Deliciously Creamy: The Best Dal Makhani Recipe

Welcome to another delicious blog post! Today, we are going to talk about one of our favorite Indian dishes, Dal Makhani. It is a creamy, rich, and flavorful lentil dish that is loved by almost everyone who tries it. The dish is often made with black lentils (urad dal) and kidney beans (rajma) cooked in a buttery tomato-based sauce. It is typically served with steamed rice or naan bread, making it the perfect comfort food.

Deliciously Creamy: The Best Dal Makhani Recipe

If you are a fan of Indian cuisine, you have probably tried Dal Makhani at a local Indian restaurant. While it is definitely worth indulging in at your favorite restaurant, it is equally simple and satisfying to make at home. Plus, by making this dish from scratch, you can control the spice level and other ingredients to your liking. So, whether you are looking for a hearty vegetarian option or just want to switch up your dinner routine, this Dal Makhani recipe is a must-try!

The Origin of Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani, also known as Maa Ki Dal, is a popular Punjabi dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is a mixture of urad dal and kidney beans, cooked with fresh cream, butter, and a blend of aromatic spices. The dish is believed to have originated from the Punjab region, which spreads across both Pakistan and India. Despite its humble origins as a peasant dish, Dal Makhani has become one of the most beloved and iconic Indian dishes.

The Story Behind the Dish

According to legend, the dish was first created by a restaurant in Delhi. The owner of the restaurant started serving the humble dal dish with a generous portion of butter, which ended up becoming a hit with the customers. The dish quickly gained popularity and became a staple in the North Indian culinary scene, especially in the Punjab region. Although the popularity of the dish is relatively recent, the history behind the ingredients dates back centuries.

The Ingredients

One of the unique ingredients used in Dal Makhani is urad dal, also known as black lentils. Urad dal is native to the Indian subcontinent and has been used for centuries in Indian cuisine. Along with urad dal, kidney beans are also an essential component of the recipe. Both these ingredients pack a high nutritional punch and are loaded with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. In addition, the dish uses a combination of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, and garam masala to add depth and complexity to the flavor.

Another key ingredient that sets Dal Makhani apart from other dal preparations is the use of fresh cream and butter. These ingredients add a rich, creamy texture to the dish and balance out the spices, which can be quite potent on their own. With a combination of these ingredients, the slow-cooked dal dish develops a delicious deep flavor that is hard to resist.

The Cultural Significance

While the dish’s history may not be that long, it’s cultural significance in Indian society is beyond measure. Dal Makhani has become a staple dish in North Indian cuisine and is one of the most popular dishes in any Indian restaurant worldwide. The dish can be found in the kitchens of both traditional households and modern restaurants alike.

Besides being a delicious and nutritious meal, Dal Makhani holds a place of importance in Indian culture and society. The dish is closely tied to Indian festivals and celebrations such as Diwali, Holi, and weddings. In addition, the dish has become a symbol of regional pride and identity for Punjabis, as it reflects the rich culinary heritage of the state. Therefore, it is essential to understand the cultural and social significance of the dish while enjoying its deliciousness.

In conclusion, Dal Makhani is a classic North Indian dish with a rich history spanning hundreds of years. It’s a great comfort food, enjoyed by people from all walks of life, across different cultures and societies. With its rich, creamy texture, complex yet subtle flavors, and the nutritional benefits of the ingredients, it continues to be one of the most beloved Indian dishes worldwide.

How to Make the Best Dal Makhani Recipe at Home

Dal Makhani is a popular Punjabi dish known for its rich and creamy taste. It is made with black lentils, kidney beans, cream, butter, and a blend of aromatic spices. With this step-by-step guide, you can make delicious Dal Makhani at home in no time.

Step-by-Step Recipe


  • 1 cup black lentils (also known as sabut urad dal)
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans (also known as rajma)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water


  1. Soak the black lentils and kidney beans together in a bowl of water overnight.
  2. Drain the soaked lentils and beans and pressure cook with 4 cups of water, salt, and turmeric powder for 8-10 whistles or until they are soft and well-cooked.
  3. Mash the lentils and beans lightly using a potato masher or spoon.
  4. In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add chopped onions and green chilies. Cook until onions turn golden brown.
  5. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
  7. Add red chili powder, garam masala powder and mix well.
  8. Add the mashed lentils and beans to the pan and mix everything well. Cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
  9. Add cream and butter. Mix everything well and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the dal becomes thick and creamy.
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or naan.


