Dal Makhani is a classic Indian dish with lentils in a cream-based sauce. This recipe is a twist on the classic with East-Indian bottle masala. It’s a simple and easy recipe that gets done in just 20 minutes with pre-soaked moong dal.
This recipe can also be used with beans such as kidney beans or rajma to make rajma masala. I have used yogurt today but you can use fresh cream. The butter at the end gives it a wonderful flavor but also gives the sauce a satin-like smooth feel. I highly recommend using butter. If you do not want to make a spicy dal you can also try my yellow dal recipe.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Dal – I am using yellow moong dal but you can use a combination of dal such as 3/4 cup moong dal, 1/4 cup toor darl, and 1/4 cup channa dal. It makes for a lovely texture.
- Ghee or clarified butter – while you can replace it with oil, this small amount does add a wonderful flavor and aroma to this dish. Highly recommend using it.
- Mustard seeds – I have yet to find a recipe for dal without spluttered mustard seeds. It just is a wonderful combination.
- Garlic – I like to add garlic to my dal as well as my tadka but you can add it only to the tadka
- Ginger is another favorite but not usually used to add flavor to dal but you can certainly omit.
- Chily – I like to use a combiation of red and green chilies but you can also use chilly flakes.
- Herbs – a combination of dill and coriander leaves is my absolute favorite but you can omit the dill as it does have a strong aroma.
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- Saute Pan
- Cutting Board
- 1 cup (204 g) Yellow lentils split moong dal
- 2 tbsp Ghee or cooking oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 4 Curry leaves
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds jeera
- 2 Green chilies optional
- 1/2 tsp Garlic sliced
- 1/2 tsp Ginger grated
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 cup Tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric masala Haldi
- 2 tsp Bottle masala
- 1/2 cup Yogurt plain or whipping cream
- 2 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Cilantro Kothmir
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- Clean, sort, and wash lentils. Time permitting soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Pro tip – soaking will soften the lentils making them cook evenly and reduce the cooking time.
- In a pressure cooker – add ghee and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, and green chilies.For Instant pot – use the saute mode and turn it off when if it becomes too hot. Since you can't lower heat turning it off and on is the best way to manage the heat
- Next, add the onions and saute until translucent. Now, add the garlic and ginger – saute for 30 seconds
- Then, add the tomatoes along with bottle masala and turmeric powder. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, mashing the tomatoes until fragrant. If necessary add a few tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning.
- Next, add the dal and water. Season with salt and pepper
- Cover the cook the dal – For the pressure cooker and put the lid with the valve and whistle. Cook on medium heat for 3 to 4 whistles and let natural release– for the Instant pot -first, switch the saute mode off. Then, cover with the lid to the closed position and set the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes and let natural release– for stovetop – it will take from 30 to 45 minutes depending on how long the lentils were soaked. Pro tip – It is best to use natural release otherwise the lentil particles can go into the whistle or seal valve which is difficult to clean.
- Open the pan, add the yogurt, butter, and cilantro leaves – Combine well but do not overcook as the yogurt can split or curdle.
- Taste and adjust seasoning – if necessary add water for consistency.
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