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Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani, Punjabi Style

Dal Makhani is a popular dish from state of Punjab. Rich and hearty, dal makhani is a combination of whole urad (an Indian lentil)and red kidney beans. It goes well with Naan, and Tandoori Roti (oven-baked flat bread).
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 people


  • 1/2 cup whole urad dal
  • 1/8 cup red kidney beans rajma
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric haldi
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mango powder amchoor
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup cream

For Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp ghee, clarified ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds jeera
  • 1/8 tsp asafetida hing
  • 3 whole dried red chilies
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger thinly sliced


  • Wash urad dal and kidney beans well. Soak the dal in six cups of water at least for eight hours. After soaking, dal will be about two and a half times the volume of the original.
  • Place the dal in a pressure cooker with four cups of water. Add the salt, turmeric, ginger, and green chili, and cook over medium high heat. When it begins to steam, turn the heat down to medium. Cook 25 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Wait until steam has stopped before opening the pressure cooker. The dal and kidney beans should be soft and tender.
  • Lightly mash the kidney beans and dal. Cook for another five minutes on low-to-medium heat.
  • Add cream, garam masala, and amchoor powder. Cook for ten minutes on low heat.

For Seasoning

  • Heat the ghee in a small saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks right away, the oil is ready. Add cumin seeds. When they crack, add the asafetida, red chilies, and red chili powder. Stir for a few seconds.
  • Add one teaspoon of water to keep the spices from burning. Pour the spiced ghee over the dal.
  • Garnish with shredded ginger.


Serving suggestion, taste best with Naan, or Tandoori Roti
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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176 thoughts on “Dal Makhani

  1. Auntie, thank you so much for this recipe! This was my first time making dal makhani, and my daughter and I loved it. I am excited to try many more of your recipes.

  2. Namaste Manjulaji

    Really enjoy your recipes, tips and videos. I want to try out the recipe for Dal Makhani. I see two ingredients listed: garam masala and amchur. Where do they get added? In the pressure cooker or later during the ‘final tadka’ stage. Could you please clarify? Thank you, SB

  3. Your website is fantastic! My sweetie and I love dal makhani and have had it many times. The blend of creamy dal and spices is absolutely heavenly. Thank you for all the terrific recipes!

  4. Hi Manjula Aunty, Thanks a lot for the nice recipes I got to know few days ago. I made the bhel puri, the toovar daal, the cilandro chutney, the tamarind chutney and aloo baigna. They all came out very nice. Please could you tell me how much ml is a cup because I have different sizes of cups. Thank you again for sharing your recipes with us. God bless you

  5. Manjula, hi — this sounds delicious! I love Dal Makhni and would enjoy making it. Is there an alternative method to cooking it without a pressure cooker that you could recommend. I don’t own a pressure cooker. For example, cooking it overnight in a slow-cooker perhaps?


  6. Manjula,

    I’ve been watching your videos and cooking your recipes for several years now and just want you to know how much I love what you do. As a lifelong vegetarian, I really appreciate your videos and your obvious love of cooking. Keep it up!

    1. I have been watching ur video for the last 8 months. I love ur video demo and the dishes. Today I tried yr bread pakora recipe and it came out very well. Crispy n tasty. Tk u.

  7. Manjula,

    Before I found you I used to buy a Dal Bukhara it is rich and dark. I have searched your site and not found this dish. Do you know of it?

    The one I bought was in a MRE package (Meals Ready to Eat) you just opened it and microwaved.

    I know with your help we could make it.

      1. hi manjula sunty,
        i hv cooked some of your recepies and they tasted realy gud.In case of dal makhani ,i wanted to know if I can Use whole moong instead of urad dal?

  8. Dear Aunty,

    I love all your recipes and have tried a few which came out to be very perfect and delicious. For dal makhani, i want to know which cream is used . Also I bought Nestle cream , but i think that is used for cakes, can i use the same in dal makhani.

    plz. reply. Thankyou.

  9. I was quite disappointed with this one. Makhani is one of those precarious preparations whereby one can invest a lot of effort and get back nothing.

    The cream element and the end of the recipe negates many of the strong spices and really closes the envelope on your efforts. But when you get it right, you know it.

    Manjula is the Queen of Indian Vegan. And I mean that. And so do my housemates. 1/3 of my main meals are Manjula curries. (thank you Manjula!!!)

    My last dish before I left India from Punjab was this Dal and it was nothing short of a masterpiece.

