How To Make Authentic And Healthy Dal Makhani At Home

Nimisha Gupta

Nimisha Gupta
Nov 2023

2 min read
Dal Makhani

Cooking Time

1 Hour

Total Time

9 Hours

Dal Makhani, also known as “Butter Dal,” is a popular dish from the Northern region of India. With a melt-in-mouth texture, this lentil-based dish has gained popularity worldwide for its rich and creamy flavors. If you want to make this dal in an authentic style, then you are at the right place! This recipe will guide you through making authentic Makhani Dal at home.

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How To Make Dal Makhani

It is a classic North Indian dish loved for its rich and creamy texture and the perfect blend of spices. Moreover, a beloved dal in numerous Indian homes, this dish is known for its aromatic flavors, traditionally prepared with slow-cooked lentils and beans. 

While it may seem challenging to make this dish at home, you can easily recreate it with the right ingredients and technique.


Find below the ingredients for each step to make this recipe.

For Preparation:

3/4 Cup Whole Urad Dal1/4 Cup Rajma
3 Cups Water For Pressure Cooking1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
1 Teaspoon Chopped Green Chilies2 Teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste
2 Large Tomatoes1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2-3 Cloves2-3 Green Cardamoms
1 Black Cardamom1-Inch Cinnamon
1 Small To Medium Indian Bay Leaf1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
2-3 Pinches Grated Nutmeg1 Cup Water (Add As Required)
1/4 To 1/3 Cup Low-Fat Cream1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Dry Fenugreek Leaves
3 Tablespoons ButterSalt As Required

For Dhungar Method (Optional):

1 Small Piece Of Charcoal
1/2 To 2/3 Teaspoon Oil

For Garnish:

1 To 2 Tablespoons Chopped Coriander Leaves
1/2 Tablespoon Low-Fat Cream


Follow the steps below to make the perfect recipe with dal makhani ingredients:


  1. Allow the whole black urad dal and rajma to soak in ample water for 8 to 9 hours overnight, and then ensure they are thoroughly drained.
  2. Give both the lentils a couple of rinses under running water. Drain excess water and transfer it to a 3-liter pressure cooker. Add water and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pressure cook on high heat until the urad dal and rajma are thoroughly cooked and softened. If lentils are not cooked properly, add about 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook for 4 to 5 more whistles.
  4. Then, mash the urad dal and rajma with a spoon or your fingers to check doneness.
  5. In a blender or mixer jar, blend the chopped tomatoes into a smooth puree. Set aside.

Making Makhani Dal:

  1. In a pan, heat butter and add the whole spices – Jeera or cumin seeds, cloves, green and black cardamoms, 1-inch cinnamon, and one small to medium tej patta.
  2. Then, fry for a few seconds until the spices sputter and become aromatic.
  3. Add finely chopped onions and sauté on low or medium-low heat until they become light golden.
  4. Then, stir in the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds until the raw aroma disappears.
  5. Add the chopped green chilies and sauté for a minute for dal makhani.
  6. Combine the prepped tomato puree, red chili powder, and a pinch or two of grated nutmeg into the mixture.
  7. Sauté the mixture on low to medium flame until you see fat releasing from the sides.
  8. Add the boiled urad dal and rajma beans, along with their stock subsequently adjust by adding 1 cup of water or as needed.
  9. Stir well and simmer the dal uncovered on low heat however keep stirring in between to prevent the lentils from sticking to the pan.
  10. Once it thickens, add salt as needed and continue to simmer on low heat. You can add more water if the gravy looks too thick or dry.
  11. Simmer for about 25 minutes on low heat, stirring at intervals.
  12. When the gravy has thickened enough, add cream, mix well, and then turn off the heat.
  13. Add crushed kasuri methi and mix again.

Dhungar Method (For Smoky Flavor)

  1. Heat a small piece of charcoal on a flame until it becomes red hot, turning it with tongs to ensure even burning.
  2. Place the red-hot charcoal in a small bowl and pour 1/2 teaspoon of oil.
  3. Immediately place the bowl on top of the cooked dal, cover for a minute, and let the charcoal infuse its smoke into the Dal Makhani. Then remove the bowl and stir again.

