My dal Makhani is a one in all dish. If you are wondering how can a dal be a one in all, start counting - it is healthy, delicious, fulfilling and heartily true to its Punjabi roots. So what’s the secret ingredient that makes this such a "super-food"? There are three actually - slow cooking, lots of finely chopped ginger and for the third secret you will have to read the recipe.
This is a recipe I learned when I overheard a conversation between one of my Punjabi friend's mom and another guest. It remained with me for many years and I actually started using it when I began serious cooking. The results are OUTSTANDING!
Usually, Dal Makhani is made as a combination of whole urad dal and rajma. But few times it so happened that the rajma didn't cook to mashable consistency while urad dal was done. That's when I started cooking it without rajma and the taste is as good. If you wish to add rajma in the dal, then proportions would be 3/4th cup whole urad dal and 1/4th cup rajma. Both need to be soaked overnight and pressure cook together for about 7 -8 whistles.
- Pressure cook: -
- Whole urad dal - 1 cup, soaked overnight
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
- Ginger - 2
- Water - 4 cups
- Whole garam masala: -
- Cinnamon - 1
- Black Cardamom - 1 no.
- Cloves - 4 nos.
- Black pepper whole - 4 nos.
- Spice mix: -
- Red chilly powder - 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Coriander powder - 1 1/2 teaspoon
- Everest chana masala powder - 1 teaspoon
- Ingredients for gravy: -
- Onion -
- Tomatoes -
- Green chillies - 2, finely chopped (optional)
- Ginger garlic paste: -
- Ginger - 1
- Garlic - 10 - 15 flakes
- Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Liquid mixture: -
- Milk - 300 ml
- Buttermilk - 200 ml
Soak whole urad dal overnight.
Wash and drain it well and pressure cook with salt, turmeric, and finely chopped ginger, on a high flame. After the first whistle reduce the flame and let it cook for 5 more whistles. Once the dal cools down a bit, check if it is done by pressing between your index finger and thumb. If it mashes easily then it is ready. If not, cook some more (for a couple of whistles).
While dal is cooking mix the milk and buttermilk and refrigerate. We want to use it chilled in the dal later. If you do not have buttermilk, then mix some water to plain yogurt to make it as thin as buttermilk.
Finely chop the onion, green chilies and tomatoes keep them aside. Make a paste of the ginger and garlic and keep aside.
In a pan or wok heat oil. To it add all the whole spices and let them cook till they give out aroma and turn brown in color. Now add the finely chopped onion to it and cook till it begins to turn brown (this happens after the translucent stage). Ensure that you keep stirring while you cook these onions.
Add green chili and ginger garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. To this add the finely chopped tomatoes, stir for few times and add all the spices - red chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt and coriander powder. Cook covered, on medium flame, till tomatoes are mushy. Add a little water if required and do stir in between the cooking process to prevent the gravy from getting scorched.
Now mix this gravy, along with a teaspoon of chana masala powder, into the cooked dal. Mix it well and bring to a boil. Add 1/3rd of the chilled milk and buttermilk mixture. Let it come to a boil, reduce flame and let it simmer for half an hour. Do stir a few times in between the cooking process. Repeat this step two more times till all the milk and buttermilk mixture is used up. If at any point you feel that the dal is too thick, add some water to adjust consistency.
Taste the dal to, adjust the seasoning and serve hot with chapati. Just before serving you can add a teaspoon of ghee or butter.