Saturday, September 12, 2009

Punjabi Dal Makhani - Maa Di Dal - Black Lentils Cooked in Creamy Gravy

It was a lazy afternoon and I was browsing for some good shows to watch. That is when I happened to watch this Madhur Jaffery’s cookery show where she was visiting Amritsar. I was totally glued and for the next hour or so I thoroughly enjoyed the way she enthralled the viewers by showing the real Punjabi cuisine visiting houses, colleges, gurdwaras and even a river bank to cook up some scrumptious dishes..

One such dish caught my attention for the simplicity in which she portrayed it. That was the Maa di Dal or Dal Makhani that was served as a part of the Langar at the Gurudwaras.

Langar is the term used in the Sikh religion for the free, vegetarian-only food served in a Gurudwara. Langar is a community meal that is open to all irrespective of caste or creed.

This simple meal is prepared by hundreds of volunteers, consists of mounds of Roti or unleavened Bread and Dal or creamy legume based side dish to go with the Bread.

It is a simple recipe but is so delicious to make. For once you may need to forego the calorie calculator and enjoy this yummy dish with bread of your choice.

You will need:

  • Black Lentils or Ural Dal (whole) - 1 Cup

  • Rajma or Red Kidney Beans-1/2 Cup

  • Tomatoes -3 Medium, finely chopped

  • Garam Masala- 1 tsp

  • Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 tsp

  • Garlic Minced - 2 tsp

  • Ginger Minced - 2 tsp

  • Onion finely chopped -1 Medium

  • Salt to taste

  • Ghee - 1 tbsp

  • Fresh Cream -1 tbsp

  • A dollop of Butter


  1. Wash the Dal and Rajma and soak it overnight.

  2. The next morning change the water, add some salt and pressure cook the Dal and Rajma.

  3. Once the dal gets cooked well, add the tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger, butter and 1/2 tsp of the chilli powder and let it cook for some time till the tomoatoes are well cooked.

  4. At this point in time add the fresh cream, salt and the Garam Masala and let it simmer for a while.

  5. Now take the Ghee in a small pan for tempering. Once it is hot enough add the chopped onions and fry till the onions are brown. Add the rest of the chilli powder (1/2 tsp) and then add this tempering into the simmering dal.

  6. Close the lid and switch off the flame. At this point the dal would have attained the creamy thickeness desired. If it too thick you may add a little water though.

  7. Serve the dal with Roti or Nan. Try it when you have guests to impress ;-) Enjoy!!

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