indian cuisine
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Dal makhani

Dal Makhani is a delicacy from Punjab in India and is also known as Maa Ki Dal. Pulses are a highly nutritious food group comprising beans,peas and lentils, it is essentially filled with rich proteins and fiber.

Traditionally this dal was cooked slowly, for hours, on charcoal. This gave it a creamier texture. Traditionally cooked in a Punjabi house, it had ‘malai’ (thick creamy skin that forms on top of milk) or fresh butter added to it. When cooked at home these days, more moderate amounts of cream or butter are used. When prepared in restaurants, it is cooked slowly on low heat and often has a large amount of cream and butter added, hence the ‘buttery’ taste. Traditionally lentils and beans were generally soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours and gently simmered on low heat along with ginger, garlic and a few other spices (garam masala). These are then combined with a tangy masala base which includes onions, tomatoes (chopped or puree) or dried mango powder or even pomegranate seeds.

Dollops of fresh cream and butter lend the rich finishing touch. It is also garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves and fresh cream. It is a sumptous meal and a staple diet in Punjab and most of Northern India. It is a very good source of energy and extremely healthy if cooked in less oil/butter. It is often had with roti or rice.

Dal makhani is a type of daal eaten in India and Pakistan in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and the Bhojpuri area of Bihar. It is eaten with either naan or chapatis.

Ingredients and recipe

* 1 cup whole urad or black gram lentil
* 1/3 cup kidney beans( Rajma)
* 1 tbs grated ginger
* 2 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
* Red chilli powder (accord to taste)
* 1 tsp. turmeric powder
* 3-4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter or oil
* 1 tsp. cumin seeds
* A large pinch of hing (Asafoetida)
* 1 tbsp minced ginger & garlic
* 1 medium onion (thinly chopped ,optional)
* 2-3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
* 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
* 1/2 cup fresh cream.
* 2 tbs. chopped coriander leaves (optional)
* Salt to taste
* 5-6 cups water (to cook dal)


Wash and soak black urad (bean)and rajma (red kidney bean) overnight. Cook the soaked dal and rajma in 5-6 cups of water with salt, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, turmeric, and grated ginger till dal and rajma are soft.( Recommended - Pressure cooker for 10-12 whistles). Lightly mash dal and rajma mixture, keep aside. Heat oil or butter in a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and hing, let it crackle. Add ginger, garlic, chopped onions, and cook till light golden brown in color. Add garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Sauté till tomatoes are well mashed and fat starts to leave the masala. Add mashed dal and rajma to this mixture and little water ( desired consistency). Correct seasoning, and simmer at very slow flame for 15-20 minutes. Add fresh cream and let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves before serving. Serve hot with Naan or Paratha or even with rice.

Alternative recipe

You can substitue garam masala with cumin-coriander powder and cream with sour cream or lowfat yogurt.This dal is rich in starch and minerals, it is also considered heavy for digestion, however ginger solves this problem and makes it easy to digest.Use olive oil instead of ghee or butter and omit cream.

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