Dal Makhani – Adapted from the Moti Mahal Recipe

Dal Makhani - Moti Mahal
Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani. Literally translated, it would mean buttery lentils and a well-made version certainly lives up to its name. :-). This rich and creamy dal was invented by Kundan Lal Gujral, the legendary founder of the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant. It is now a staple in most restaurants that serve Punjabi food, but quality tends to vary. So imagine my delight when I had the most decadent version of of Dal Makhani at Punjab Grill.

The first thing I did on coming back home is search for a recipe. And imagine my joy at finding the original recipe of of Dal Makhani by Monish Gujral, the grandson of Kundan Lal Gujral.

However, my joy was shortlived when I discovered the enormous amounts of butter and cream that went into the recipe. Much as I love rich food, ask me to cook it and I quail at adding huge amounts of ghee, butter, or cream. However, in this case, my love of Dal Makhani (and the urging of Radhika of Sugar & Spice) made me overcome my hesitation.

I have adapted the recipe to use (much) lower amounts of butter and cream than in the original recipe. Instead, I cooked the dals in milk, and the result was a rich and creamy Dal Makhani.

Preparation Time: 10-12 Hours

Cooking Time: 1.5 Hours

Serves: 4


  1. Whole Udad Dal or Black Gram – 1 Cup
  2. Rajma or Kidney Beans – 1/3 Cup
  3. Tomato Puree – 1/4 Cup
  4. Onion – 1 small
  5. Milk – 1.5 Cups
  6. Tomato Puree – 3 tbsp
  7. Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp
  8. Green Chillies – 2
  9. Cloves – 2
  10. Cinnamon – 1″ piece
  11. Green Cardamom – 2
  12. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  13. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  14. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  15. Butter – 1 tbsp
  16. Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp
  17. Salt to Taste


  1. Wash and soak the udad dal and rajma in 3 cups of water for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain the water from the soaked dals.
  3. Add 2 cups of fresh water and pressure cook for at least 6 releases of pressure (6 whistles).
  4. Check that the dals are cooked and of mashable consistency. If not, pressure cook some more.
  5. If there is a lot of water remaining, drain it from the dal and set aside.
  6. Add 1 cup of milk to the cooked dals.
  7. Cook covered over low-medium heat till the milk is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
  8. Using a heavy ladle, mash the dals and set aside.
  9. Chop the onion into very fine pieces.
  10. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, melt the butter.
  11. Add the cumin seeds and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
  12. Add the slit green chillies and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
  13. Add the cloves, cinnamon, and green cardamom.
  14. Stir fry for 1 minutes.
  15. Add the chopped onions and stir-fry till the onions turn golden brown.
  16. Add the ginger-garlic paste.
  17. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
  18. Add the tomato puree and stir-fry for 1 minute or till the raw smell of tomato disappears.
  19. Add red chilli and turmeric powders.
  20. Stir fry for 1 minute.
  21. Add the mashed dals and salt.
  22. Mix well.
  23. If the dal is too thick, add some water.
  24. Over low to medium heat, cook covered for 15 minutes.
  25. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream.
  26. Serve hot with rotis or Jeera Rice.

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