Vegetarian Creamy, Buttery Dal Makhani

This recipe comes from and is a popular dish that’s cooked during Diwali and originates from the Punjab region. Dal refers to lentils and makhan refers to butter. Dal makhani means lentils cooked with butter. It is cooked slowly creating a thick, creamy, buttery dish. You can serve it basmati rice or naan with some onion and cucumber wedges. It takes about 4 hours to make so leave yourself some time. This recipe comes from Indian Healthy Recipes. Check out their site for more spicy, tasty, healthy each with great step-by-step photos.


  • ½ cup whole black lentil / sabut urad dal
  • ¼ cup rajma / red kidney beans (can reduce to 3 tbsps)
  • 2.5 cups water for pressure cooking
  • 1 small black cardamom/ badi elaichi
  • 1 small bay leaf/ tej patta
  • ¼ to ½ tsp turmeric powder/ haldi
  • Salt as needed
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cumin / jeera
  • ⅛ tsp hing / asafoetida
  • 1 medium fine chopped onion
  • 2 medium fine chopped tomato deseeded
  • ¾ tsp ginger finely chopped or grated / adrak
  • ¾ tsp finely chopped or 3 to 4 garlic cloves / lehsun
  • 1 green chilies slit optional / hari mirch
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder / daniya powder
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups water to add later (half cup each time while simmering)
  • 2 tbsp cream
For garnish
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves / daniya patta
  • 1 tbsps butter or 1 tbsp cream


Wash lentils and kidney beans together several times and soak overnight or at least for 4 to 5 hours.

Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.

Pressure cook with 2.5 cups of water, cardamom and bay leaf for 4 to 5 whistles on a medium heat or for 25 to 30 minutes if cooking in a pot.

Add cumin to heavy bottom pan.

Heat a heavy bottom pan with butter or oil. Add cumin and allow to crackle. Add hing and ginger, garlic and saute until aromatic. Add onions and fry until they turn golden. Add tomatoes, green chilli, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn mushy.

Adding garam masala.

Add garam masala, coriander powder. Saute well again for 1 to 2 mins. Pour the cooked lentils along with the stock.

Stir and cook for about 2 hours stirring often in between to prevent burning the bottom. You will need to add half cup water when ever the dal thickens. You may need to add about 1.5 to 2 cups water more as and when needed.
You will be left with thick creamy dal. Add cream and stir. Cook for another 5 to 7 mins.
Add chopped coriander and ginger juliennes for garnish. You can also garnish with butter or cream.
Serve dal makhani with naan, plain rice, roti or jeera rice.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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