Dal Makhani or Maa ki Dal

I love all things earthy- terracotta, Khurja earthen dishes, traditional China, old (or old style) English crockery with delicate floral patterns and copper and brass cooking and serving ware. On my last trip to Bombay, saw this gorgeous traditional style copperware and picked it up pronto!

Was itching to shoot with it and this little copper bucket made the Dal Makhani I cooked recently look even more appetizing somehow!


In my book there is only one way to dish out an excellent Dal Makhani- slowly! No quick fixes and low fat versions do justice to the much loved ‘Maa ki Dal’. I loved the name a friend gave it ‘ Makhani Dal Makahni’ – it says all there is to say about a it! A few hours of slow cooked goodness is the only way to go. The slow cooking gets it to creamy richness and this is further enriched by adding cream and/or butter. And you get a spoon of yum!

This recipe serves 4
You need

Whole urad dal/ dehusked black gram lentils (whole or split) – 1 ½ cup, soaked for a couple of hours
Salt- 1 tsp
Garlic, minced- 1 Tbsp
Onion, chopped very fine- 2 medium sized
Green chillies, chopped fine- 1 tsp
Ginger, grated-  1 ½ tsp
Tomatoes, chopped fine or pureed- 2, medium sized
Red Chilli /lal mirch powder- 1 tsp (adjust as per taste)
Coriander/dhaniya powder- 1 tsp
Garam Masala powder- ½ tsp
Roasted cumin/jeera powder- ½ tsp
Mango powder/Aamchoor- ½ tsp
Oil- 1 ½  tbsp
Cream- 1 Tbsp
Butter- 2 Tbsp and as much as desired to top the dal ( I used homemade white butter)
Fresh coriander, chopped coarse- 1 tbsp

Pressure cook the dal with salt and water till it is cooked soft.
Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan/kadhai and add the minced garlic and onions. Stir till the onions turn light brown and add ginger and green chillies. After a minute add the tomatoes, coriander powder, red chilli powder and cook on medium flame till the oil separates.
Add the cooked dal and bring to boil. Add water if the dal is too thick. Add cumin powder and garam masala and a tablespoon of butter and let cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Add another tablespoon of butter and aamchoor and cook for another 20 minutes. Mash the dal a little with the back of the ladle. By now the dal will become thick and creamy.

Top with a tbsp of cream or a dollop of butter or both. Sprinkle fresh coriander liberally and serve with raw onion rings and a wedge of lime on the side.


24 thoughts on “Dal Makhani or Maa ki Dal

      1. When I come down to india I brrow ur collect ma ma it’s amazing babs hs to check in goa hope I get dis one just wnt to pick frm screen ♡♡♡♡♡

  1. Garima… Mazaa aagaya dekh ke. It’s been such a long time since I made this. Usually took 3 hours to make this. Hence that deters me from making this often. But so beautifully presented!!! I’m tempted to buy one of those copper vessels too n ofcourse this dal to complete the picture. Also… I have made this dal with lil rajma n chana dal. Turns out super yum. N like u said… U need to do this slowly… N definitely no shortcuts!!!

    Thanks for this… Surely made my day!!!

    Cheers. Rinku

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Thanks Sangeeta.
      Set the malai like curd. Whisk in the mixer with some ice cubes and chilled water. The butter floats on the top. The liquid left behind is buttermilk.

      1. Thanks Garima. So , warm the milk(Mildly warm, as done while setting curd).and a bit of malai..is that how you set malai???

  2. Wow this is the richest most flavorful looking Dahl dish I have ever seen! And I too would go crazy over those dishes 🙂

  3. This looks so delectable Garima! I love everything you make. Keep up the good work. I really want to ask you from where did you buy those copperwares in Mumbai. I want them too!

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