dal makhani recipe

Dal Makhani is a staple of Indian restaurants worldwide, and its invention is closely linked with Butter Chicken; both were created by Kundan Lal Gujral at his Moti Mahal restaurant in New Delhi.

Traditionally, whole black urad dal is used to make dal makhani; however, our recipe specifies black lentils which are more readily available, don't require overnight soaking, and cook 4x as fast!

servings 4 to 5  |   cook time 60 min


  • 1 cup dried black lentils  8 ounces
  • 1 medium yellow onion  |  1 cup finely chopped
  • 1-inch cube peeled, fresh ginger  1 tsp finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves  |  2 tsp finely grated
  • 1 cup tomato sauce  8 ounces
  • vegetable oil or ghee
  • 4 tbs butter or non-dairy spread, divided
  • ¼ cup light cream, half 'n half, or unsweetened cashew cream
  • salt
  • 1 Inspired Indian Dal Makhani Spice Kit


cooking whole spices in heated oil releases their flavor and infuses the dish with an additional layer of flavor

the same principal applies to spice powder, with the addition of a small amount of water to prevent it from burning

resist the urge to increase the heat while frying onions, otherwise the whole spices may burn and become bitter. if onions start to stick or brown too quickly, add 1 tbs water


Rinse and drain lentils. Add to a pot with 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until very soft; add additional water as needed to keep lentils covered.

2  Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs oil in a large saucepan on medium. Add WHOLE SPICES and stir for ~1 minute until they start sizzling. Add chopped onion and sauté 7 - 10 minutes until lightly browned and starting to darken at edges; add a splash of water if they start to dry out. 

while onions are frying, finely grate ginger and garlic.

3 Add grated ginger and garlic to onions. Stir for a minute, then add half of butter (2 tbs), SPICE POWDER, and 2 tbs water.  Sauté for 2 minutes, then stir in tomato sauce. Cover and reduce to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.

4  Add cooked lentils with their cooking water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add remaining 2 tbs butter and cream, and salt to taste. 

adjust consistency as desired by adding additional water to thin it or continue simmering with lid off until thickened.





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