250 gms black lentils                                                                                                                             

    50 gms kidney beans

    3 tbsp ghee or clarified butter

    2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

    600 gms tomato purée, can use the canned variety

    200 gms butter, salted

    100 gms fresh cream

    20 gms garam masala powder can be store bought   link

    30 gms red chilli powder (deggi mirch to add colour)

    10 gms kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves

    2 cups water

    Salt, to taste

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Ingredient Substitution Guide


1. Wash and soak whole urad or black lentils and kidney beans in water overnight.

2. The following day, drain the water and pour the legume and lentil mix into a cooking pot. Add two cups of water to it along with 1 tsp salt. Alternatively, for a quicker result, you can pressure cook it for seven whistles. However, the traditional way is to slow cook dal makhani for hours on a slow flame. The reason is that the dal and its skin need to cook together, which can only be possible when cooked on a slow flame. Note: Keep removing the scum accumulated on top of the dal as it cooks or else the dal makhani will smell slightly funky.

3. Once done, turn off the flame, remove the cooking pot, and whisk the dal to emulsify it. Keep aside.

4. To sauté: Heat a pan and pour ghee followed by ginger and garlic paste, garam masala powder, tomato purée, and red chilli powder. Sauté until the masalas are cooked and the raw ginger-garlic smell fades away.

Chef Budhathoki prefers a mix of whole garam masala which consists of – coriander seeds, cumin seeds, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, black cardamoms, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, mace, star anise and black peppercorns. You can create your own mix too. Watch this detailed guide to making garam masala.

5. Then, add the mashed dal to the cooked masalas, followed by salt and one cup of water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. After that, add crushed fenugreek leaves (dry roast and hand crush fenugreek leaves for best results) and fresh cream, simmer for three minutes. Once done, keep it aside. Dal makhani requires little to no garnish. However, if you like, drizzle some fresh cream on top and serve warm with rumali roti or naan (leavened bread made in a tandoor or clay oven).