    Try this-

    Pre- soaked: (12+hr) 1/4cup Rajma 1/2cup urad dal

    w/2.5cups water + 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp bicarb soda

    Pressure Cooked: 30min (have patience)

    For Takda

    – 2 tbs ghee
    – 2 green chilies slit (w/seeds, c’mon guys!)
    – 3 teaspoons garlic/ginger paste
    – 1/3tsp grated ginger
    – 3/4tsp cumin seed
    – 1/4tsp asafoetida

    Let simmer 5min, add-

    – 2 (two) FINELY chopped onions, till brown


    – 1 1/4 cup tomato paste
    – 2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    – 1/3 tsp tumeric
    – 1 tsp chili powder (or according to taste)

    Cook and combine the Takda slowly, 30+min w/cover then add:

    – 1/2tsp amchoor powder
    – 1/3tsp garam masala
    – 1/4 cup cooking cream
    – 2 tbsp pure butter

    Cool and let marinade for 24+hrs in the fridge (mash a little bit) then re-heat with butter, peanuts, cashews, pecans, your choice )

    Makhani is one of those ones you never forget if you do it right.



    1. Gook looking recipe. I’m with you on end factory farming. There’s no need to eat animals. Maybe 1,000,000 years ago it was different, but not any more! The Indian vegetarian diet is nutritionally complete.

  10. I doubled the recipe and used 8 cups of water. It was awful. I also used lactose-free milk and vegan butter instead of cream and ghee because my boyfriend is lactose intolerant. The spices were good but it was just too watery. I’m very sad because I wasted so much food. If I were to double the recipe should I use less water next time?

    1. Mindy, In my opinion I would suggest making a single recipe first to see
      a) how you like the flavor, and
      b) work out any glitches on a smaller amount.
      Sorry to hear it didn’t work out. Doubling recipes can be tricky sometimes.

      1. I agree Jaya… Some recipes are not made to be doubled – especially in baking for some reason. And I also don’t understand why people blame the recipe but then say “I changed this,this and this”. Lactose free milk is thin – this recipe calls for cream and since cream in this case is used as a thickener, no wonder it turned watery. She might have saved this by adding some more plain cooked dal to it.. That might have helped.
        Also I think sometime dals can be tricky and you might have to use more or less water and that this recipe is a guide.

        1. Hi Liane, I think this is not a good recipe for a novice. Dal makhani is a more intermediate recipe. After one has cooked dals for a while you know what to look for and can sense if the recipe is moving in the right direction.

          Agree too that switching out the cream and butter will change/texture and overall characteristics of the taste a lot.

    2. Mindy, sorry to hear that it didn’t turnout as you expected. Actually this is a very easy dish to make.
      I use 1 cup of urad and 1/4 cup of kidney beans. soak them for 18 hours. drain the water. Add1/2 cup of water and pressure cook (if you have one)the lentils. if not boil the lentils in some water but don’t add too much water. After soaking for 18 hours, they become quite soft and it doesn’t take that long to cook. Good luck πŸ™‚


    3. I did the same thing, but simply drained the excess liquid in a sieve, cooked a bit more and everyone loved it! Would be good to know how to prepare double or triple the amount with advice on just how much liquid to use. Manjula?

  11. manjulaji,pls reply my question.what is this whole urad dal making dal makhni? i am a keralite.where should i get that ?mango powder and chat massala are same ? pls reply soon.

    1. urad dal = ulutham parippu in tamil; I’m afraid I don’t know the malayali translation of it….Uzhunnu parippu? something like that. Hope that helps. The thing is, you need… urad sabut, which is WHOLE urad – not the dry kind – so you need the urad dal to be black in colour, not the white kind that might be used in a tarka for aloo podimass, etc. mango powder is not the same thing as chaat masala.

    2. naseema,
      urad dal is uzhunnu parippu. the one used here is whole uzhunnu with skin.it is black in colour. it is not easily available in kerala. i got it once from reliance fresh. but it was not very good quality.now i request my cousins to get north indian items like these from bangalore or madras .

      1. I too had trouble finding Urad.

        “Urad” dal is a white-eyed black pea, otherwise known as black lentil. It took me over 2 years to find a reliable source (To make myself the perfect Dal Makhani, which I love). I buy 1kg (2lb) for $8.50AUD, from my local Indian grocer. (He also makes an awesome Mango Lassi!!)

        The best policy is to find a true Indian who knows what “Urad” is.

        The beauty of buying from locals instead of the multi-conglomerate trash corporate purveyors is that you get what you pay for. No GM, totally wholesome fresh veggies and pulses for super-cheap. The way it should be.

        “Food for profit? What the F * C K?”

