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Dal Makhani (Indian Lentils)

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Dal Makhani (Indian Lentils)
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Makes: 6 servings adjust
Note from original recipe: "Kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves) is almost impossible to find in the U.S., even in NYC, but it gives this dish something very special."

I had to substitute the ground fenugreek seeds because I could not find the leaves. This tastes better if made the day before and the flavors are allowed to meld in the refrigerator overnight.



  • 1 cup Dried Lentils
  • 14 cup Dried Red Kidney Beans

Step 1

Place lentils and kidney beans in a medium-sized pot. Cover with plenty of water. Soak for at least 2 hours or overnight.


  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

Step 2

Drain the soaking water from the lentils. Add 5 cups of fresh water and the salt to the lentils/beans in the pot.

Step 3

Cook the lentils/beans over medium-low heat until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Step 4

When the lentils and beans are tender, remove from heat and set aside. DO NOT DRAIN!


  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Whole Cumin Seed

Step 5

Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Cook cumin seeds in the hot oil until they begin to pop, 1 to 2 minutes. NOTE: Don't get your pan too hot or the cumin seeds will burn almost instantly.


  • 4 Whole Cardamom Pods
  • 1 stick Cinnamon, broken in half
  • 4 Fresh Bay Leaves
  • 6 Whole Cloves

Step 6

Add cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cloves; cook until bay leaves turn brown, about 1 minute.


  • 1 12 tablespoons Ginger Paste, from a jar; available in the ethnic foods aisle
  • 1 12 tablespoons Garlic Paste, from a jar; available in the ethnic foods aisle
  • 12 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
  • 1 pinch Cayenne Pepper, or more to taste

Step 7

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat.


  • 1 cup Tomato Puree, or more to taste

Step 8

Stir tomato puree into spice mixture. Cook over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.


  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Ground Coriander
  • 14 cup Unsalted Butter

Step 9

Add chili powder, coriander, and butter. Cook and stir until butter is melted.

Step 10

Stir lentils, kidney beans and any leftover cooking water into tomato mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low.


  • 2 tablespoons Fenugreek Leaves, or substitute 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds

Step 11

Stir fenugreek into lentil mixture. Cover saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.


  • 12 cup Heavy Cream, optional

Step 12

Add cream and cook until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.


  • pinch White Sugar, optional

Step 13

Taste the lentils. If the tomato flavor is a little acidic, add just a pinch of sugar.

Step 14

Serve over cooked Basmati or yellow Indian rice.
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