Dal Makhani is a popular Punjabi dish basically made of two beans (dal)- urad bean and kidney bean that are slow cooked with spices and butter (makhan).
Typically, fresh cream is used in dal makhani, that lends a very creamy texture, but this recipe uses a healthier alternative for fat-rich cream, with no compromise on taste.
This recipe of dal makhani is so perfect with all the right flavours yet healthier.
Punjabi dishes are known to be so rich, utterly delicious and one of the first choices anyone would go for, in a North Indian cuisine.
Be it dal makhani, paneer dishes, rajma masala, aloo gobi etc., I can never get enough of these lip-smacking curries that the Punjabi cuisine offers.
They can be served with any Indian flatbread and a dollop of butter melting on them just takes the entire meal to a next level. And wouldn’t some lassi or chaas by the side to sip on, make it even better?
What is the key to making perfect dal makhani?
The key to making a perfect dal makhani lies in slow cooking. Simmering the curry on low flame for almost an hour is what makes dal makhani so heavenly.
And of course, the balanced use of Indian spices is equally important. I had tried making dal makhani multiple times, but I always sensed the lack of something.
After doing some research on this, I found out, that ‘something’ was whole spices and not just the other powders. Also, adding them along with the dal to pressure cook certainly gives a much flavourful dal makhani.
What makes this recipe healthier?
Although making dal makhani is a long process, right from the time of soaking, it is TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT! Trust me on this.
And guess what, this recipe has no fresh cream that is otherwise typically used. But yes, feel free to use cream if you like.
If you are looking for a healthier version without compromising on the taste, I can say milk does equal justice to the recipe. I have used low-fat milk (as a replacement to cream) and low-fat butter, in this recipe. You can whole milk and normal full fat butter instead.
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all. I would love to hear your feedback on this. When you try it, kindly post your valuable comments below or share it with me personally on Instagram / Facebook, or post it with due courtesy. You may also pin it on Pinterest.
Recipes you might want to try:
Let us get started with the recipe of dal makhani, shall we?
** Standard Measurement: 1 cup= 250mL
Dal Makhani Recipe, Punjabi Dal Makhani Healthier Version
To Pressure Cook
- 3/4 cup urad beans (black gram)
- 1/4 cup kidney beans (rajma)
- 3 cups water
- a pinch of salt
- 2 nos. bay leaf
- 1 no. black cardamom
- 3 to 4 nos. green cardamom
- 3 to 4 nos. cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons butter - low fat, unsalted
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 inch fresh ginger - , finely chopped
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic - , finely chopped
- 2 nos. onions - , finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 1.5 tablespoons red chilly powder
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1.5 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 1/4 cup milk - whole or skimmed
- water - , as required
- salt - , to taste
To Garnish (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cashew paste
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh coriander leaves - , finely chopped
- Soak urad beans and kidney beans in enough water such that they are well immersed. Leave this for 7 to 8 hours or overnight such that the beans swell up´well.
- Transfer the soaked beans to a pressure cooker along with 3 cups water and all the other ingredients given under 'To Pressure Cook'. Pressure cook this up to 5 or 6 whistles. The beans should have been cooked very well, so that they are soft when pressed. Once done, set this aside for the pressure to release.
- Now heat a deep heavy bottomed pan / kadai, add butter and let it melt. Next, add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add finely chopped ginger and garlic until they are brown. Be careful not to burn them. Now add chopped onions and saute until they turn translucent.
- Once the onions are cooked, add coriander powder (dhania powder) and red chilly powder and saute for a few minutes until the raw smell goes. Now add tomato puree, stir well and let this cook until it gets thick and starts to release fat from the butter.
- Meanwhile, gently mash the cooked beans (not completely) and pour all the ingredients in the pressure cooker to the pan. Keep the heat in LOW. Mix everything thoroughly and add some more salt as per taste. If you are using salted butter, mind the quantity of extra salt.
- Add some water if dal makhani is too thick. Add garam masala and crushed kasuri methi and stir well. Let this simmer in LOW HEAT for about 40 minutes. Make sure to stir it often so that it does not get stuck to the bottom of the pan. Gradually dal makhani starts to thicken and reduce in quantity.
- Once it has been simmered well, pour milk and stir well. Simmer the mixture again for about 10 minutes. If you find your dal makhani to be too thick even after adding milk, you can add some water and simmer for few more minutes. Do not use excess amount of milk as this will decrease the flavour of dal makhani.
- Garnish with cashew paste or fresh cream (if you wish to) and coriander leaves. This step is optional though. Serve with any flatbread of your choice like roti, naan, kulcha, phulka or with rice and enjoy.
- Some families prepare dal makhani only with urad bean. But, I have always had with both urad and rajma and I prefer this version.
- I have used low fat butter and milk. You can use as per your convenience.
- There is no difference in taste even if you use after using milk. But if you wish to, you can use fresh cream.
- Garnishing with cashew paste is totally optional. On days when I am cooking dal makhani generally, I do not use it. Here I have used to show an alternative to cream, if you wish to garnish. Again, you can still use cream, if you wish to.
- This quantity of dal makhani makes 4 to 5 servings. Do not worry if you have leftovers, refrigerate and heat it again with some water when required. Do not add milk when you are reheating, as more the milk, lesser the flavour of dal makhani. Dal makhani tastes all´the more delicious the next day.
- Use almond milk for a vegan version. Or you may skip adding milk, if you do not like to. It still tastes great. But make sure you mash some cooked dal as this will make the gravy creamier.
- And finally, remember to cook this in low flame for at least 40 minutes in total. More the cooking time, more delicious would your dal makhani turn out to be.