How To Make Dal Makhni At Home

How To Make Dal Makhni At Home

How to Make Dal Makhni at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Punjabi Classic

Dal makhni, a beloved Punjabi dish, is a perfect blend of lentils, kidney beans, and a rich, creamy tomato-based gravy. Known for its velvety texture and complex flavors, it’s a staple in many Indian households and a popular choice in restaurants worldwide. With a few simple ingredients and a bit of patience, you can recreate this culinary masterpiece in the comfort of your own kitchen.


For the Lentils:

  • 1 cup urad dal (black lentils)
  • 1 cup rajma (kidney beans)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  1. Prepare the Lentils: Rinse the urad dal and rajma thoroughly. Soak them separately in enough water for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.

  2. Cook the Lentils: Drain the soaking water from the lentils. Transfer the urad dal to a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water and salt. Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles on high heat.

  3. Cook the Kidney Beans: Transfer the soaked rajma to a separate pressure cooker and add 4 cups of water and salt. Close the lid and cook for 4 whistles on high heat.

  4. Prepare the Gravy: Heat the oil in a large pan or Dutch oven. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Fry until fragrant and the cumin seeds start to crackle.

  5. Add Aromatics: Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onions are translucent and turn golden brown.

  6. Add Spices: Stir in the red chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the spices release their aroma.

  7. Add Tomatoes: Pour in the pureed tomatoes. Season with salt to taste. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the oil separates from the gravy.

  8. Add Lentils and Kidney Beans: Once the gravy is ready, add the cooked urad dal and rajma. Stir well to combine.

  9. Add Water: If the mixture becomes too thick, add a splash of water as needed.

  10. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to blend and the lentils and kidney beans to soften further.

  11. Add Cream: Stir in the heavy cream. Cook for another 5 minutes to thicken the gravy.

  12. Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with roti, naan, or rice.


  • To make a richer gravy, use full-fat cream or even butter.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook the lentils and kidney beans in a pot on the stovetop. Just increase the cooking time as needed.
  • You can add other vegetables to your dal makhni, such as diced carrots, peas, or bell peppers.
  • For a smoky flavor, you can roast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds before adding them to the gravy.
  • If you like your dal makhni extra spicy, add more red chili powder to your taste.

Nutritional Information:

NutrientAmount (per serving)

Interesting Facts about Dal Makhni:

  • Dal makhni originated in the Punjab region of India.
  • The name "makhni" means "buttery," referring to the rich, creamy texture of the gravy.
  • Traditionally, dal makhni is cooked in a clay pot or karahi.
  • It’s a popular dish in Sikh weddings and other festive occasions.
  • Dal makhni is a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.


Q. Can I use other types of lentils for dal makhni?
A. Yes, you can use a combination of different types of lentils, such as masoor dal (red lentils) or chana dal (split chickpeas).

Q. How long can I store dal makhni?
A. Dal makhni can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.

Q. What can I serve dal makhni with?
A. Dal makhni is typically served with roti, naan, or rice. It can also be served as a side dish with chicken or fish.

Q. Can I make dal makhni without a pressure cooker?
A. Yes, you can cook dal makhni in a pot on the stovetop. Just increase the cooking time as needed until the lentils and kidney beans are soft.

Q. How can I make dal makhni healthier?
A. Reduce the amount of cream by half and use skimmed milk instead. You can also add more vegetables, such as carrots or peas, to increase the fiber content.

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