Punjabi Dal Makhani or Black Gram lentil dip

The Kali Dal Makhani is the cornerstone of punjabi cusine….a dish that would be omnipresent in any buffet , party or even if you are invited to a punjabi household for a meal. This is such an indominitable part of the punjabi cusine that it is virtually a “must have” choice in any restaurant. Mind you , this is such an accompaniment that a meal is considered incomplete if this is not present. This dish has many variants but what i would like to present here is the dhaba variant which I guess should be the correct one. I apologise in advance to all those connoiseurs who would disagree with me and request you all to send me a small note at the end of this recipe in your comments as to what coukd i tweak to make this better. This , to me, is the most difficult dish to perfect.
Ingredients :

Broken Black Gram Dal – 2 cups

Bengal Gram Dal – 1 cup

Onion – 2 nos finely chopped

Tomatoes – 2 nos pureed

Ginger – a small piece

Garlic – 5 pods

Green Chillies – 2 – 3 nos chopped fine

Coriander or Cilantro leaves – 1 bunch

Jeera or Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Kashmiri Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp

Coriander Powder – 1 tsp

Clarified Butter or Desi Ghee – 1 tbsp

Butter yellow or unsalted -50 gms.


  1. I usually mix and soak both the lentils for about one hour before cooking.
  2. In a pressure cooker combine both lentils , water about 2 times the measure of the lentils and some salt. Now keep this on a high flane for one whistle and then reduce the flame to low and allow it to cook for about 15 minutes.
  3. In a seperate vessel which is big enough to accomodate the cooked dal once done, put one tbsp of clarified butter and fry the giner and garlic (made into a paste…make fresh do not use the store bought one) until the raw smell goes off and then put in the onions and fry them until they turn dark brown in colour. Now put in the tomato puree along with a little salt , cover and keep on a low flame for about 2 minutes until the tomatoes cook well and become one homogenous mass with the onions.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done add the powders (turmeric ; kashmiri chilli , coriander) powders and mix well. Take care to do all this on a low flame so that the spices do not burn.Add the green chillies along with this. Now add 1/2 cup water and stir well and cover and cook for about 2 minutes. By this time this entire mixture should give out a fairly heavy aroma.
  5. Cooking is all about using all your senses…sight , sound , smell, ┬átouch and taste. Once you get this aroma it is time for you to add your lentils along with the water (won’t be much left)which you have pressure cooked earlier. Mix well with the mix at the bottom of the pan. You can lighly mash the lentils as you mix so as to get a bit of thickness and the dals are not floating seperate in the water.
  6. I usually add half a tomato finely sliced at this stage to give a bit of colour to the dal. Now add the garam masala and mix it well into the dal and cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes on a low flame. The garam masala is added at the last stage to give a nice aroma and a light spice flavour to the dal.
  7. Now turn of the dal . We now move to the tempering and the garnishing. Take a tempering wok and drop the butter into it and allow it to melt. Keep the flame low so as to not burn the butter.now add 1/2 a spoon of the kashmiri chilli powder, switch off the flame and add this to the dal and give it a good stir.
  8. What I am telling you next is optional. Take one heaped spoon of whipped cream and drop into the dal.
  9. Add chopped Cilantro and mix it into the dal . You will find that the cream forms a white swirl on top of the dal.
  10. Serve with roti , rice or just about anything or just have it standalone.
  11. This recipe serves 6 and each serving has about 170 calories oth 18 gms or proteins and 32 gms of healthy carbs. The fat contrnt is high at about 11 gms due to the cream , ghee and butter but i wont argue about good fats and bad fats here. It wont harm you much.

Do drop me a line as to how you liked this, how correct i am , and how much you enjoyed it. The minute that you take to pen your comments do go a long way to encourage and motivate.

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