        Get into it!

    3. Naseema,

      when you go to the home page on this web site. on your left you will see the menu Videos & Recipes. Below videos and recipes you will see the word ‘grains’. Under grains you will see photos of all the grains that Manjulaji uses. Here you will see the photo of urad. The black one is what is used in this recipe of Dal Makhani.
      Hope this helps…


  12. Hello Manjula! Thank you for another fantastic recipe! Really all of your food is so delicious πŸ˜‰ Are the red chilies in this recipe fresh? Or are they the dried kind? Thanks.

  13. Hi,
    I love this website!!!!! The instructions for this recipe were a bit tricky because in the video 3 cups of water was used, but the written instruction call for four. I can definitely say four cups is too much.

    1. Hi Kim,

      I don’t have hing either, but I know it won’t make much difference in the taste. Hing is usually used in Indian food to eliminate gas in the stomach since lentils are gaseous.

    1. Vidya, you need to go the milk section of Walmart and look it. It’s liquid like milk, but has more fat and cream in it. Don’t confuse it with sour cream!

      Ask a store attendant for help if you need it.

    2. Vidya, in London it’s called single/double cream. They sell it like in small yogurt pots on the milk/yogurt section. I normally use single cream for pasta and cooking in general. Double cream is higher in fat but yummy in deserts XD.

      Thank you for the recipe Manjula, it’s lovely!

  14. Koki,
    I hope that you don’t mind me adding my input to this – you could try fresh tomatoes in the begining but it’s the cream that give the extra “kick” or layer to this recipe. I guess that you could try some fresh curd but the cream is what gives it that true texture and taste that makes this dish extra special. Go ahead and try something else if you want but any substitutes wouldn’t make it the same as the recipe Manjula has given. Only reason I know this is that I’ve tried. I ran out of cream one day and went without it and it just was not the same. Not sure if it’s dietary concerns or other that you have for not using cream but I just thought I’d let you know my experiences with it and how it turned out without it.
    Good luck,

  15. the dal makhani came out good with the partial blending
    however very hesitant to use heavy cream would u consider
    fresh tomatoes at the start then when u blend or mash part of it
    the consistency thickens what are your thoughts Manjula ?
    P.S. great web site learned a lot

  16. Namaskar! Thanks for sharing the recipies.I am bachelor and find your site especially videos very useful. Lots of punya to you for this generous initiative and coming forward to share. God bless you!

  17. hi …
    thx 4 ur wonderful recipes….
    can i use split urad dal in stead of whole in dal makhni???
    i by mistake purchased split ones yesterday n opened it a while ago… πŸ™
    pls reply

  18. Suzanne,
    Just out of curiosity – what do vegans normally use as replacements for butter(ghee) and cream?
    Manjula is right – you can use the oil in place of the ghee but if it were me, I’d use as little as possible because the ghee, in terms of this recipe, gives it an added special flavor or layer of flavor as opposed to just using it as an ingredient to fry the spices in. As for the coconut milk – I guess you will just have to just try it – coconut milk isn’t as thick as heavy cream so maybe coconut cream? Is there anything else you can try for a substitute other than coconut for the heavy cream? Again as well, the cream adds a specific flavor to the recipe also. Good luck – let us know how it turned out!

    1. Leanne, Hi, usually, to replace cream in a recipe, I would use either coconut milk/cream, soft tofu, or there is also a cream-like soy product made by Belsoy – comes in a small carton and is called a ‘creamy soya preparation for cooking’. This product is organic and has a pleasant taste, very similar consistancy as cream.

  19. Hi Manjula,

    I made this following the typed recipe and it was very disapointing as it was very thin. Not at all like the creamy dal in your video. When I watched the video again it seems that you say to add three cups of water not the four cups as printed in the recipe. Could you please clarify and amend the incorrect recipe.

    Thank you.

  20. Catherine,
    I’m married to an Indian as well and have been for ten years – I was in your shoes for quite some time but cook Indian 80% of the time.
    Would love to correspond with you – please write to me at lianealbert@gmail.com – it would be great to hear from you, trade stories and recipes.
    Good luck with cooking – it’s a piece of cake once you get the hang of it and I have some other tips / hints to help you along as well.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

  21. Namaste Aunty,

    I am an Australian who has got married with an Indian man and THANK GOD for you as I can now cook some dishes for him!! Coming from Australia I couldnt cook very much vegetarian food and the poor guy was living on scrambled eggs and Maggi noodles! Your recipes have helped us alot and are really very yummy and well presented. Thankyou again from my husband also, and keep posting more and more πŸ™‚

  22. Hi Manjula,

    Thank you for all the wonderful Indian recipes. I am new to Indian cooking, but thanks to your recipes and videos, I am really loving it. Everything of yours that I have tried so far has turned out so well. You’re a great teacher.

