Dal makhani (Indian lentils)

    2 hours 15 min

    These richly spiced lentils are simmered for two hours in a spicy tomato sauce and finished with splash of cream for a filling side dish in an Indian feast.

    5 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 200g lentils
    • 50g dry kidney beans (optional)
    • water to cover
    • 1.2 litres water
    • 2 tablespoons salt, or to taste
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 4 cardamom pods
    • 1 cinnamon stick, broken
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 6 whole cloves
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic paste
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
    • 250g tomato puree, or more to taste
    • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
    • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
    • 50g butter
    • 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
    • 120ml cream (optional)

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:2hr  ›  Ready in:2hr15min 

    1. Place lentils and kidney beans in a large bowl; cover with plenty of water. Soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain.
    2. Cook lentils, kidney beans and salt to taste in 1.2 litres of water over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and set aside. Keep the lentils, kidney beans and any excess cooking water in the pot.
    3. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook cumin seeds in the hot oil until they begin to pop, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cloves; cook until bay leaves turn brown, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; add ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat.
    4. Stir tomato puree into spice mixture; cook over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chilli powder, coriander and butter; cook and stir until butter is melted.
    5. Stir lentils, kidney beans and any leftover cooking water into tomato mixture; bring to the boil, reduce heat to low. Stir fenugreek into lentil mixture. Cover saucepan and simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Add cream and cook until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.

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    Reviews in English (31)


    I have to agree with cengelberg, the recipe shown is far too salty. I made the recipe for 6 people and it called for 2 tablespoons of salt, but change that to 2 teaspoons and you'll be fine. I also used canned kidney beans instead of dry, so if you go my way be sure to drain the excess water after cooking the lentils and beans or you'll end up with dal makhani soup.  -  30 Jan 2013  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    My husband and I have made many different types of dal over the years, that were all great, but we will be making this dal makhani for now on. It's absolutely delicious!!! In fact my husband loved it so much he had leftover dal and brown rice for breakfast this morning, lol! I did make some minor changes to the recipe. Instead of 2 Tbsp salt, I only added 1 tsp of salt and it was plenty enough, I may consider adding even less the next time I make it. Also, in place of the butter and heavy cream, I used 2 Tbsp trans-fat free margarine and fat-free half and half. And lastly, SOGOLONDJATA is right, fenugreek leaves are close to impossible to find state side. I added 1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds in place of the leaves; the flavor is much more intense in the seeds, but they are much easier to find in an Indian spice market. Be sure to remove the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon (I left it whole; its easier to fetch out) and black cardamom before eating, especially if your serving to children. Another thought ~ after toasting the spices, it would be fairly easy to wrap them in cheese cloth. Thank you so very much for posting this recipe.  -  20 May 2014  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I think the recipe would have turned out great if much less salt was used. I adjusted the recipe for 16 people and it called for 1/3 cup salt. It was extremely salty. Tried to reduce salt by adding potatoes with minimal results. I would recommend at least halving the salt content and work up from there.  -  28 Dec 2012  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)

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