As good as home cooked – Dal Makhani(Creamy black lentils)

 rajah dal

I have been travelling away from home over the last two weeks. Whilst I immensely enjoyed the cuisines and flavours of the places I visited, I started missing the simple taste of home cooked meal towards the end of my trip. I was craving for dal (lentils) and rice, which for me is the ultimate in Indian comfort food. The soothing combination of rice and cooked lentils brings an enormous sense of warmth and bliss. The flight back to London was spent thinking and preparing for a home coming meal. I reached home late and stopped at my local Indian store to pick up some milk. I noticed packs of ready made lentils on the shelf. I have always been apprehensive about any ready prepared meals, but I decided to give it a go as it had become a bit too late to cook, and I wanted to eat dal and rice!

I bought the Dal makhani, which is an amazing dish from Punjabi cuisine prepared with lentils and beans combined with spices and cooked to get a creamy texture. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the heat and stir pack of dal was delicious and tasted as good as home cooked. And it was ready to eat in 3 minutes!

The traditional preparation of dal makhani involves a series of time-consuming procedures, which can take up to 24 hours to complete or can be made in a pressure cooker in a couple of hours.

Here is the recipe of my home cooked Dal Makhani Recipe ( pressure cooked)


  • ½ cup whole black gram (sabut urad)
  • 2 tablespoons red kidney beans (rajma)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon Red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh ginger chopped
  • Oil 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies slit in half
  • 2 tomatoes medium
  • 1 teaspoon Garam masala powder
  • 1 table spoon cream ( optional)


  • Pick, wash and soak sabut urad (black lentils) and rajma (red kidney beans) overnight in three cups of water. Drain.
  • Boil sabut urad and rajma in three cups of water with salt and half the red chilli powder (you can add half the ginger too if you wish) for three whistles in a pressure cooker. Open the lid and see if the rajma is totally soft. If not cook on low heat till the rajma becomes totally soft.
  • Heat butter and oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they begin to change colour, onion, and fry for a two minutes; then add the ginger, garlic sauté till dark brown
  • Add slit green chillies, tomatoes and sauté on high heat. Add the remaining red chilli powder and sauté till the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp.
  • Add the cooked dal and rajma along with the cooking liquid. Add some water if the mixture is too thick.
  • Bring to boil and simmer on low heat till the dals are totally soft and well blended.
  • Add garam masala powder and adjust salt.
  • Leave to simmer, uncovered, till well blended.
  • Option – Stir-in cream and once it gets heated through, serve immediately, garnished with green chillies

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