    My question is, if I don’t have a pressure cooker, how long should I cook the lentils?


  23. Dear Manjula aunty,
    Thank u for ur recipes, its really simple & nice, easy for singlets to make. I tried this recipe with variation with other normal dals coz i dint have what was needed :), but it tasted gr8! Thank you again…

  24. Hallo Manjula ji,

    I must say..your recipes are easy and excellent and with videos its even more easy to see how easily you make your dishes and this makes us realise that cooking is quite easy and I have tried quite a few of them and I love them…no garlic and no onions..exactly the ones I have been looking for ! Thank you so much..!!

  25. Hi Manjula Aunty…

    Your recipes are great and tastes wonderful. I made the Cabbage Pizza which came out well and tasted good too. I do many of your stuff and my hubby loves it. Thanks for your recipes.

    Great work aunty,

  26. Hello, Manjula! Thank you for your recipes. I am not Indian, but I love indian food. Your chole palak is very good.

    I have a question — can I use split black lentils (split urad dal) to the same effect for this recipe?


  27. Hi Manjula Aunty,
    Hats off to you…trust me ur recipes are too good m living abroad since two yrs n we dnt get khoya n all here but i tried ur recipes n it came out so gud tht evry one loved itt..
    thanku so much.

  28. The mango powder is hard to get (I found it at indiablend.com online), but it is critical to the flavor of this recipe. I’ve made it twice. Once before I had amchoor, and it was good, and the second time after I’d got the amchoor and it was fantastic.

  29. Hi Manjula, just discovered your website while looking for a recipe for Dal Makhani, I have only ever had it in a fast food chain Tiffin Bites in London, but you have encouraged me to try cooking it tomorrow!

  30. Hi Manjula aunty, I like all your recipes. I have also tried some and it had come out very well. Aunty can i use split urad dal instead of the whole ones because we don’t get whole ones here…. i have searched most of the supermarkets in Dubai.

  31. I like all your recipes. I don’t miss even a single one. But my question about this recipe for Dal Makhni Is: Where to get cream from since we don’t get “malai “in US? what cream to use?

    Also if you can include in your every recpie where to buy kind of instructions, this will make some of your viewers like me really
    task easy. Rest I will say you really ROCK Aunty…This is a gr8 show and fabulous job that you are doing…

  32. Thank you Manjula,
    I made Makhani Dal tonight and it was really good. I use your site often to get ideas, and it always sparks great ideas.
    However I would also like to take this time in correcting Mahua and few of the other’s comments. Working women are not the only one’s using Manjula’s site. Men like myself whom love to cook also use the site aswell.

  33. Hello Manjula Aunty,
    I made dal makhni and it was realy realy very tasty. i didn’t know cooking at all, but after watching ur site, i learned a lot. Thank you very much aunty.

  34. i was looking up something new recipe because of,i can make quick recipe my self everything.And i have got from you.i have learnt a lot from you. thanks a lot

  35. Hello Aunty ,
    You make it so..easy to learn for us. I tired lot’s of recipes form your web.. like Kofta, Rajama, and many others and i loved it comes out soo good my family enjoyed very much THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR YOUR RECIPES KEEP POSTING PLEASE.

  36. Hello Manjula g, yesterday I tried ur daal makhani recipe and it was amazing… My husband and friends liked it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing nice recipes πŸ™‚

  37. Dear Manjulaji
    Thank you so much for your recipes. I turn to you as I would to my mother to cook delicious dishes for my husband. I have learnt a lot from you. God bless you and may we get to learn a lot more from you.


  38. Hello
    I have been a silent admirer of your site for the longest of times… have tried alu gofi, rasogollas, rajma and many others…
    While I was looking up dal makhani recipe… I just thought its not fair to learn so much from my unknown benefactor without so much as a word of thanks! So…
    You dont know what a big favor you have done to millions of us, working women looking for quick recipes, by creating such a wonderful website.
    THANK YOU πŸ™‚

  39. Dear Aunti ji –
    i’m a new mother and have decided that i need to learn how to cook for my childs sake! thank you for your recipes. Question about dal makhani — do we discard the soaking water or do we keep the soaking water to use in addition to the 4 cups added to the pressure cooker?

