The King of Dal’s

This recipe is a combination of Madhur Jaffrey’s, Anjum Anad’s and mine

It’s one of our favourites, and I first came across it at  The Jashan restaurant, in N London. This dish takes a bit longer than the normal Dal’’s, but is truly worth the effort and wait. It’s been described as the King of Dal’s, and once you have tasted it, you will understand why. Serve it with a simple rice, or some flat breads, a raita, and maybe some greens.

And as the Dal originates from the Punjab, I thought what better than to illustrate it with a photo of the Golden Temple, in the state of Punjab.

Dal Makhani ~ Black buttery Lentils

Ingredients ~

  • 250g whole black lentils, picked through, washed and soaked for at least 3 hours – I use a mixture of home saved dried black beans, whole urid dal, brown lentils and black turtle beans)
  • 1 litre of water (approx.)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 inch peice of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbls tomato puree
  • ½ to 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies, left whole
  • Salt to taste
  • 30g butter
  • ½ onion peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced shreds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Method ~

  • Drain the lentils, and rinse thoroughly. Place in a large saucepan with the fresh water, and cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 to 60 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  • Make a paste of the ginger and garlic.
  • When the lentils are tender, add the tomato puree, chilli powder, green chillies, salt and garlic-ginger paste to the pan.
  • Stir well and cook, covered for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occaisionally.
  • In a separate pan, heat the butter over a low heat, add the onion and the sliced ginger and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Stir the mix into the lentils, add the garam masala and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Serve with the coriander leaves

Variations ~

Many versions of this recipe call for cream to be added at the end of the cooking. I sometimes add a bit of yoghurt to the dal when it is on my plate, but generally skip the cream.

Garam Massala

There are many variations of this spice mix, once of my favourites is the following: –

  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 inch stick of cinnamon
  • ½ a nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf

Grind the ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder to a fine powder.


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