Update# I made a better version of Dal Makhni from Meena's blog here. Totally in love with it! Also, there's a free cookware giveaway. Read here for rules to participate :)
My first impression of dal makhni (as seen on TV and other media) was a very tasteless and overcooked dal with little to no seasoning. But when I did taste good dal makhni at Mast Kalandar in Bangalore, I was sold!
When I looked up the recipes online, they were way too complicated and the stupid social stigma associated with stocking black dal at home kept me further away from the dream. Anyways, being away from home has its benefits and I finally got to make some dal makhni at home. After the research, I knew the recipe was rich...but I was NOT prepared for this level of rich. I haven't used this much butter, ghee and cream in ONE SINGLE dish. Being a health freak, now that I have actually made this and know how much of butter, ghee and cream goes into this...I don't see myself making this often or for that matter ordering it at a restaurant too. It's seriously a crazy rich dish and personally for me, I just cannot stomach it.
Of course, I may be totally wrong here. Because the alternate name for Dal Makhni is apparently Maa Ki Dal. So it has to be a healthy too, right? There were many versions out there but I picked on one from "A Lifetime of Cooking". The recipe is supposed to be handed down from the chef of Oberoi Hotels in Bangalore. With a small prayer to the Gods that I don't die of cholesterol, I began gathering the ingredients for this dish. Hope you guys have the courage to try it too.
Black Urad Dal (whole) - 300 gm
Rajma (red) - 100 gm
Channa dal - 100 gm
Ginger - 20 gm
Garlic - 6 cloves
Green chillies - 4
Salt - to taste
For the tadka:
Ghee (clarified butter) - 50 gm
Jeera - 2 tsp
Garlic - 6 cloves
Hing - 1/2 tsp
Methi seeds (fenugreek) - 1 tsp
Tomato (puree) - 200 gm
Butter - 100 gm
Half and half (non-fat) - 30 ml
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
(I doubled all the ingredients in the recipe EXCEPT for the ghee and butter. I also used non-fat half-and-half instead of cream. BUT, in spite of all of this...the dal was way too rich for me)
1. Soak all the dals overnight in warm water. Wash well the next day ( at least 3 times).
2. Chop the garlic, ginger and green chillies finely. Add this to the dal along with some salt and pressure cook for at least 3 whistles. Then set on low and cook for another 15 mins.
3. Once the pressure is released, open the cooked and mash the dal well. I did not drain the water since it probably has all of the proteins in it. But the real recipe calls you to drain the excess water. I think it's a judgement call here.
1. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel. Add the cumin seeds and let it splutter.
2. Then add the methi seeds (fenugreek) and fry until lightly brown.
3. Now add the chopped garlic and fry until the color changes a little.
4. Add the hing and then add the tomato puree. Cook until the oil separates from the puree.
5. Now add the dal to this tadka and mix well. After it boils once, add the masalas and salt along with the butter and half-and-half. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until well blended.
Serve hot with rotis or steamed rice.
Usually, normal dal that I make does not last more than 4 meals in my house. But this one lasted for a week and a half. Even VJ couldn't stomach too much of this. He was completely aghast at the amount of butter that went into it. When I told him it was half of what the recipe called for, he literally went ballistic. All I say is this, try this dal at your own peril. You won't regret it once it's done. It does taste heavenly and absolutely like the dal makhni in restaurants. The only difference is now, you do know what goes into that innocent dal makhni that is served to you in restaurants.