  • You can adjust the consistency of the dal by adding more or less water.
  • You can also add more cream or butter for a richer taste.
  • If you like a spicier taste, you can add more green chilies or red chili powder.

Variations and Modifications

You can modify the recipe to suit your taste and preferences. Here are some variations:

  • Add vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, or mushrooms to make it healthier.
  • Add paneer (Indian cottage cheese) for a vegetarian version of the dish.
  • Add chicken, lamb, or shrimp for a non-vegetarian version of the dish.
  • Substitute cream with coconut milk for a dairy-free version.

Serving Suggestions

Dal Makhani tastes best when served hot with rice or naan. Here are some suggestions for pairing this delicious dish with other Indian dishes:

  • Pair it with biryani or pulao for a hearty meal.
  • Pair it with tandoori chicken or kebab for a delicious combination of meat and lentils.
  • Pair it with samosas or pakoras for a vegetarian appetizer platter.

You can also serve it as a standalone meal with some salad or raita on the side.

Dal Makhani is a simple yet flavorful dish that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. Try making this delicious dish at home and impress your friends and family!

The Health Benefits of Dal Makhani

A Nutritious Dish

Dal Makhani is not only a delicious dish but a nutritious one as well. Made with lentils, kidney beans, and spices, it is rich in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Lentils and kidney beans are high in protein, making them an excellent source of amino acids. Protein is essential for repairing and building tissues, as well as supporting healthy immune and nervous systems. Additionally, lentils and kidney beans are high in fiber. Fiber is necessary for maintaining a healthy digestive system, promoting regular bowel movement, and reducing the risk of various ailments, including heart disease and diabetes.

Diabetes-Friendly Recipe

Dal Makhani is a great option for people with diabetes. Its low glycemic index means that it does not cause a sudden surge in blood sugar levels. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that get digested slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes. Furthermore, this dish contains healthy fats and proteins and is relatively low in calories, making it an ideal choice for a healthy and balanced meal.

Other Health Benefits

Dal Makhani is not only nutritious and diabetes-friendly, but it also offers several other health benefits. The variety of spices used in this dish can help improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices. Ginger, cumin, and turmeric used in the recipe have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and promote heart health by lowering cholesterol levels.

Moreover, the lentils and beans used in this dish are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which are important for maintaining bone health. Lentils, in particular, are high in iron, crucial for preventing anemia and keeping energy levels up.

Overall, Dal Makhani is a great recipe to add to your cooking routine. It is nutritious, diabetes-friendly, and offers several other health benefits that make it an excellent choice for a wholesome meal.

Happy Cooking!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found our recipe for deliciously creamy Dal Makhani helpful. Give it a try and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. Don’t be afraid to play around with the spices and adjust to your taste. Remember, cooking is an art and you are the artist.

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you and keep improving our content. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again soon for more exciting recipes.


1. What dal is used in dal makhani?

The traditional dal used in dal makhani is whole black lentils (urad dal) mixed with kidney beans (rajma).

2. Do I have to soak the lentils and beans beforehand?

It’s recommended to soak the lentils and beans overnight for faster cooking and better digestion.

3. Can I use canned beans instead?

Yes, you can use canned beans instead of soaking and boiling them. Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the recipe.

4. Can I skip the butter and cream?

Yes, you can make a healthier version of dal makhani by skipping the butter and cream. Use olive oil instead and add a splash of milk or coconut cream.

5. How long does it take to cook dal makhani?

It takes around 1-2 hours to cook dal makhani on stovetop. You can also use a pressure cooker to save time.

6. How do I know when the dal is cooked?

The dal should be soft and creamy but still hold its shape. You can check by pressing a lentil between your fingers.

7. Can I freeze dal makhani?

Yes, you can freeze dal makhani for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw and reheat on stovetop or microwave.

8. What do I serve with dal makhani?

Dal makhani is traditionally served with naan bread, rice, or roti. You can also pair it with a side of raita (yogurt dip) or salad.

9. Can I add other vegetables to dal makhani?

Yes, you can add vegetables like spinach, carrots, or bell peppers to dal makhani for extra nutrition and flavor.

10. What are some variations of dal makhani?

Some variations of dal makhani include adding different spices like garam masala or cumin, using different types of lentils or beans, or adding meat like chicken or lamb.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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