You know I have made these lentils quite a few times in last months.We cooked and we ate, my instagram feed has showcased it a couple of times. But, somehow it is only now in the last week or so of winter that I am getting around to post it. Well, they say better late then never. Right? So while the weather is still cold and snowy make it. Put that pressure cooker to work (or the slow cooker if you want) because I have included both methods in the recipe.
Dal Makhani literally translates to “buttery lentils”. It is a hugely popular dish in the punjabi cuisine.Cooked with whole black urad lentils, red kidney beans, spices and butter, it was not a everyday thing growing up. It was a dish reserved for special occasions. Mom would make it on only on birthdays, anniversary and days of family gatherings. And I can very well understand why.These creamy, melt in the mouth lentils, they need a bit of work. It’s not your usual dump in the pressure cooker and doze off kind of lentils. For that smoky, creamy taste, a rich baghaar (tempering) needs to be prepared. The elements of the tempering are slow roasted on open fire for that superlative yet subtle aroma of spices, sweet – acidic hints of tomato, smoky notes of roasted onions and satiating comfort of butter & dairy. It needs planning and patience. You learn from experience when the lentils have cooked just about right. It took me some time to get a hang of it. Now, after so many years of making it, I can just tell by the look of them if they are perfectly cooked or not.
In our house and indian culture in general, when people host dinners, hospitality is showcased by serving something away from the usual home meals.It is one of mom’s signature recipe.It’s one of the recipes which she has cooked for dozens of guests in our family over the years and handed the method to many. When she visited me few months back here, I saw her making it, the eyeballing the ingredients come naturally to her, she didn’t pick a measuring spoon if I tell you the truth.
It is definitely not your everyday food. It is calorie laden and full of concentrated fats. But it so good. Oh boy! However, the way we prepare it in our homes is different from the restaurant versions, less use of dairy, less sweet, more spicy. Here, you taste the lentils, their creaminess and the warmth of ginger & kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) in each bite. Many people mash or churn the lentils to a baby food consistency, you can do that if you want but I like to keep that extra bite. It works better with my texture -in- food kind of crazy family.
- In our house and indian culture in general, when people host dinners, hospitality is showcased by serving something away from the usual home meals.It is one of mom’s signature recipe.It’s one of the recipes which she has cooked for dozens of guests in our family over the years and handed the method to many. When she visited me few months back here, I saw her making it, the eyeballing the ingredients come naturally to her, she didn’t pick a measuring spoon if I tell you the truth.
- Dear friends, I would like your support in nominations of this year’s Saveur blog awards. It would mean a world to me if you could stop by for a couple of minutes and drop in a nomination if you like & appreciate what I am doing here.The nominations are open till March 13th 2015You do not need to sign up or anything. Just basic information and an email address will do. Thank you so much.
- Printable Recipe
- Ingredients (Makes 3-4 servings)
- Cooking the Lentils
- 1/2 cup whole black urad dal (lentils)
- 2 tbsp red kidney beans
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger (from 1/4″ piece)
- 1 fat garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tejpatta (bay leaf)
- 1/2″ cinnamon stick
- 1 black cardamom (skip if not available)
- 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida powder)
- 3-4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- For the Baghaar (Tempering)
- 1 medium onion (~yield 1/2 cup when blended )
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 large tomatoes (~yield a little more than 1/2 cup when blended)
- 4 tablespoon oil(any neutral)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder (or paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (or cayenne, adjust to taste)
- 2″ fresh ginger shoot, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves, available at indian grocery stores )
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon amchoor (dry mango powder or squirt fresh mime juice at the end of cooking)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2-3 tablespoon butter
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (or more depending on how creamy you want, optional)
- Cilantro to garnish