Punjabi Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is one of the most popular Punjabi recipe. It is not only popular in North India, but also in South India.  It is called Dal Makhani as it is made with dal (whole black beans) and red kidney beans topped with heavy cream and clarified butter (desi ghee).  This dish is rich in calories, so if you are working on the diet, then you can ignore the heavy cream completely.

For some unknown reasons, Dal Makhani tastes even better on the second day.  It goes well with rotis, rice or naan.

I remember we tried Dal Makhani at an Indian restaurant in Boston.  The dish was for $45 and Rupinder was shocked.  He later said that for this price, he can feed around 100 people and he was right.  Check it for yourself!  Next time, you won’t be ordering this dish but making it at home (and it’ll be much, much better).

This Dal Makhani is the simplest and the easiest version and it is my father-in-law’s recipe. This is a one-pot method where all the ingredients are thrown in and then cooked together in a pressure cooker.  However, a pot can also be used but the cook time will be much longer.

Preparing dal on the countertop before it hits the stove!



  • Kidney Beans (Rajma): 1 cup
  • Whole black bean (Urad dal): 2 cups
  • 1 large green chili
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree (optional as it gives some extra color)
  • Small piece of ginger (or 1 tablespoon ginger paste)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
  • 11 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 spoon desi ghee (clarified butter)
  • Heavy cream (2 tablespoons) – optional


Wash and soak Rajma (kidney beans) in water for overnight.

  1. In a blender, put the onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, tomato and make a paste.
  2. Wash the dal and kidney beans and put them in a pressure cooker along with the onion, ginger paste.
  3. Add salt (to taste), red chilly powder, and coriander powder.  Add in 11 cups of water and close the cooker.  (You can do the same in a regular pot but keep it checking off and on.)
  4. After the first whistle, lower the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Once it is cooled, open the lid and mash it with ladle. (Check the photos above to see the desired consistency.)
  6. If desired, add desi ghee and heavy cream.
  7. Garnish it with cilantro and garam masala.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 10 – 12 people

2 Comments Add yours

    1. Dolly says:

      I’m glad you liked it.


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