Daal Makhani

There are so many different lentils in India that make various kinds of daal. Every region in India has its own kind of lentil or daal that they make using different spices . Some make it creamy with coconut milk, and some make it creamy with heavy cream . Growing up, my favorite daal was and still IS the Gujarati Daal. It is made with pigeon peas or toor daal. I love how it touches all the tastes such as sweet, salty, spicy, sour, slightly bitter with all that goes into this daal. My next favorite daal has to be Daal Makhani, which is made with whole black gram lentils and red kidney beans. It originates from Punjab, which is a state located in the northern part of India, and is one of the more popular daals in the country. Makhani originates from the Indian word Makhan which means butter or cream.  This daal is extremely delicious, hearty and with a touch of cream it makes it luxurious !

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Daal makhani was a favorite in our home, and I loved how my mom made it. She did not put too much cream and yet it always tasted sooo good!  We generally ate it with rotis and simple plain rice to go with it. Ofcourse you need raw onions to eat along with it too 🙂 With Indian food, I generally do not measure, because I have been cooking it for years, and It is out of practice that it just turns out really good!  I generally eyeball amounts for all the ingredients, and make the dish, and 98% of the time, it turns out delicious! When I have to develop the recipe for a brand, I have to make it a few times to measure out the ingredients properly, and make sure that I am adding the right amounts, so that even if a novice makes it, it will turn out good!


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So to go with the daal makhani, I made butter garlic naan too ! Out of all the naans out there, be it cheese naan, or potato naan, or onion naan or garlic naan, my favorite has to be garlic naan! Garlic is seriously one my favorite aromatics and I love adding it in any savory meal! The kids thoroughly enjoyed this meal and ate it without any fuss, and asked for seconds too!


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The daal is pretty simple to make. The dry powdered spices are limited to red chilli powder and garam masala. There are whole spices like cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves in it to give it an oomph in the flavor. The wet spices include a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies. The daal is basically a mixture of the boiled lentils, along with the wet spices, tomato paste, whole spices, and dry powdered spices, some heavy cream and cilantro! If you break it down into these categories, it makes the daal really simple to understand and make. It goes well with plain rice as well, and there is no need to make the naan for a quick meal.

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One thing to know about daals is, that the flavor gets better the next day, since the lentils soak up all the spice flavors! If you do make this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab and/or leave a comment on this blog post.


Until next time!




Daal Makhani


  • Daal Makhani:
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup black urad daal ( Also called as black gram lentil )
  • ½ cup rajma (red kidney beans)
  • 6-8 cups of water (it should cover the beans in the pressure cooker or pot by 1 inch above the level of the beans)
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • A pinch of asafoetida (optional
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (leave about 1 tbsp out for drizzle in the end)
  • Wet spices:
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • Whole spices:
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon broken into 2-3 pieces
  • 2 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dry powdered spices:
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • Garnish:
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 inch ginger cut into thin slivers


  1. Daal Makhani:
  2. In a medium bowl, add in the black gram and red kidney beans with 4 cups of water, and let it soak overnight or for 8 hours.
  3. In a pressure cooker, on medium to high heat, add in the lentils along with the water. Add one more cup to cover the lentils completely. Add in a tsp of salt. Cover and let it whistle atleast 6 to 7 times. Let it cool in the pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook it in a large saucepan covered on medium heat and let it cook for 45 minutes to an hour. The water may reduce faster when boiling the lentils in this method. Add more water to make sure that the lentils are always covered. The lentil should be soft to the touch and should be completed smashed between your index finger and thumb on a light touch.
  4. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies into a paste in a chopper/grinder.
  5. In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add in the ghee. Now add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom pods, bay leaves and saute for 30 seconds. Add in the ginger-garlic-green chilly paste, and saute for another minute. Add in the tomato paste and saute for another minute to form a paste mixture. Add in the garam masala, remaining ½ tsp of salt(more If required) and red chilli powder and mix well. Add in the boiled lentils, along with all the water and mix. Add in the dried fenugreek leaves and stir. Let the daal cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to make sure that the daal does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the heavy cream halfway through the 25 minutes. Add 1 cup water if you see the daal is looking too thick.
  6. Once the daal is done, garnish with the cilantro, drizzle of 1 tbsp heavy cream, ginger slivers on the top. The daal is ready to eat with naan, roti, or simply plain rice!
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