Dhal Makhani | Hari Ghotra
4.4/5 rating (34 votes)

Dhal Makhani

Buttery Black Lentil Dhal

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info VEGETARIAN
  • Prep10 mins
  • Cook30 mins
Dhal Makhani

A true Punjabi dhal, earthy and wholesome, made with black lentils and kidney beans in a wonderfully rich, buttery sauce.

Hari says

An old school dhal made with black lentils and kidney beans. Traditionally, this would be cooked slowly for hours to create the thick buttery consistency it's famous for. This dhal is poor man's food, yet it is rich in protein and I think is really simple food at its best. Now this style of slow cooking doesn't always work in the western world, so I speed up the process by soaking the beans and lentils overnight and then use a pressure cooker. You still get the buttery consistency you want, yet unlike the restaurant version I don't add buckets of cream (but I make up for this with a good chunk of butter!).

To buy the main ingredients for my Makhani, check out my curry kit here.

Top Tip:

If you haven’t got the time to make this in the evening, then you can slow cook it so it’s ready when you get in. Find out more here.

  • Ingredients
  • Method


  • 100g dry urid dhal (whole black lentils)
  • 25g dry rajma (kidney beans)


  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • 3cm piece ginger, crushed
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, puréed
  • 2 green chillies, slit in ½
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaf (kasoori methi)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Clean, wash and soak the black lentils and kidney beans separately, overnight.
  2. Drain and keep aside. Combine the two dhals and add 2 cups of water with a little salt and put into a pressure cooker and cook for about 25 minutes until they are cooked and soft. (DO NOT REMOVE the lid of the pressure cooker until fully cooled and pressure has been released.)
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
  4. When the cumin seeds crackle, add chopped onions and garlic.
  5. Fry the onion until golden brown over a medium flame.
  6. Stir in the tomato purée, add the turmeric, chilli powder, ginger, green chillies and crushed coriander.
  7. Cook for a few minutes so the onions and tomatoes melt together.
  8. Add the cooked dhal and 1 cup of water and season with a little salt to taste.
  9. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes until it is lovely and thick. (Take care as it may catch on the bottom of the pan.)
  10. Stir in the butter, garam masala and fenugreek to make the dhal rich and delicious.
  11. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander and serve.

Served with

Serve with plain basmati rice and a good dollop of butter.

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)3.4
of which saturates (g)1.8
Carbohydrates (g)13
of which sugars (g)3.4
Fibre (g)1.5
Protein (g)6.2
Salt (mg)1.1
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments (12)

  • James


    24 June 2018 at 20:32 |
    Hi. If I use the slow cooker method for this, do I stil have to soak overnight?



    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      24 June 2018 at 20:57 |
      Hi James If you are going to cook for 8-10 hours then no you don't need to. If you want to cook for 6 hours then yes soak overnight. It's a great one to cook overnight for 10 hours - Hope that helps. Thanks Hari


  • Cateraar Den Haag

    Cateraar Den Haag

    07 November 2017 at 07:41 |
    This looks incredible! Yum!
    Catering Den Haag


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      07 November 2017 at 13:54 |
      Hope you enjoy it! thanks Hari


  • Reg


    12 January 2017 at 21:36 |
    Hi, just made this for first time yesterday and it was so good! I do have a question about crushing ingredients; is smacking it with a meat hammer good enough or should I be using a garlic press or heavy pan to squish it into a mush? I could grind it up with mortar and pestle as well? Thanks, Reg


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      13 January 2017 at 08:17 |
      Hi Reg This is my favourite dhal too deep and rich in flavour. In terms of crushing stuff a pestle and mortar will do unless you need to get your frustrations of the day out then I suggest a meat hammer!! Hope this helps Hari


  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    16 August 2015 at 07:40 |
    Hi Nigel - Just fantastic to hear that you tried it without the pressure cooker it is a bit more effort but as you say - well worth the effort!. I'm so happy to hear that you really liked the flavours! Low and slow always works -Thanks so much for letting me know Hari


  • Nigel


    14 August 2015 at 12:36 |
    Hello Hari,

    I thought I would let you know how I got on - and hopefully help anyone contemplating this dish without using a pressure cooker.

    I followed your advice to the letter; soaking the dhals overnight then cooking on a very low heat on the cooker for four hours. I used a litre of water which turned out to be ample and the dhal were lovely and soft. Once drained I just kept to your recipe.

    The result? The best dhal I have ever tasted! Well worth that little bit of extra effort.

    Thank you.


  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    11 August 2015 at 12:37 |
    Hi Nigel Well, my mum tells me that in India when this dhal would be cooked on low burning embers from a fire overnight which is where you get the creaminess. This dhal will take a good 4-5 hours to cook in a normal pan on a low heat, I would use 1L of water to start with but this will need to be topped up as and when required so keep an eye on it. Let me know how it comes out and please make sure the lentils are cooked through and that they are completely soft as they can be dangerous if not cooked properly. Thanks


  • Nigel


    10 August 2015 at 13:34 |
    Hello Hari,

    I would love to give this recipe a try, but cannot use a pressure cooker. Could you advise me of the amount of water and time needed to prepare the dahls in a pan?



  • Kevin Lewis

    Kevin Lewis

    18 November 2014 at 17:03 |
    This I found stunning just on its own. A really good lunchtime snack.


  • David Crichton

    David Crichton

    16 May 2014 at 10:20 |
    I was looking for a dhal to go with spiced duck and coriander chutney. This fit the bill perfectly.



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Hari Ghotra