Dal Makhani

by Andie Mitchell on November 3, 2010

I do believe that nearly every food deserves respect. That they all have a place somewhere in someone’s belly. But up until a year ago, lentils had no place in mine.

I might have even tacked them to the list of largely inedible things, just below styrofoam and dimes, both surprisingly untasty.

I’ve since reconsidered this list. But I encourage you to trust me on the dimes.

So very recently, in my ongoing quest to taste every worldly place without physically visiting, I gave lentils another go. “Annnd show meee….Indian!”

They wooed me.

The lentils, after simmering for an hour with fresh zesty ginger, savory garlic, cayenne, and a few pats of sweet cream butter, turned tricks on my taste buds. They were all at once sweet and spicy, familiarly comforting yet exotic, simple but shockingly flavorful. Texture-wise, they mash and melt as pleasantly as I imagine porridge would.

I think it’s the balance of ginger with garlic, and the way that butter and a few tips of the cream carton lend a silky and luscious richness.

And then there was naan. Sweet lovely naan. All blistered and buttered, chewy and garlicky.

This meal deserves to be made, if for no other reason than it’s just the easiest thing to do. And it’s cheap. And really, like I said before, lentils deserve respect too.

Place the dried lentils in a medium pot and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring it to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Drain and return to the pot. Place the pot on the burner again.

Add the tomato sauce, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and butter. Stir and let the mixture simmer over low heat, covered, for 1 hour.

Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more cayenne if you’d like it spicier.

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cream. Serve with minced fresh cilantro.

Dal Makhani

adapted from Nirvana Restaurant, as seen on SteamyKitchen

(serves 3)

1 cup dried lentils

15 oz can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

fresh cilantro for garnish

Place the dried lentils in a medium pot and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring it to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Drain and return to the pot. Place the pot on the burner again.

Add the tomato sauce, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and butter. Stir and let the mixture simmer over low heat, covered, for 1 hour.

Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more cayenne if you’d like it spicier.

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cream. Serve with minced fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Information for 1/3 of recipe:

Calories: 328, Total Fat: 12.4g, Cholesterol: 34.1mg, Sodium: 914.2mg, Carbohydrate: 41.7g, Fiber: 17.1g, Sugars 7g, Protein: 13.1g

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna November 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

Mmmm…I LOVE Dal. It is so comforting, but a bit exotic at the same time!

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katecooks November 3, 2010 at 9:05 am

not only does this sound relatively easy to make, i actually can easy compile all the ingredients (honestly, my number one recipe requirement!!). i am definitely adding this to the “to make” list – thanks!! now i just have to find some naan that looks as good as yours…

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thecompletecookbook November 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

Oh yummy! My husband’s secretary always spoils me by sending me her homemade dal. Your version looks fabulous and naan is ALWAYS a hit. :-) Mandy

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Shanna, like Banana November 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

I had no idea this could be so easy! I most definitely have to make it..and I may cheat and just buy Trader Joe’s naan ;)

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Sana November 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

I am Indian and I am sooo impressed with your Dal :)
Sadly Dal is one of those things I can only eat once in a blue moon…

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spabettie November 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

this looks FABULOUS and pretty easy! *starred in my reader*

Thanks for sharing !

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Jenna November 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Gorgeous pictures! This recipe looks awesome. Man, I need to plan my whole meal plan for next week around your recipes . . .

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runningaroundnormal November 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Yes!! This sounds great! Thanks for posting:)

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cookinfanatic November 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Lentils are so underrated, I love them! This recipe sounds so delicious, I love how easy yet flavorful it is. Your photos are gorgeous too by the way, yum :D

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M.J. Jacobsen November 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Ohhh, I love lentils, this sounds so good, and comforting too! As usual, you amaze me!! :)

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Jenna November 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm

this looks great! i’ve been looking for a reason to make naan as posted on eat, live, run a few weeks ago, and now it looks like i have it!

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anjelina November 4, 2010 at 5:30 am

Dal Makhani Bukhara looks yummy but interestingly i m seeing the dish for the first time in red color or else its always a dark reddish brown color :)

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Leah @ Why Deprive? November 4, 2010 at 9:03 am

Yummmm!!! This looks so good, I LOVE Indian food! And those pictures are gorgeous. :)

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niraj June 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

the dis looks good but Dal Makhni is nt not made from this lentil.It’s a black urad lentil that we use.It’s got a creamier taste and is dark brown.
Dal is never reddish in color in original india. :)…but a nice try

Reply

niraj June 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

the dish looks good but Dal Makhni is nt not made from this lentil.It’s a black urad lentil that we use.It’s got a creamier taste and is dark brown.
Dal is never reddish in color in original india. :)…but a nice try

Reply

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