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Northern India Cooking Class; Lesson 7: Dal Makhani (Black Lentil Bean Dip)

Posted by Peggy on November 9, 2011

Black Lentil Dal
Recipe: Northern India Cooking Class; Lesson 7: Dal Makhani (Black Lentil Bean Dip)


  • 1 1/2 cups dry black lentils (urad), small stones picked out and rinsed in several changes of water
  • 4 (or less, to taste) whole green Thai chilis
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons (or more, to taste) finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup minced white onion
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons (or more, to taste) Shan Dal Curry mix (or 2 teaspoons garam masala)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (or more, to taste) chopped cilantro


  1. In a pressure cooker, cook lentils with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, chilis, garlic and ginger in 5 cups water. Cook 17 minutes. (Note: You can make this a couple of days ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Thaw and heat before going on to the next step.)
  2. While lentils are cooking, in a medium pan, heat oil to high. Stir in onions and cook 10 minutes until golden brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes and cook until oil separates. Add to cooked lentils.
  3. In another small pan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add the dal curry mix - cook for 30 seconds and immediately add to the cooked lentil dal concoction. Pour some dal into the pan to get the rest of the spices and return to the dal pan. This is called the “tarka”.
  4. Just before you are ready to serve the dal, heat to high.Stir in butter and blend with an immersion blender. If you don't have one, use a potato masher. Do not let the dal boil after you have added the butter, or it will separate.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Cook Ahead Tips: The first step can be made several days in advance. You could also make it a month advance and freeze it.

Number of servings (yield): 1 of 7 recipes comprising an Indian Feast to serve 16

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