Dal Makhani Recipe

Dal Makhani– North Indian slow-cooked creamy and tangy dal made with urad dal, tomatoes, butter and cream.

I think I’ve mentioned quite a few times how much I love my work. I really feel I am at a stage in life where I’m doing exactly the kind of work I wanted to do and living the life I always wanted (touchwood!). Today I want to reveal a little about the work that I do and write about my recent work. My research paper on human rights violations in the India-US sandstone supply chain was published recently. We traced the supply chain and all the actors involved from the stage of sandstone mining in India to retailers in the U.S who sell them. And we also analyzed the supply chain that is marred with several human rights violations and environmental harm. I spent 8-9 months working on that project, wherein I frequently visited the remotest areas of Rajasthan for field work.

Apart from my learnings on the subject (which was very rich and fulfilling- but I won’t talk about that here), I came back overwhelmed and humbled by the lives people lead around us. And how oblivious we are to that world around us. And that includes me, someone who has sent some years working in the development sector.

Despite reading and speaking to professionals from the development world, each time I go for a field visit, I experience a world that I feel is so far removed from my imagination. How much they are like me and yet lead such difficult and different lives.

I’ve often wondered if I will ever truly understand what is to have a life like that. No matter how much I read and write about it or interact with them, they will always remain “them” for me. That distance between ‘me’ and ‘them’ seems too distant to me at this point to bridge. This is a thought that I keep getting frequently. For instance, during the mass migration that took place after Covid-19 hit the cities of India, I kept pondering if I can imagine what it’s like to not have a home or job, money to feed your children, and walk hundreds of kilometers carrying your entire world in your arms just for survival. No, I can’t! Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to do that.

But but, there is an associated thought to this. Just because I know that there is a gap which prevents me to understand them and really step into their shoes and empathize, how do I really view them as equals. The answer is simple and that’s because they are equals. It is just because of that fraction of a luck that I was born with resources to be able to afford the life I have. I consciously remind myself of this when I am dealing with people. That they might have to lead a life deprived of necessities, but they don’t have to be deprived of respect!

I’ll write more about my experience from the Rajasthan field work in my subsequent posts. For now, enjoy the recipe of this dal makhani.

Recipe Notes:

Moving on to the recipe:

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian (Mughlai)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 8-10


For Dal

  • 1 cup Sabut Urad Dal (whole black gram)
  • 1/4th cup Rajma
  • 1 tsp desi ghee
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Green chillies (slit)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg powder

For the tadka/ masala:

  • 5 large tomatoes (pureed)
  • ¼ cup readymade tomato puree (optional, for color)
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1 tsp regular chilly powder
  • 1-2 tsp kasuri methi
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup cream (slightly beaten)
  • Salt to taste
  • Dhania leaves, green chillies and cream to garnish
  • Pinch of garam masala

For the second tadka

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tbsp chopped garlic



  1. Wash and soak urad dal and rajma in 5-6 cups of water overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.

For boiling the dal:

  1. Add salt, desi ghee, nutmeg powder and green chilly to soaked dal.
  2. Put the dal in pressure cooker and keep on heat.
  3. After 6-7 whistles on high flame, keep the dal on slow flame for about 45 minutes-1 hour.
  4. After the pressure drops, open the pressure cooker and slightly mash the hot dal.
  5. Keep the dal again on heat.
  6. Cook till it thickens, add milk and cook for another few minutes.

Cooking/ Tadka:

  1. In a pan, heat ghee or butter, add ginger-garlic paste

9. Stir briefly and add chilli powder, roasted cumin powder along with tomato puree, salt and tomato ketchup.

10. Cook till oil separates. If puree is not cooked well, mixture curdles.

12. Add kasuri methi and mix everything.

13. Cook on low flame till everything is blended well, stirring and mashing the dal occasionally.

14. Add butter, milk, garam masala and cream.

15. Mix well and remove from heat.

For second tadka:

16. Before serving, in a separate pan, heat butter (do not let it burn) and brown garlic. Add it to the dal.

17. Serve hot garnished with green chillies, dhania leaves and swirls of cream.

Thank you for reading !!