Mamta's Kitchen

Butter Dal Makhani - 2 (Kidney Beans & Black Gram)

Dal Makhani - 2 (Rajma And Whole Urad)

Krishan Kumar Dhabewala

The word Makhan means butter in Hindi. Traditionally, this dal was cooked and fresh butter was added just before serving. Then came the cream or malai. This particular version was given to me by Krishan Kumar Dhabewala at his Dhaba (roadside restaurant) on Agra to Hathras Road. The word 'Dhabewala' means 'the man who runs a roadside Dhaba/fast food restaurant'. He adds milk instead of cream, because real cream is something not easily available outside of cities or large towns in India. If you cook Black Gram alone, it is called Mah ki Dal. Serves 6-8


  • 150 gm. or 1 cup whole urad/urd/urid or black gram

  • 75 gm. or 3/4 cup rajma or kidney beans

  • 4-5 cups water

  • Salt to taste, approximately 1 1/2 tsp.

  • A small piece of Indian ginger, peeled and chopped coarsely

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder

  • 1 glass of full cream milk

  • For Tarka or tempering:

  • 3-4 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A large pinch of asafoetida powder

  • 1/2 inch piece ginger

  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated

  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped (optional)

  • 3 red dry chillies, broken roughly

  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala

  • 2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves


  1. Wash and soak dal for 3-4 hours.

  2. Place all ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook for 6-8 whistles or 20-25 minutes. Unsoaked dal takes longer and are more likely to cause flatulence. You can cook it without the pressure cooker but it may take a couple of hours or longer.

  3. Allow pressure cooker to cool and then check whether the dal is cooked soft. This may take different times with different quality of dals, the softness of water etcetera. If necessary, cook for another 3-4 whistles.

  4. Drain the water off, add milk and cook for further 10 minutes. The dal should be of custard like consistency.

  5. Tarka or tempering:

  6. Heat ghee in a small pan.

  7. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder or hing or hing.

  8. When the seeds splutter, add ginger and garlic and stir until lightly brown. You can add 1 sliced onion at this stage if you like. Onion must be stir fried until golden to medium brown.

  9. Add broken red chillies and garam masala.

  10. Add this mix to the dal and stir.

  11. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a knob of butter. You can also grate a little paneer on top, as a garnish.

  12. Serve with.Chapatti and Boiled Rice.

  13. Also see Dal Selection.


  • Traditionally this dal was cooked slowly, for hours, on charcoal. This gave it a creamier texture. You can make it in slow cooker but make sure that you boil it briskly in a pan for last 10 minutes, to neutralise the toxins in Kidney beans/Rajma.

  • In old days, in a traditional Punjabi house, it had a lot of ‘malai’ (thick skin that forms on top of boiled full cream milk)) or fresh butter added to it. These days, people are more health conscious and use less of butter/malai. When you eat in a good restaurant, it is cooked slowly on low heat and often has a same large amount of cream and butter added, hence the ‘buttery’ taste.

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