Punjabi Dal Makhani
Traditional indian lentils flavored stew

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Punjabi Dal Makhani

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Adjust Servings:
1½ cups of Urad dal lentils If you cant find Urad dal lentils you can use the Beluga lentils as well
2 tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp Cumin seeds
1 finely cut Onions
2 tbsp grated Ginger
3 cloves crushed Garlic
1 medium-big cubed Tomatoes
3 tbsp Tomato paste
1 tbsp Ground Cumin
1 tbsp Garam masala
2-3 cups water
2 tbsp Cashew paste
2 tbsp Butter for vegan version pls ignore the butter and add 1 more tbsp of cashew paste
1 tsp Salt
3 tbsp chopped and some more for garnish coriander
for serving
1 tsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Cream cheese creme fraiche can be use as well

Nutritional information

Serving size
Total Fat
Saturated fat

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  • Gluten Free
  • Vegeterian
  • 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Serves 6
  • Easy


  • for serving



Everyone who’s ever been to India knows that dal makhani is one of the foundations of the Indian kitchen.

Dal has many variations depends on the region and the family tradition however the base of the dal is the same, it is a thick chewy lentils stew.

What is Dal Makhani?

The Dal Makhani I will be making here today is from the Punjab area and made similar throughout northern India.

The traditional dal is cooked for hours until the lentils melt and give the dish creamy texture, it is possible to make dal in 1 hour as well since cooking for hours is not a part of a spontaneous dinner.

Nevertheless, long cooked or not, it’s a great lentils stew, I will make up for the long cooking time with creamy texture that comes from cashew nuts cream and butter to make the dish a bit more soft and creamy, it really works.

Making the Dal Makhani

It is not a difficult dish to make, we cook the lentils in advance in order to get them nice and tender to save time and keep it a side.

We start the dish with opening the spices, in this dal it’s the cumin seeds, it’s essential that they will open up their flavors but beware of burning them, they will become bitter, it’s a fine line.

Dal Makhani

The heart of every Indian dish is extracting the juices of the spices and vegetables out, this will affect the entire taste of the dish.

We see the flavors of the spices oozing out from the dish when the oils of the spices are extracted out, this is the exact moment to add the water.

Dal Makhani

Variation in Dal Makhani

There are different spices and flavors depends on the region the dal is made at. In some dal recipes, usually in the south, we can see coconut milk added in addition to the water, this will give the dish a creamier feel and tropical beach flavors.

The amount of butter is really up to you, I like to keep it simple, with one tablespoon of butter but in some recipes the quantity is higher.

You can also add double cream in order to make this dish really creamy and heavy, having it smooth and with a milder taste.

Dal is often served with rice, Naan or Roti, it is a great nutritional dish, full of flavors and comforting in taste which you can take to every direction you want.

Dal Makhani


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40 minutes

cooking the lentiles

Soak the lentils in 4 cups of water overnight.
Rinse the lentils a few times in cold water and cook for 40 minutes until soft.
Strain from the cooking water and keep aside.

40 minutes

cooking the Dal

In a large saucepan over high-medium heat, add the coconut oil and cumin seeds.
Cook the cumin seeds for about a minute, make sure they are not burning.
Add the Ginger and Garlic and cook for 1 minute, throw in the onion and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the Tomato cubes, tomato paste, cumin powder and garam masala and cook for 5-7 minutes. We are waiting for the spices to sweat out all their oils, this is the indication that we can move on to the next step.
Pour the water and cook for about 2-3 more minutes until the sauce is simmering.
Reduce heat to low, add the lentils and cook for 10 more minutes.
Season with salt, add the cashew paste and cook for 30 more minutes on low heat.

20 minutes

Finishing the Dal Makhani

Add in the butter and and the chopped coriander and cook on low heat for another 20 minutes

5 minutes


Remove the Dal Makhani from heat.
Pour into a medium bowl, add cream cheese and coriander and sprinkle with olive oil.
Dal is best served with Basmati rice,
Naan or roti.


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