Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Not a Weeknight Recipe: Dal Makhani

I was introduced to lentils late in life and have loved them in most presentations I've tried. My all-time favorite might be mujadera, which is on my list to make as soon as I'm in the mood for spending an hour or so caramelizing onions.

The other lentil dish that might be my favorite is dal makhani. The recipe I found has some good points and bad points, but the end result was absolutely delicious.

  • 1 Cup dry lentils (I used brown ones, red would also do fine)
  • 1/4 Cup dry kidney beans, optional (I used these, but they didn't actually cook all the way through and I have no idea why)
  • Water to cover (for soaking)
  • 5 cups of water (I used broth, and this was really too much)
  • 2 Tablespoons salt (I used a T and it turned out to be way too much. I should have considered that there was salt in the low-sodium broth and probably added maybe a teaspoon total)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used avocado, see below)
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods (I used 6 because I love cardamom so much)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken (in several pieces)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1.5 Tablespoons ginger paste (I keep chopped ginger in a jar around, grating or mincing the same amount would probably be fine, though I suggest if you mince add the ginger earlier in the cooking process to give it time to soften)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons garlic paste (see comment above)
  • .5 teaspoon ground tumeric (I used more like 2 teaspoons because there was only a little left in the jar)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 1 Cup canned tomato puree
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup of butter (half a stick)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried fenugeek leaves (I used powdered fenugeek)
  • 1/2 Cup cream, optional
I've been using avocado oil lately because of the light taste and I thought this was another great opportunity to take advantage of the lightness.


  • Place lentils and kidney beans in a large bowl; cover with plenty of water. Soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain.
  • Cook lentils, kidney beans, 5 cups water, and salt in a pot over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and set aside. Keep the lentils, kidney beans, and any excess cooking water in the pot. The nice part about this step is it gives you time to measure out and have all your ingredients ready. I was talked in cooking classes that you should always do this, but Nexx will tell you I can be a little haphazard when prepping.)
  • Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook cumin seeds in the hot oil until they begin to pop, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cloves; cook until bay leaves turn brown, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; add ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat.
  • Stir tomato puree into spice mixture; cook over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, coriander, and butter; cook and stir until butter is melted.Stir lentils, kidney beans and any leftover cooking water into tomato mixture; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Stir fenugreek into lentil mixture. Cover saucepan and simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Add cream and cook until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.
Following the recipe was pretty easy, but I ended up with way too much cooking liquid in the lentils. We ended up fishing the lentils and some of the sauce into a pot with a slotted spoon. I'm not sure if that means cooking them a little longer or using less liquid; I will have to experiment.

I forgot the cream, but when I realized it, I decided we really didn't needed. There was a little creaminess from the butter, and that was enough. This came out delicious, rich, complicated. We served it with chicken that I sautéed with some curry leaves, a recipe that I am going to perfect when I get some new curry leaves. 

I'll definitely make this again, though probably not for a while because it took so long. The leftovers, on the other hand, can easily be microwaved and put over rice.

Questions? Comments? A good mujadera recipe? Let's hear from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment