green chillies and Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • For the quicker version, just boil the dal and rajma and mix with the onion and tomato curry and just cook for 30minutes, without adding butter and cream, for healthy option.
  • In restaurants while serving dal makhani, they drizzle cream, butter and ginger julinne on top, and serve. You can serve as per your taste.

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