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How to Make Punjabi Dal Makhani

Rajan writes to share his knowledge of health, yoga, pranayama, alternative therapies, natural remedies, food recipes, and more.


Dal simply means lentil. In India, many types of dals are prepared with different types of lentils. Of all the dals, the North Indian dal makhani is possibly the most popular dal available in all restaurants and dhabas (road-side food joints).

Dal makhani, or mah ki dal, is a creamy Indian dal prepared with black gram. It is also known as langar wali dal because this dish is always prepared in langar (community kitchens) in the gurudwaras (Sikh temples).

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour 30 min

1 hour 45 min

Serves four people


For the dal:

  • 1 cup sabut urad dal (whole black gram) plus a handful of rajma (red kidney beans) thrown in
  • 1 tbsp sarson ka tel (mustard oil)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 or 5 granules heeng (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1.5 liters water

For the tadka:

  • 4 tbsp desi ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 cup malai (fresh cream), stirred to make smooth
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder


  1. Wash the dal well and put in pressure cooker. Add the water, salt, ginger paste, heeng, and mustard oil.
  2. Keep the heat on high until the first whistle sounds. Reduce heat to low and pressure-cook for 30 minutes; then put off the heat. Open cooker when pressure subsides.
  3. The dal should be soft now. Keep the cooker on medium heat and prepare the tadka on another burner. If you feel the dal is thick, add a little water as the dal will need to be cooked further.
  4. In a tadka pan, heat desi ghee. Add the chopped onions. Stir and add the kasuri methi. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes and keep stirring the dal in between, as well.
  5. Add the garlic paste in the tadka pan and stir-fry the tadka until the garlic and onions turn a light brown color.
  6. Add the fresh cream to the dal now and mix well. Reduce heat to low. The dal will need to be cooked until the dal and water become one, as dal makhani is a creamy thick dal. Hence, let the dal cook, and keep stirring regularly.
  7. When the onions are done, reduce heat to low and add the red chili powder, garam masala, and coriander powder. Stir-cook for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the ready tadka to the dal and mix well. At this point, if the dal is thick you can add a little water. We need to cook the dal and tadka for a few more minutes on low heat.
  9. Add the cilantro, and let the dal cook until done. Dal makhani becomes tastier the more it is simmered and cooked. It is one of the dals which taste better the following day.
  10. Garnish the dal makhani with cilantro and serve with chapati or paratha.

Punjabi Dal Makhani Recipe

© 2018 Rajan Singh Jolly