Dal makhani


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Jackfruit and Blue Ginger

Jackfruit and Blue Ginger

By Sasha Gill

Published 2019

  • About

Dal makhani is an investment. It takes time to soak the lentils and then to coax them into a creamy and dreamy dal over a gentle heat. But it is an investment you will not regret. While this is usually made with an abundance of butter and cream, mine is a lighter version but just as luscious. You will be mopping your plate with tufts of naan bread, and that’s a promise.

Prep time: 20 minutes (plus soaking time)
Cooking time: 45 minutes


  • 1 cup (220 g) whole urad dal (black gram), soaked for 4 hours or overnight*
  • 1 x 400 g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida – optional
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½–1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ cup (125 ml) plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) soy cream
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves and chopped cashews, to garnish
  • Tomato kasundi, to serve


In a large saucepan, bring the urad dal, kidney beans and 4 cups (1 litre) water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the urad dal is cooked through and no longer crunchy.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and fry the cumin seeds and asafoetida over medium heat until they’re aromatic and the smell of the asafoetida starts to mellow out, about 1 minute. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry until the onions are soft and translucent. Next, add the tomatoes and chilli powder and cook over low heat until the tomatoes are saucy, about 3–5 minutes.

When the urad dal is cooked, use a potato masher to mash the urad dal and kidney beans into their cooking water. This causes the beans to release their starch and allows the dal to thicken further.

Return the pan to the heat and stir in the onion mixture, along with the milk and salt. Continue to cook until the dal is thick and creamy, about 15 minutes, then stir in the garam masala. Take it off the heat and drizzle with the soy cream. Garnish with coriander leaves and chopped cashews, then serve with tomato kasundi.

* Urad dal can be tricky to find if you don’t have an Asian grocer nearby, but green mung beans will also work here.