Serve Punjabi Makhani Dal hot, garnished with chopped coriander leaves with a few teaspoons of cream. Moreover, enjoy it with naan, roti, paratha, or steamed rice.

Nutritional Value Of Makhani Dal

Nutritionally, it offers a good balance of macronutrients. Furthermore, it’s a good source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber, thanks to the urad dal and rajma (kidney beans). 

However, it’s also relatively high in fat and calories due to using butter and cream in the recipe. So, moderation is the key for those on a weight loss journey.

Nutritional Information for One Serving (approximately 1 cup, or about 250 grams):

  • Calories: 420 – 450 kcals
  • Protein: 12 – 16 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 35 – 39 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 10 – 13 grams
  • Sugars: 4 – 6 grams
  • Fat: 20 – 24 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 10 – 13 grams
  • Cholesterol: 45 – 57 mg
  • Potassium: 700 – 750 mg
  • Iron: 5- 6 mg

Please note that these nutritive values are estimates and can depend on the exact quantities of ingredients used, brand variations, and cooking methods.

Tips To Prepare The Perfect Makhani Dal At Home

To make this recipe of Dal Makhani best in its taste, we are sharing below some tips that you can follow to prepare a tasty meal:

  • Soak the Lentils: Soak the whole urad dal and rajma for at least 8-9 hours or overnight. It helps soften the lentils, reduce cooking time, and aid digestion.
  • Pressure Cook Thoroughly: When pressure cooking the lentils, ensure they are well-cooked and soft. The urad dal should be melt-in-the-mouth, and there should be no resistance when eating it. If needed, add more water and pressure cook for additional whistles.
  • Homemade Tomato Puree: Making fresh tomato puree from ripe tomatoes adds a depth of flavor to the dish. However, you can also use store-bought tomato puree if you’re short on time.
  • Use Cream Sparingly: While cream adds richness to this dish, use it in moderation. You can opt for low-fat cream or half-and-half to reduce the calorie content.
  • Don’t Skip Butter: Butter is a key ingredient that gives this recipe its authentic flavor. It’s important not to skimp on it, but you can control the amount to suit your dietary preferences.
  • Slow Cooking: After combining the cooked lentils with the tomato gravy, simmer the mixture on low heat. This extended cooking time allows the flavors to meld and the Dal Makhani to thicken. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  • Balance Spices: Adjust the quantity of red chili powder and green chilies to suit your spice tolerance. Also, don’t forget the pinch of nutmeg for that special aroma.
  • Dhungar Method (Optional): It adds a smoky flavor to the dish. While optional, it’s a great technique to elevate the taste. Be cautious when handling hot charcoal.
  • Garnish: Garnish the dish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and a drizzle of cream just before serving to enhance its taste.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Which Dal Is Used In Makhani Dal?

This dish mainly uses whole urad dal and rajma for a rich and creamy texture coupled with a delightful combination of flavors.

How Can I Make A Low – Calorie Makhani Dal Without Compromising On Taste?

To reduce calories, use low-fat cream or half and half, and go easy on the butter. You can also increase the proportion of tomatoes and add less cream for a lighter version.

What Is The Best Accompaniment For This Dal?

It pairs wonderfully with naan, roti, paratha, or steamed rice. Additionally, naan or roti is often the preferred choice for soaking up the flavorful gravy.

How Long Can I Store Leftover Dal?

You can store this dal in an airtight container for about 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat it on the stove or in the microwave when serving.

Contact Us Today

Get in touch with our expert team at Fitelo to kick-start your transformative journey! Let us guide you toward your weight loss goals and help you cultivate sustainable and healthy eating habits. So, contact us today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you with Fitelo!


This recipe was written to help you make healthy and better food choices. So, be aware and take care. The vital thing to consider is your health before starting a restrictive diet. Therefore, before starting, always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian if you have any concerns.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy. Enjoy a long, happy life.

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