Dal Makhani / Kali Dal

Most of you must have been wondering why I was not blogging all this while … well I was vacationing!!! Now I am back, feeling very relaxed, refreshed and happy. Had gone to New Jersey to a friend’s place from where we went to Baltimore and DC. Though my vacation lasted for 4 days I took few days before and after it to prepare for the trip and get over the hangover and longing for more such days.  Since we got our car, life seems to be so FULL! As far as my trip goes, it was awesome. Visiting the capital of this country was something I had been thinking about since I read Dan Brown’s latest novel – ‘The Lost Symbol’. The book revealed the capital of one of the most developed nations of the world to have profound historical architecture with such philosophical significance, that I had to visit it!

Coming back to the regular life and back to my journal. A comfort food for today – Dal Makhani or Kali Dal. Goes well with plain rice or roti.


  • Whole black gram (sabut urad dal) – 1/2 cup
  • Red kidney beans (rajma) – 2 tablespoons
  • Onion , chopped – 1 large
  • Green chillies, slit – 2
  • Tomatoes, chopped – 2 medium
  • Ginger, chopped  or paste – 2 tsp
  • Garlic, chopped or paste – 6 cloves
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp or to taste
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Mango powder / Amchur – 1/2 tsp
  • Whipped cream – 3 tbsp (optional, may also substitute with milk)
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Butter – 1 tbsp (may reduce the amount also)


  • Wash well and soak the Dal and Kidney Beans (Rajma) overnight in the 3 cups of water.
  • Pressure cook dal and rajma in three cups of water with salt and half the red chilli powder (add half the ginger if desired) for 3-4 whistles and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Open the lid and see if the dal and rajma is soft and cooked well. If not cook on low heat till they become soft.
  • Heat Oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
  • Once they start sizzling add ginger, garlic and onion and saute till golden.
  • Add slit green chillies, tomatoes and saute on high heat.
  • Add the remaining red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and saute till the tomatoes are cooked well.
  • Add the cooked dal and rajma along with the water and mix well. Add some water if the mixture is too thick.
  • Add  whipped cream or milk and mix well and let it cook for a 5 minutes.
  • Add garam masala powder, amchur, butter  and adjust salt.
  • Simmer on low heat  for a while till the dal is totally soft and well blended.

Goes well with plain rice or roti.


Musur Dal / Red Lentil Soup

Dal or Pulses – a very significant source of protein, is a part of the daily Indian meal. There are variety of dals (refer to the Glossary section for further reference) and lots of variations in their cooking (mainly in their tempering). I will try to highlight a few of them in this post.


  • Musur Dal – 1 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – optional and to taste
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste –
  • Garlic cloves
  • Slit green chillies
  • Tomatoes –
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4th tsp
  • Oil/Butter/Ghee – 1 tbsp + for garnishing
  • Water
  • Chopped coriander leaves – for garnishing.


Note: It is quicker and easier to use a pressure cooker to boil the lentils.

  • Wash the dal thoroughly, and pressure cook (or boil) it with 2-3 cups of water, salt, garlic cloves and green chillies. (You can add the tomatoes at this stage or later). Simmer until the dal is cooked, which in my case is 5-6 whistles, but can vary.
  • This step is called tempering. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
  • Add ginger paste, turmeric powder, and tomatoes (if not added in the pressure cooker).
  • Add the boiled lentils and mix well.Add more water if required as per the desired consistency.
  • Check and adjust salt and add sugar if required.
  • Garnish with 1 cube of butter or 1 tsp of ghee and chopped coriander leaves.


  • While tempering, add some onions with or without ginger and garlic. (It is not always necessary to use ginger and garlic).
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida while tempering.
  • Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida.
  • Use any other dal (lentil) or a combination of dal to get varied flavors.
  • Use Panchforon or Panch Puran for tempering.