This Dal Makhani recipe is a restaurant style version with subtle smoky flavors and creaminess of the lentils. If you love authentic Punjabi food then you are going to love this Dal Makhani even more.
Dal Makhani is one of the most popular lentil recipes from the North Indian Punjabi cuisine made with Whole Black Lentils (known as Urad dal or Kaali Dal in Hindi) and Kidney Beans (known as Rajma in Hindi).
For this recipe, I have used a pressure cooker to cook the lentils, but I have explained the method of cooking the lentils in a pan or pot in the notes section of the recipe card.
I have also shared my expert tips and frequently asked questions by our readers on this recipe below. In the FAQ section below, I also share the method of making this dal makhani in the Instant Pot.
Why this recipe works
Before I list out and explain to you the beauty of this recipe, let me tell you that this Dal Makhani recipe is one of our most reviewed and loved recipe on the blog.
It has been made by many of our readers and they have loved it. It also happens to be my most shared recipe on social media.
So what makes this recipe so good and why is it one of the best Dal Makhani recipe.
Fragrant and aromatic whole spices make this Dal Makhani more flavorful.
In my experimentation with this dish earlier, I remember making dal makhani without whole spices many times and hoping to get restaurant like taste and flavors in the lentils. But it never matched and my experiments continued.
When we were residing in Goa, we used to have dal makhani in a restaurant (and it was one of their best dish) at the quiet and serene Benaulim beach.
I once found a black cardamom and clove in their dal makhni. I thought may be it is the black cardamom and clove giving that lovely aroma and flavor.
Thereafter I tested dal makhani many times adding whole spices and realized that they do add a good flavor and faint aroma to the dish. But I still felt something was lacking.
Butter and cream
Cream and butter make a big difference.
Thus I kept on experimenting and when I was testing the recipe of Dal Bukhara, I realized it was the cream and butter giving a rich taste, apart from the slow cooking.
The richness in the dish comes from the fats in the butter and cream. The amount of butter and cream added is not copious and just enough to lift the dish in its richness.
You could still make dal makhani with less butter and cream. Just remember to slow cook it for longer periods of time, to get the real deal.