Dhal Makani

a/Recipes/Student Living by

The enticing smells eminating from the local Indian hub are now available in your own home! This simple bean-based dish from the Punjab combines subtle flavours with a creamy texture to give you a hearty and healthy meal. Make this recipe in bulk, and keep in the fridge for several days, or freeze. 


1 cup dry, whole black Urad dal (lentils)

1/4 cup dry Bengal gram (chick peas)

1/2 cup dry Kidney beans

1 tsp cumin seeds

1-2 tsp green chillies, sliced  thinly

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp cumin-coriander powder

1 tsp cardamom powder

1 medium red onion

1 tsp dried Fenugreek leaves    (Kasuri Methi)

3 tbsp butter (or 1-2 tsp of veg- etable oil)

2-3 cloves

2” cinnamon stick

1 Bay leaf

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 cup tomato puree or 2-3 chopped tomatoes

1 cup cream (or 2% or coco- nut milk)

Salt to taste and cilantro to garnish


Prepare the beans: soak the dried beans overnight in a generous amount of water. Rinse well in cold water and then boil for 1 ½ – 2 hours, adding water to replace that which evaporates. The longer the beans are cooked, the richer the flavour. Once soft, mush the beans together using a potato masher or ladle.

Note: You could substitute the beans with the canned varieties (especially if you do not have a pressure cooker), but make sure that you get unsalted beans, without added preservatives.

Prepare the curry: add butter, ghee or 1 tsp of oil to a pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add cumin, bay leaf, ginger-garlic paste, and chillies. Once the seeds start to pop (around 10-15 seconds), add onions and continue to cook until they are soft and translucent.

Add the tomato puree or tomatoes along with cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin-coriander powder, and cook for about five minutes while stirring. The curry should become very aromatic.

Add the lentil/bean mush to the prepared gravy. Add enough water to make a thick consistency. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the Fenugreek leaves and cardamom powder. Stir in cream, milk or coconut milk.

Cook for five more minutes and serve with naan, roti or rice. Best eaten with a side of cool yogurt.