Dal Makhani (Kali Dal) – Buttered Black Gram Beans

Posted by EsyRecipes Friday, October 30, 2009

    For Soaking the Beans:
    • 1 cup dried whole black gram beans (sabut urad dal or kali dal), about 1/2 pound
    • 2 tablespoons dried red kidney beans
    • 4 cups of water

    For Cooking the Beans

    • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped
    • 3/4 cup fresh tomatoes or 1/2 cup canned drained tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 6 tablespoons ghee or 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)

    For the Tarka (Perfumed Butter):

    4 tablespoons ghee or light vegetable oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
    1 cup onions, finely chopped

    For Finishing:

    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro / coriander leaves, coarsely chopped

    To Clean and Soak the Beans:

    On a half-sheet pan or large serving platter, spread out the black gram beans and kidney beans. Pick out foreign objects such as small pebbles and sticks. In a strainer, wash under cold running water for a few minutes or until the water runs clear.
    Place the black gram beans and red kidney beans in a heavy pan, preferably an enameled cast iron dutch oven. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the beans soak while covered for about 2 hours.
    The soaking liquid will be used to cook the beans so do not drain and discard it.

    To Cook the Beans:

    Add all of the ingredients for cooking the beans to the pot containing the soaking liquid and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer with the lid slightly ajar for about 5 hours. If feasible, stir the beans gently every half hour.
    Take about 2 to 3 cups of the cooked beans from the pan and puree in a blender or food processor. Return the pureed beans to the pot. This gives dal makhani a smoother and creamier consistency.

    Keep the dal makhani simmering over low heat while you prepare the tarka (perfumed butter).
    To Prepare the Tarka (Perfumed Butter):
    Heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat in a small skillet. When it is very hot, add the cumin seeds and cook until it turns dark brown, about 10 seconds. Add the onions and cook while stirring continuously until light brown, about 10 minutes. Pour the tarka over the warm cooked beans.


     Dal makhani with onion and cumin seed tarka.

    To Serve:

    Top with the heavy cream and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve warm with rice or bread.

    Storage and Reheating:

    Dal makhani keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and also freezes well. Defrost thoroughly before reheating over low heat.


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