  40. Hi Aunty,
    What cream did you add in the end for Dal Makhni? You said heavy cream, how can I prepare this cream.
    All your receipies are very nice and thank you very much for sharing these nice receipies.


  41. hello,

    Would you tell me what kind of pressure cooker that is? I have always wanted one but have been afraid of them, having heard even expert cooks tell stories about them blowing up!

    Yours looks so simple and safe. What make is it? (if you are allowed to say).

    Thanks, Susan

  42. Namaste aunti,
    meene aap se bahut kuch banana seekha hai…thanks a lot for that. I have a question, do we also have to soak the dal with rajama or is it ok if i just soak the rajama for 8 hr as i forgot to soak the dal πŸ™
    Thanks in advance.

  43. aunty,

    cooking was a greek n latin to me..but with ur help i did wonders..:)..thanks for shairing ur cooking knowledge with us….

    aunty cud u tell me what kinda cream is tht which u use in dal makhni…is it sour cream or what????plz help…

  44. Hi,

    Thanks for the easy-delicious recipe. I tried the Dal Makhani, and it was excellent. But it took way more than 8 hours to soften; more like 24 hours. Is there a way to expedite the process?


        1. I soak the dal overnight, which from evening until the next day when I cook it is about 12 – 14 hours. ALSO, I put the dal in hot water when I start the soaking. Try hot water to start the soak.

          Further, I see no reason why split urad wouldn’t work just fine also.

        2. there is a faster way of soaking the beans… I use it quite often… Bring the beans to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the beans sit, uncovered, for 1 hour… you can do (speed-soak) all beans this way. Enjoy!

  45. hi Manjulaji

    namaste, i made dal-makhni with Naans, it was very delicious and tasty. my family liked it very much. I learn t from u – mohanthal , -it was excellent then from ready made sweet shop. i cooked naan in pizza plate, it was nice and ready to eat. Even on next day , after warm in the microwaves it was still good.
    thank for your recipes.

  46. I did a little web searching. The “famous” Dal Bukhara is, as Priyanka says below, simply the Bukhara Restaurant’s version of Dal Makhani.
    The restuarant has very good reviews on the web. If anyone’s going to Delhi and is interested in checking is out, this restaurant is located at: The Maurya Sheraton, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi.

  47. “dal bukhara” is the speciality of Bukhara restaurant in delhi. Bukhara is the best restaurant in India.
    Its ideally the same recipe just the customised name.

  48. Hi Manjula,

    Love the site. Lots of good recipes, but I have a question. I know of a dish kind of like this one called “dal bukhara.” Do you know to make it? I had it once in Delhi and I haven’t had anything that tasty since.



  49. Hi Kate,
    You can get most Indian spices now in American grocery stores. Even in a small town they hopefully carry staples such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, cinnamom, cloves. They even have Garam Masala where I live. I think McCormick makes it.

    Two ideas: 1) you can go on the web and find a store in your state (shipping costs may be less if it’s closer) that is willing to ship to you, 2) stock up next time you drive to a larger city that has Indian grocery stores, 3) call your favorite Indian restaurant in Seattle. Tell them of your plight of having to move so far away and ask them to recommend a reputable grocer or two in Seattle who will do mail order.
    Hope this helps.

    P.S. Most spices keep well for longer than the 6 – 12 months recommended. Keep them closed tightly in a dark cupboard. If they come in plastic bags, like cinnamon sticks, move them into a glass jar that will be more airtight.

    Let us know how you make out. πŸ™‚

  50. Is there a good online source for Hing and other Indian spices? I live in a very tiny town 3 hours from a large city.

    Thank you for this beautiful resource. I can tell that a lot of love and time have gone into it. My son and I love this type of food. We lived near Seattle in the middle of a large Sihk community with many good Indian buffets. Sadly, we must now make it at home if we are ever to have Indian food again. I’m so glad I found you.


  51. Dear Manjula Aunty,
    I have split white urad dal right now, not the whole urad. In your opinion, can I use the split urad for this recipe rather than going to purchase whole urad?
    Thank you.

  52. Dear Manjulaji,
    I like that the portions from your recipes are suitable for 3 to 4 people (approximately). Too many recipes in books serve 6 – 8 people and is too much food for our small family.
    Also, your cooking style reminds me a lot of my mother-in-law back in India. Her style of cooking is uncomplicated, but so pleasing to eat.
    Best to you.

  53. Hi aunty!!! I think you are doing a great job…I used to watch your recipes on youtube but nw I found ur website…thts gr8…am a student and hv jus started cookin…u hv been a gr8 help in makin me learn….thx..:)

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