Dal Makhani Recipe – Restaurant style

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Dal Makhani Recipe

Hello everyone, today’s recipe is Dal Makhani. It is famous North Indian dish. Dal makhani is very rich, creamy, flavorful and mild spicy dal recipe. This recipe is start with typical Punjabi onion-tomato masala. It has very few dry spices, still it taste very delicious. It tastes almost same as restaurant style dal makhani.

Dal Makhani Recipe

I have read so many articles including Wikipedia on internet saying that dal makhani has other names like maah ki dal or kaali dal or maah chole di dal. So I also had belief that all are same. But few weeks back I came to know from my sweet Punjabi colleague that dal makhani is not same as kaali dal or maah di dal.

Let me tell you the difference between both dal recipes (as she explained to me).

Dal Makhani – It has very creamy, rich and medium spicy taste. And it is made from whole urad with rajma. Butter and cream is used in this recipe to make it creamy and rich. Butter is used in the recipe that’s why it is called Dal Makhani. Makhani means buttery.

Maah di dal or kaali dal – It is light in texture with spicy taste. It is kind of everyday healthy dal recipe because there is no butter or cream used. And it is made from whole urad only. In Punjabi, urad dal known as maah (not maa-mother) and how it is called as maah di dal.

Maah chole di dal – It is almost same as kaali dal except it is made from split urad dal with skin and chana dal. Maah means urad dal and chole means chana dal.

So now you know the difference. Thanks to my dear colleague. I will also share kaali dal and maah chole di dal recipe soon. Dal makhani is not type of dal that you eat on everyday basis as it is very rich and creamy. But still you want to make it healthy, use oil instead of butter and milk instead of cream. It might change the flavor and taste.

Dal Makhani Recipe

Dal makhani is usually served with Plain rice or Jeera Rice. You can also serve it with any paratha or naan. Traditionally and also in restaurants dal makhani takes almost a day to be ready from start to finish. But at home we use pressure cooker and pre-soak it for 8 hours. That’s why we can make same recipe within an hour. Have a look at below video that Chef Irfan is showing how dal makhani is made in restaurants by cooking almost 8-9 hours on stove.

Now lets start how to make Dal Makhani Recipe –

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Dal Makhani Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine – Punjabi, North Indian Recipe category – Dal or Beans, Main dish Skill level – easy/beginner
Yield: 4 Servings
  • Whole urad dal – 1 cup
  • Red kidney beas (Rajma) – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – 2 ½ cups + ¾ cup
  • Butter – 1 ½ tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece
  • Cloves – 2
  • Green chilies – 3, slit
  • Ginger paste – ½ teaspoon
  • Garlic paste – ½ teaspoon
  • Onion – ½ cup, chopped finely
  • Fresh Tomato puree – 1 ½ cups **Notes
  • Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Heavy whipping cream (Malai) – ¼ cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cilantro – few springs for garnishing
  • ........................................................................
**Notes –
  • Tomato Pureetake 2 medium roughly chopped tomatoes in blender. And make smooth fresh tomato puree. From 2 medium tomatoes, you will get about 1 ½ cup puree.
  1. Take whole urad and rajma.
  2. Wash whole urad dal and rajma under running cold water till water runs clear.
  3. Soak them in enough water for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Add soaked dal in pressure cooker with salt. Add 2 cups of water and close the lead, put the weight on. Turn on the heat on medium heat. And let it whistle for 12 times. Let the pressure go down by itself. Open the lid and keep it aside till needed.
  5. Heat the butter in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add cinnamon stick and cloves. You get nice fragrant from cinnamon and cloves.
  6. Then add cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds sizzle.
  7. Then add green chilies, ginger paste and garlic paste.
  8. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  9. Then add onions.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Cook till onions become brown.
  12. Add tomato puree.
  13. Mix it and let it cook.
  14. Cook till oil separates from the tomatoes.
  15. Then add red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt.
  16. And mix well.
  17. Add boiled dal with its water and ¾ cup of more water.
  18. Mix well. Let it boil for 8-10 minutes.
  19. Add cream.
  20. Mix well, let it come to a boil. Then turn off the stove & Serve hot.
Additional Info
Taste – creamy and medium spicy

Shelf life – recommended serving it the same day. But you can keep refrigerated for 2-3 days in air tight container after it cools completely. When you are re-heating the dal, you might need to add some water because this dal thickens as it cools.

Serving suggestions – dal makhani tastes great with plain rice or Jeera rice. It can also go well with paratha or roti.


- For quick soaking method: wash urad dal and rajma under running cold water. Then add enough water to it. Put on high heat and let the water come to boil then let it boil for 5 minutes and turn off the stove. Let it sit covered for 1 hour. Then boil in pressure cooker.

- Do not boil it after adding cream.

- You can add milk instead of cream. You can add ½ cup milk and reduce the water by ½ cup.

I have served this delicious dal makhani with Jeera rice. My husband and I enjoyed this as a meal on last weekend.

Dal Makhani Recipe

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  1. Pavel says

    Thank you for your recipies.
    I dont understand a concept of whistles.
    If I need 12 whistles, as suggested in the recipie, what do I do&
    My pressure cooker only produces a hissing sound when the pressure builds up.
    From that moment on, how much time should I wait to reach 12 whistles.
    What would be the indication.

    Thank you,

    Kind regards,

  2. Abhinav says

    You say in the tips – “Do not boil it after adding cream.” but in the recipe you say “add cream, mix well let it come to a boil” Please explain.

    • says

      Recipe says “add cream, mix well let it come to a boil” meaning bring the dal a single boil, so that added cream gets heat up. That’s it, turn off the stove.
      Tips says “Do not boil it after adding cream.” meaning don’t keep the dal boiling or simmering after you add cream (need just one boil). If boiled or simmered for more time then cream might get curdle.
      Hope this helps

  3. nicole says

    I love the step by step with pictures is a big help can I use split urad dal with skins? <- thats what the bag says they are u brought the wrong beans will it still taste nice? How would I prepare it with those lentils?

    • says

      Yes you can use urad dal with skin. For this dal no need to soak in water. Directly cook in pressure cooker or pan. but split dal takes less time than whole beans. Taste will be different but sure it will be good.

  4. Sonia Hewitt says

    Making your dal makhani recipe today, and really like the way you explain the cooking process. I notice in your pictures that you uses red onions. Does that make a difference to the taste? Thanks!

    • Kanan says

      Hey Sarah, you can try using black beans instead of urad dal though I have never tried it.. taste and texture will be different.