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Smoky Dal Makhani

Photo by Parita Modi


  • 100 g whole red kidney beans (rajma), soaked in water overnight
  • 200 g whole black gram (urad ), soaked overnight, separately
  • 1″ pc ginger, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 whole dry Kashmiri red chillies, soaked in warm water and ground to a paste
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin (jeera) seed powder
  • ½ – ¾ tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, pureed
  • ¾ tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp cashew cream, for the garnish (soak cashew nuts for 4 hours and grind with very little water to make cashew cream)
  • A few coriander leaves (for the garnish)
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp whole garam masala – for the smoke.**(See below)


Cook the red kidney beans until partially cooked. Add soaked whole black gram and continue to cook until both are completely cooked.

When nearly done, roast the onion, ginger and garlic in a pot, until browned. Add spices and chilli paste and continue roasting.

Add the tomatoes and cook until most of the water evaporates and you have a thick paste.

Add the cooked beans and lentils to this paste. Add salt to taste and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring constantly, so that the dal does not stick to the bottom and burn, as it will be the consistency of a thick gravy now. Add the cashew butter and cook for 2 minutes. Add a little water to adjust consistency if needed.

Place a piece of live charcoal in a metal bowl and place the bowl in the dal. Pour a teaspoon of dry spices mixed with oil over the coal and close the lid tightly.

Turn the heat off and let the dal stand for about 15 minutes. The spices will add an aromatic, smoky flavour to the dal.

Garnish with cashew cream and coriander leaves and serve hot.

Please note: This recipe is suitable for diabetics since the oil does not enter the food – only gives a smokey flavour!

Serves 5-6


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