Dal Makhani without cream

Dal Makhani

As a true North Indian, I have to say that Dal Makhani is my favourite daal. For all my friends out there, Daal means lentil, and Makhani refers to butter (or buttery) thus making this lentil creamy, rich and heavy. I have been preparing Daal Makhani for the past couple of years but in my own healthy way – I have replaced the cream with milk & yogurt, and butter with olive oil. This is the way I prepare my Dal Makhani at least once in a month, but eat it twice (same daal on the next day) as I feel the taste reaches a new zenith on the next day 🙂 . My today’s post is this healthy version of Dal Makhani.

Most people think that Dal Makhani and Maah ki daal are one and the same thing but they are not; let us try to understand the difference between the two. Dal Makhani is made up of whole black lentils and kidney beans. It is a creamy, rich and heavy daal due to the use of butter and cream in it. On the other hand, Maah ki daal is made up of whole black lentils only. It is kind of an everyday healthy daal because there is no butter or cream used in it. The name originated from Punjab (North Indian state), as in Punjabi (local dialect of Punjab) urad dal/black lentil is known as maah and thus the name Maah ki dal.

Daal/lentil is the core of the Indian staple diet. Generally speaking the consumption of all lentils are good for our bodies as they make an inexpensive, convenient and an healthy alternative to animal sources for protein. On the same lines, black lentil is also very beneficial to our body as it is very low in saturated fats, cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of protein, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, dietary fibre, Folate and Manganese.

The ingredients for Dal Makhani are :

  1. Whole Black Lentil (Whole Urad daal) : 1 cup
  2. Kidney beans (Rajma) : 1/4 cups
  3. Onion : 2 (finely chopped)
  4. Garlic : 4 cloves (finely chopped)
  5. Ginger : 1/4 tsp (finely chopped)
  6. Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  7. Tomato : 1 (finely chopped)
  8. Green chilli : 3 (finely chopped)
  9. Milk : 1/4 cup ( in pressure cooker)
  10. Yogurt : 1 Tbsp
  11. Red chilli Powder : 1 tsp
  12. Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
  13. Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp
  14. Garam masala : 1/4 tsp
  15. Dried Mango Powder (Amchur) : 1/2 tsp
  16. Salt : to taste
  17. Oil / clarified butter (ghee) : 1-2 Tbsp

Method :

Take the black lentils and the kidney beans in a big bowl; wash and rinse them with water (2-3 times) and soak them overnight in enough water.

Cook the lentils and the kidney beans in a pressure cooker with 1/4 cup of milk (for creaminess) and enough water. Cook till 6-7 whistles or till they are done. After releasing the steam, open the pressure cooker and then mash the lentils/kidney beans mix with a masher.

Heat oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds. Add ginger-garlic and sauté for a minute. Then add onions and sauté till it becomes translucent or light brown in colour. Now add tomato, green chilli and sauté for a minute.

Then add coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt; mix well and cook till tomato get mushy and the oil leaves the sides. It will take 3-4 minutes.

Now add the mashed lentils/kidney beans into this pan and mix properly. Cook covered on simmer for 8-10 minutes with occasional stirring. Add some water, if needed.

Now add dried mango powder and garam masala; mix well and cook covered on simmer for another 8-10 minutes with occasional stirring.

Add yogurt, mix well and switch off the flame. Cover the pan and let it be like that for some time. Your own rich and royal Dal Makhani is ready to be served. You may garnish it with coriander leaves or some cream/butter.

Insider Tips / Finer Points :

  • You may adjust spices according to your taste buds.
  • You may omit the yogurt and add cream towards the end for more richness.
  • If you forget to soak the lentils overnight : wash/rinse the black lentils and kidney beans. Take a pan with water and boil the water; put the black lentils and kidney beans in it and boil them for 5 minutes; now remove from the flame and keep it aside, covered for 2-3 hours. Post that, follow the process as stated above for preparing Daal Makhani.

9 thoughts on “Dal Makhani without cream

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  4. Hello, your recipe for Dal Makhani without Cream looks delicious! I don’t have a pressure .. after soaking the lentils and beans overnight, what would the instructions be to cook them in a regular pot on the stovetop? Thank you! Jennifer, Toronto

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jennifer 🙂
      If you don’t have pressure cooker then you need to cook/boil the lentils in a pot; it will take time. Put the lentils-beans and water in a pot and boil it covered till they all get soften. Cover the pot only 3/4 otherwise the lentils-beans will spill out.


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