Love Dishoom restaurant’s, Black Dal? Try our homemade version of this Easy Peasy Dal Makhani recipe. It is creamy, finger-licking and tastes as delicious as the curry from the restaurant. Serve with Garlic Naan or with rice for a tasty meal combo.
About this Black Lentils Dal recipe
I have been making this classic Punjabi-style Black Dal ( Dal Bukhara) for over 15 years and it tastes simply out of the world every single time. The recipe is simple to make, however, the key is to slow-cook the dal and simmer it for the creamy flavours.
Whole Black lentils can take ages to cook on the stove, about 3 hours or so. I can highly recommend cooking the black daal in a pressure cooker to speed up the process. It will take just under 30 minutes.
Also if you soak them the night before, you can have a head start! And lesser cooking time.
As the name suggests DAL MAKHANI, the key Ingredients in this recipe are Black lentils, tomatoes, butter and cream. I would not suggest going lean on butter or cream in the recipe as they are also essential to making this Black Dal super HIT!
When we visited Dishoom restaurant a few years back, I had the opportunity to indulge in Dishoom’s House Black Dal. They were fantastic with Naan bread. I am so glad I tasted it then.
Because I can tell you, our homemade version tastes as delicious as the Dishoom restaurant Black Dal.
Serve this easy Kali Dhal in many ways –
- It’s the perfect accompaniment for spicy curries like Saag Chana, Vegetable Jalfrezi, or Mushroom Bhaji.
- As a component of the large Indian feast comprising Paneer Butter Masala, Naan bread, Pickled Onion, and Cucumber raita. Plus chilled Mango Lassi.
- Along with Yellow pilau rice, poppadom, tomato onion salad, and a glass of masala chaas lassi.
Why should you try this recipe?
You can make Dishoom’s House Black Daal in the comfort of your home.
It is easy to scale up or half the recipe.
Makes a delicious side for curry nights, weekends or even potluck parties.
Dietary needs – Vegetarian, Gluten free.
Dal Makhani Ingredients
You will need the following to make a creamy Black dal recipe.
Black Lentils -Also commonly known as black gram or black urad dal. Look out for the whole bean black lentils with skin. Do not substitute for half-broken white lentils also called urad dal.
Tomatoes – I prefer to use fresh Vine Tomatoes. Alternatively, you can also use canned tomatoes. Bear in mind, canned tomatoes can be a bit too tangy, so you may want to reduce the proportion accordingly. Many restaurants also use tomato paste.
Unsalted Butter – As the recipe suggests, Makhani means loaded with butter & cream. So I really don’t recommend going lean on cream to obtain the best Dal Makhani flavours. For Vegan Option, check out my notes below.
Ginger – Garlic Paste – A large amount of the flavour comes from ginger garlic in this black dal recipe.
Kasoori Methi – Also known as dried fenugreek leaves. Toast them gently on a heated pan and add them to your Dal. The rustic flavours are just amazing.
Spice Powders – Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder and Coriander Powder
Whole Spices – Bay Leaf, Cardamom, Cinnamon Stick and Cloves. If you don’t want to use whole spices, add 1 teaspoon of garam masala along with other spice powders.
**I do not use Onion as well as Garam masala Powder in this recipe.
Substitutions and Variations to make Black Daal
Soaking – Soaking black lentils will give you a head start and reduce the cooking time. But it is not necessary.
Consistency – Dal Makhani generally tends to thicken after it cools down. So always make sure to leave a little thin consistency when you switch off the flame.
Kidney beans – If you would like to add Kidney beans to this Black Daal, add 1/2 a can of cooked kidney beans.
Stock -If you don’t have enough stock left from the cooked Black Dal, add water instead.
Garam Masala – If you don’t want to use Whole Garam masalas, use 1 Tsp Garam masala powder.
Tomato paste – Instead of Fresh Tomato Puree, you can use about 75g of Tomato paste. Dilute the tomato paste with water before using it in the recipe.
What is Dal Makhani?
