Daal Makhani

I have never met anyone who does not enjoy daal makhani. It is the most wondrous creamy lentil dish from Punjab region. The one that you’ll find in restaurants with copious amounts of butter and cream is not how we make in our homes. Of course daal makhani means  buttery/creamy  lentils and the dish does have decent amount of butter, but it is mostly about slow simmering that makes it creamy. When I learnt to make this dish my mom said to remember, ‘the longer it takes, the better it tastes’.



The lentils used in daal makhani are the whole urad and small amount of red kidney beans. The combination of these two lentils make the dish high on protein, very nutritious and ideal for the vegetarian diet.  Urad daal is small mung bean shaped beans but black in color. Since whole beans take a while to cook, I usually soak and pressure cook, but to attain the silky, buttery texture of daal makhani I use slow cooker. If you do not have a slow cooker (which I doubt), you can use a regular pot and cook daal on low heat with sufficient water. You have to keep adding more water as and when required. The length of time it takes your daal (lentil dish) to cook depends on how old the lentils and beans are and how soft and creamy you want.



Daal makhani tastes better the next day after the flavors have had time to develop and is best enjoyed with freshly baked tandoori  roti or naan and a simple red onion salad.



Daal Makhani

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 hours

Total Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Daal makhani is a flavorful and protein rich dish from Punjab. It is cooked for long hours to give it a creamy and rich texture.


    For daal
  • 3/4 cup whole Urad
  • 1/2 cup rajmah ( I used Jammu rajmah)
  • 6 cups water plus more
  • salt to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp butter /desi ghee
  • For tadka /tempering
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large tomatoes (or 3/4 cup tomato puree)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp kasuri methi
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds(optional)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • To finish
  • thinly sliced ginger
  • cream or butter


  1. Clean and rinse the urad lentils and red kidney beans.
  2. Add them to the slow cooker insert with 7 cups water, 1 tbsp butter (or desi ghee) and ginger garlic paste.
  3. Put the lid on and cook on a high setting for three hours and then on low for 9 hours.
  4. In a skillet melt remaining 3 tbsp butter and olive oil.
  5. Add cumin, let the seeds starts to splutter. If the butter/oil is properly heated, this happens with in seconds.
  6. Add chopped onions,cook until they browns slightly. Add turmeric and red chili powder. Crush kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) in the palm of your hand and add it in.
  7. Stir fry the spices for a minute and then add pureed tomatoes.
  8. Let it cook until the raw smell goes off and oil glistens.
  9. Take this mixture and carefully add to the cooked lentils. Stir well.
  10. Sprinkle garam masala and roasted cumin powder. Add salt.
  11. Check the consistency of daal, it should neither be thick nor thin. If it is thick add some water (I generally do and cook daal a little more).
  12. Put the lid back on the slow cooker (after adding water) and let cook for another 15-30 minutes
  13. Garnish with some cream or butter and thinly sliced ginger before serving.
  14. Serve hot with tandoori roti or naan.

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  • comment-avatar
    Bam's Kitchen May 1, 2014 (6:18 am)

    Such a beautiful rich and delicious dish. Perfect for some of these rainy dreary days we have been having. Take Care, BAM

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder May 3, 2014 (12:52 pm)

      Not only on rainy dreary days, this dish tastes good in hot summer weather with mint chutney and lassi (yogurt drink).

  • comment-avatar
    Monica May 1, 2014 (7:56 am)

    Count me in as a lover of daal. This looks so satisfying and delicious. We just went to an Indian wedding recently – not only was it fun and festive but I was in heaven with the food. It was vegetarian but I didn’t miss the meat!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder May 3, 2014 (1:03 pm)

      Lentils are such a wonderful and versatile ingredient, I am glad you loved this dish. Thanks you, Monica!

  • comment-avatar
    Sridevi Ravi May 1, 2014 (8:36 am)

    I have tasted this delicious dish but never ventured to cook. This recipe is my chance to try! If I use a pressure cooker will it affect the taste or texture?

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder May 3, 2014 (1:10 pm)

      It taste best only when cooked slowly!

  • comment-avatar
    Juliana May 1, 2014 (12:21 pm)

    Very healthy and hearty…looks delicious Balvinder.
    Thanks for the recipe…hope you are having a great week 😀

  • comment-avatar
    ela@GrayApron May 1, 2014 (7:57 pm)

    You got all the spices down, Balvinder. I bet that what makes this dish fantastic! I need to experiment more with spicing. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 ela

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder May 3, 2014 (1:39 pm)

      It is amazing, I hope you could taste it.

  • comment-avatar
    Robyn @ simply fresh dinners May 2, 2014 (6:23 am)

    Oh, I love the combination of spices in this, Balvinder. I have never had this but I will try my hand at making it for sure. Such a lovely comfort food. I’m Stumbling it! Have a great Friday.

  • comment-avatar
    Choc Chip Uru May 2, 2014 (1:16 pm)

    I want to try this makhani recipe asap, it is one of the few daals I genuinely enjoy 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • comment-avatar
    Chai a Cup of Life May 4, 2014 (4:59 am)

    Classic dish that I enjoy a lot. Yours looks great Balvinder!

  • comment-avatar
    Coffee and Crumpets May 4, 2014 (8:10 am)

    Do you know? I’ve had this many times at restaurants and love it, but is one daal I haven’t made at home. It’s crazy I know. Btw, what’s Jammu rajma? How are the beans different?
    This looks wonderful and since I need to use my slow cooker more, I’m going to make this, finally!

  • comment-avatar
    Kitchen Belleicious May 6, 2014 (4:48 am)

    that looks like a very comforting dish and similar in some ways to our southern red beans and rice soup.

  • comment-avatar
    anne May 16, 2014 (11:19 pm)

    This looks like a very appetizing dish ! The combination of spices alone sounds wonderful 😀

  • comment-avatar
    Sridevi Ravi June 16, 2014 (6:29 am)

    I cooked Daal Makhani yesterday exactly according to your recipe. It was received with great appreciation and a standing ovation. All the cheers go to you!!! Thank you, Balvinder for this magnificent recipe!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder June 16, 2014 (7:31 am)

      I am honored and really happy that everyone liked daal makhani in your family 🙂 Thank you for the feedback, dear friend!