Dal Makhani

frog laying by campfire cooking beans

This recipe's contributor would like her grandchildren to call her Dadi, the Hindi name for grandmother. I don't know Dadi, but I met her son and his partner (I'll refer to her as "A-") in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square Park when I was interviewing strangers for the Cafe Ribbit podcast. I learned that Dadi's son moved to Philadelphia from India to attend college, where he soon met A-. He raved to her about his favorite childhood dish called Dal Makhani, and since A- loves to cook, she made a long-distance call to India to get the recipe. A- has since earned the title, "Best Dal Makhani" from not only her boo but from Dadi too. Wow.

Dal Makhani Indian dish

Ingredients

2 15 oz. cans black beans
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans
2 large tomatoes, pureed or 1 1/2 cups (360 g) tomato puree
1/2 large red onion
1/2 Tablespoon (8 g) minced fresh garlic
1/2 Tablespoon (8 g) minced fresh ginger
7 green chiles
1 teaspoon smoked paprika or, if using "Dhungar" method (see below), 1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 bay leaf
1-inch cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup (114 g) heavy whipping cream
4 Tablespoons (56 g) salted butter
topping to taste:
ghee
recommended sides:
basmati rice
roti flatbread

Optional requirements for the "Dhungar" method:
a metal "kasuri" or other heatproof, food-safe metal dish
a tight-fitting lid for the pot
1 piece of charcoal
1 Tablespoon ghee

Instructions

Serves 6

Set a large pot over low-medium heat and melt:
4 Tablespoons (56 g) salted butter
Add:
1 bay leaf
1-inch cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Sauté until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add:
1/2 large red onion, chopped
Sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add:
1/2 Tablespoon (8 g) minced fresh garlic
1/2 Tablespoon (8 g) minced fresh ginger
Sauté until aroma goes away, about 40 seconds. Add:
7 green chiles, chopped and, if you prefer less heat, seeded
Sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in:
2 large tomatoes, pureed or 1 1/2 cups (360 g) tomato puree
1 teaspoon smoked paprika OR...
...if using "Dhungar" method, 1 teaspoon red chili powder
Turn the heat to low, and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Move on once you see fat collecting around the inner wall of the pot.

Drain in a colander and rinse thoroughly:
2 15 oz. cans black beans
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans
Dump the beans into the pot, and mash 1/3 of them to a paste with a large flat utensil. Stir in:
2 cups (454 g) water
1 Tablespoon sea salt
Simmer for 30 minutes without a lid, stirring often so the beans don't stick to the bottom. Stir in:
1/2 cup (114 g) heavy whipping cream
Heat until the Dal is simmering, then jump to the Assembly instructions below. If using the "Dhungar" method, proceed with the following extra steps.


"DHUNGAR" METHOD (OPTIONAL)

Set nearby:
a metal "kasuri" or other heatproof, food-safe metal dish
a tight-fitting lid for the pot

With a pair of metal tongs and a heatproof glove to hold them, hold over a medium flame:
1 piece of charcoal
Heat until red hot, about 5 minutes. Place the charcoal into the metal dish, and then set the dish on top of the Dal so it floats. Spoon on top of the charcoal:
1 Tablespoon ghee
It will start smoking. Cover the pot with the lid to trap the smoke, turn off the heat, and let sit for 2 minutes.



ASSEMBLY

Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Dish the Dal Makhani into heated bowls, and dot each serving with:
ghee

Serve with Dadi's recommended sides:
basmati rice
roti flatbread

 
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Tim Hogeboom
5 months ago

I was interested to try a dal without lentils, and Dal Makhani turned out to be a winner. Delicious and satisfying! I left out some of the green chilies for my wife's benefit and added some Smoked Jalapeno Hot Sauce to my portion. Will make this again.

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