Dal makhani or dal makhni (pronounced daal makh-nee, “buttery lentils”) is a dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. The main ingredients used are black lentils, tomatoes, butter, cream and spices.
Black Dal FAQs
How to make Vegan Black Dal?
Vegan Black Dal can be made using the same recipe as below. Wherever the recipe calls for butter, use Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil. Use coconut cream to finish off the recipe instead of cream.
How different is Dal Makhani from Tarka Dal?
This Dal is thick, creamy and rich in consistency as opposed to comforting Moong Dal Tadka... So just in case you are wondering do we really need so much fat? My answer would be Yes again .. to call it perfect Dal Makhani.
Can I omit Garlic in this Black Dal?
No, the flavours in this Dal come from GARLIC and GINGER. This recipe does not use any onions. So if you leave out the garlic, the flavours in the Black Dal will not be the same as it is supposed to be.
Should I soak black lentils overnight to make black dal?
It is not essential to soak the black lentils if you are pressure-cooking them. In case you are cooking on the stovetop, soaking will reduce the cooking time.
Fridge – Store in an air-tight container and this black dal will keep well for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a knob of butter before serving.
Freezer – Allow the dal to cool completely. Transfer the black dhal to freezer-safe containers, label and freeze for up to 2 months.
Thaw the dal overnight in the fridge or defrost it in the microwave. Heat thoroughly and serve with a knob of butter before serving.
If you love this dal, you will also love
- Yellow Split peas dal
- Butternut squash red lentil dal
- Red Lentil curry
- Moong dal tadka
- Dhaba-style Dal fry
Homemade Black Daal recipe below
- 1½ Cup Black dal lentils Black Urad Dal
- ½ can Kidney beans cooked (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic crushed or more to taste
- 4 cm ginger grated
- 500 ml Tomatoes pureed
- 2-3 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 3/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Salt to taste
- 1000 ml Water or more as needed
Whole Garam Masala
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 Bay Leaf
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Green Cardamom or 1 tsp Cardamom powder
- 4 Cloves
- 2 tsp Kasoori Methi Dried Fenugreek leaves
- ½ cup Cream
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Rinse the black lentils a couple of times in cold water until clear. Place the lentils with 1 litre water in an Instant Pot pressure cooker and cook for 5 minutes on Manual High. Allow the steam to release naturally.Alternatively, place the black lentils dal in a large saucepan along with 3litre of water. Bring it to a boil and cook for 2-3 hours or until the dal is soft. You may need to top up with more water as they cook and skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
- Drain the black lentils and save the lentil stock.
- Heat butter in a pan and add cumin seeds & Whole Garam masalas. Saute them for 1 minute.
- Add Ginger Garlic Paste and saute for 1 minute.
- Now add the fresh tomato puree, salt and spice powders to the masala and mix them together. Cover with a lid and cook on a low flame for 10 – 15 minutes until the base masala has reduced a bit. (Tomato puree tends to bubble and throw a lot of spills ).
- Now add the black lentils, kidney beans( if using), and 3 cups of lentil stock reserved after draining the dal.
- Cover and cook for at least 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. The lentils will slowly integrate and thicken as they cook. If needed, add more water as necessary. ( If you have time, you can simmer and cook longer. It tastes Amazing!)
- Once the desired consistency is achieved , add cream, butter, kasuri methi and stir well. Cook for another 5 more minutes and turn of the flame.
- Serve Black lentils dal with Naan or rice.
- Soaking Urad Dal is not required for this process. Dal Makhani generally tends to thicken after it cools down. So always make sure to leave a little thin consistency when you switch off the flame.
- If you would like to add Kidney beans to the Black Daal, add 1/2 a can of cooked kidney beans.
- If you don’t have enough stock left from the cooked Black Dal, add water instead.
- If you don’t want to use Whole Garam masalas, use 1 Tsp Garam masala powder.
- Instead of Fresh Tomato Puree, you can use about 75g of Tomato paste. Dilute the tomato paste with water before using it in the recipe.