Liam's Recipes

Dal Makhani



30 minutes

active time

4 hours

total time


1 cup whole urad dal (black lentils), rinsed and soaked overnight in a lot of water and 1 tsp of baking soda

¼ cup dried kidney beans, rinsed and soaked overnight with the lentils

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 medium onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 in piece ginger, minced

3½-4 cups of liquid (from cooking the lentils and beans)

½ cup cashew cream, heavy cream, or full-fat coconut milk

1 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

Extra virgin olive oil or butter



2-3 inch cinnamon stick (or a touch or ground cinnamon

4 green cardamom pods

3 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cumin seats

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp Indian red chili powder (like Kashmiri, etc)

⅛ tsp ground nutmeg


3 tbsp olive oil or butter

1 in piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks

1 tbsp kasoori methi, crushed

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp Indian red chili powder


Rinse and soak the lentils and beans overnight in a lot of water with 1 tsp baking soda. The next day (the day of cooking), drain the liquid and rinse the lentils and beans several times, until the liquid runs clear.

In a large pot, add the lentils and beans along with enough water to cover them by 1-2 inches, along with ½ tsp of kosher salt. Cover and bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon once it starts to boil.

Boil uncovered for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to a soft simmer and continue cooking for 80-90 minutes, or until the beans and lentils are very soft. Check in with the pot every once in a while and some water if too much has evaporated.

Once the lentils and beans are done cooking, strain them in a colander set over a bowl or measuring glass, saving the cooking liquid. Make sure to keep 3½-4 cups of this cooking liquid for later. Set both aside for now.

In a large pot, heat 1½ tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, and cumin seeds. Cook for 45-60 seconds, swirling the pan frequently, until aromatic and sizzling.

Add the onions along with a pinch of salt. Cookin, stirring occasionally until the onions are starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add a little bit of water as needed to scrape up the fond and prevent things from burning.

Add the minced ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Then, add the tomato paste, nutmeg, coriander, and red chili powder, and some black pepper. Stir frequently for 60-90 seconds until aromatic and things are just about to burn, then add the diced tomatoes and use the liquid to scrape up the fond. Add a little bit of water as needed to prevent burning. Cook the tomatoes until they’re broken down and softened, about 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the reserved cooking liquid (adding more means a looser final product) and scrape up any of the remaining fond off the bottom of the pot. Add the lentils and beans and stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the pot for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, adding water as needed so things don’t dry out.

Once the dal makhani has finished simmering, add in the cashew cream / coconut milk / heavy cream and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cream has thickened everything up. Turn off the heat and add the cilantro / parsley, lemon juice, and sugar. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.

Just before serving, make the Tadka. In a small saucepan, add the 3 tbsp butter or olive oil and heat over medium heat until it’s come up to temperature. Swirling the pan frequently the entire time, add the ginger and cook for 30 seconds, then the kasoori methi, garam masala, and chili powder for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour over the dal. Serve hot with rice / bread and freeze any leftovers you have! You can garnish individual potions with a swirl of cream / coconut milk if you’re into that.


A rich, creamy Indian dish made of slow-cooked black lentils (urad dal) and beans. Traditionally, this recipe would use butter and cream, but they are substituted here for just as flavorful olive oil and cashew cream / coconut milk. In Punjabi cuisine, this is a celebratory dish that also highlights the staple crops of the region. Dal Makhani goes great with rice and bread, and freezes well. This recipe also showcases the Tadka method, known by many other names as well, where you bloom whole spices in a bit of fat and pour it over the dish just before serving.



30 minutes

active time

4 hours

total time
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