April 7, 2013

Dal Makhni

Dal Makhni is one of the many famous dishes of Punjab. Whenever I order Dal Makhni in a restaurant, the delicious creamy taste remains with me for days and I plan to make it each time. But Whole black urad dal, as an ingredient is very sparsely used at my home (being a south Indian). So I have always delayed preparing this dal. Recently I vowed, whatever it is, I would include the black urad dal in the grocery list. And voila, my Dal Makhni finally arrived. By the way, all my calorie conscious friends out there, you may straight away skip this page. Dal Makhni is a high fat, high calorie dish for the brave-hearted!
Whole Black urad dal = Maa ki dal  = Black Lentils

Whole black urad dal -1 cup
Rajma/Kidney beans – dark or light variety – 1 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon – 2 small sticks
Cloves – 4
Cumin seeds -  1 tsp
Tomato – 2
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1 pinch
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Fresh cream – 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 5-6 sprigs

Before you begin:

Soak the black urad dal and Rajma (Kidney beans) overnight.

1st picture: Whole black urad dal and Rajma                          
2nd picture: Whole black urad dal and Rajma after overnight soaking                  
3rd picture: Dal Makhni (missed clicking the pressure cooked dal!                                                                                                            
 How I prepare:  
1.   Pressure cook the soaked dal and rajma for atleast 6-7 whistles. Once the cooker is ready to open, mash the dal and rajma well.
2.    Chop the tomatoes and blend into smooth puree.
3.    In a pan/kadai, add some butter. When it is hot enough, add cumin seeds. And cinnamon sticks and cloves.
4.    When the cumin seeds sizzle, add the tomato puree. To this, add ginger-garlic paste, Asafoetida, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, salt, and let it cook well until oil starts separating from the mixture.
5.    To this, pour the cooked dal and rajma and let it simmer for half an hour. Add water according to the consistency you prefer. I made it a little thick because I served it with phulkas (Did not want the dal running around the plate!).
6.    Keep stirring in between as the dal tends to settle on the bottom of the pan. So you will avoid burnt dal by stirring every few minutes.
7.   Restaurants are known to cook this dal overnight on a low flame for the best flavour. At home, we shall cook it well enough to suit our convenience!
8.     Just before turning off the flame, add 2 tablespoons of fresh cream and cook for a minute or two.
9.     Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with phulkas or rice.

I served it with hot phulkas and fresh cucumber salad. We know how velvety and delicious Dal Makhni tastes in restaurants. The key to that texture is well cooked dal and rajma – mashed to perfection and of course cream. Heavy cream suits best. Half and half will make the dal runny. I have tried with half and half and cannot argue that it makes for a lighter meal.
Do try this absolutely tasty, creamy dal and get praised for its melt-in-the-mouth flavour! And yes, it is known to taste better after warming up the next day, since the flavours infuse better. The next day, we had it as a side to rasam rice.

Dal Makhni

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