February 15, 2021
Dal Makhani is hands down one of my most-requested recipes. Folks love it. Part of it is that Indian restaurants typically lead with it on their menu. The other part is that the combination of Urad Dal, Rajmah (Kidney Beans), Butter, Cream, and several hours of low-heat cooking is simply irresistible. Follow my recipe and you'll be making this in your Instant Pot successfully every time.
Desi Corner: Makhan in Hindi means butter. Use ghee or plant-based alternatives. No matter. Both are delicious. Make the effort to find URAD dal. I call it dal and not lentils because it is technically a bean. It's black, and so the right term for it would be 'black bean'. But, this would confuse folks especially in the West where we think of Mexican black beans. So, I stick with the term dal. Why do I make cardamom optional? It's just based on preference - my family does not prefer it in our dal, but it does add a gourmand touch. If you want to try it out, just add a touch to a small bowl after cooking to see if your family likes it or not.
Instant Pot Corner: I upped the cook time from 30 to 40 minutes. Urad is a very tough legume, it takes a lot of water and time to cook properly. Why the extra cook time will get it to the creamy consistency you want. Remember, my Instant Pot recipes always max out the product used - I do not like to make just one cup of product in my IP. So, this recipe would work perfectly fine in a larger Instant Pot, and it would also be okay if you wanted to scale it back and make just half.
Dal Makhani, Buttery Black Dal
Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm Up: 18 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes natural release plus manual release time
Total: 1 hour 8 minutes plus manual release time
Makes: 8 cups
1 ½ cups sabut urad (whole, dried black dal with skin), picked over and washed
½ cup rajmah (dried red kidney beans), picked over and washed
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cassia or bay leaf
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds **
1 small rellow or red onion, pureed
1 (1-inch piece) ginger, pureed
3 cloves garlic, pureed
1-4 Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
¼ cup unsalted tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground (optional)
2 tablespoons kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor *
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups water
1/4 cup cream (dairy, or alternative like cashew)
1. Soak the urad dal and rajmah together in boiled, hot water for at least 1 hour or in room temperature water overnight. Drain and discard the water. Set aside.
2. Place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to MORE. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the oil.
3. Once the oil is hot, add the hing, cumin seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Stir and cook for 1 minute until the seeds turn reddish brown. Because the oil pools to the sides, push spices into the oil along the border of the inner pot so they can cook fully.
4. Add the fenugreek seeds. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook, as these seeds get bitter quickly.
5. Carefully add the onion. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. The moisture can cause the oil to splatter.
6. Add the ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
7. Press CANCEL. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, ground cumin, coriander, red chile, cardamom, garam masala, kasoori methi, salt, urad dal/rajmah, and water. Stir.
8. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads HIGH. Adjust the cook time to 40 minutes.
9. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. All of the other spices are edible. Gently fold in the cream and stir. Serve with basmati rice or Indian bread like roti or naan.
The Indian Instant Pot Project Many of you already know that I am working hard on my fourth book, The Indian Instant Pot, converting all of my Indian Slow Cooker recipes to the electric pressure cooker, or Instant Pot. This book will be different than most out there because I am showcasing family-style recipes that are full-flavored Indian (most books only test for 1 cup of product). As I test, I will share my 3 quart recipes like I did above. Rest assured, I am also testing recipes for my 6q and 8q, which will be in my upcoming book. The recipe for the 3q can be made in the 6q as well - the only thing that will usually change is the warm up time. Please enjoy making these recipes and let me know how they go by sending me an email or reaching out on social media. Also, please post your photos and use the hashtag #IndianInstantPot. Let's get the word out together. You have always been the Village I can count on the most and for that I just want to say humbly - thank you! xoxo Anupy.
Curry Prep: Watch this video to see how to grind your onion, ginger, and garlic. In this recipe I prefer to grind the onion separately so that when I cook it the water evaporates a bit and it browns better.
* Indian Ingredient Corner: Kasoori Methi
In the video below, I show you what dried fenugreek looks like. Though I would encourage you to make the above recipe without it, if you have a chance to find this ingredients please do purchase it. It is easily found at most Indian grocers. You can even find it online. It adds a delicious slightly bitter taste profile that plays well with your legumes. You'll notice that I also use ** fenugreek seeds. These are more easily found in mainstream markets, and lend a similar taste profile. Please never substitute seeds for leaves in recipes - they all work very differently when cooked. For more videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel.
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