Dhaba-style Punjabi Dal Makhani Recipe

Gluten FreeVegetarian

How To Make Dhaba-style Dal Makhani at Home?

Aren’t these some dishes which get associated to some of your memories. For instance, this Punjabi dal makhani recipe reminds me of our umpteen road trips we have had as a child and the lunch stopovers at rustic Indian roadside restaurants or dhabas as we call them here in northern India.

Indian Highway Restaurants or Dhabas

Unlike their modern avatars, the old ones were rather very rustic and basic in terms of their infrastructure. There was hardly any dedicated parking space or valet parking as the modern ones often offer. There used to be an un-cemented  drive-way in front of the place where we would normally drive in and park the car at one end. There would be traditional cot or charpai waiting for us where we would sit up to enjoy a home-style fresh meal.

Normally these places offer vegetarian meals, which would be normally prepped fresh every morning. The lentils would be cooked on a slow heat in large vessels and the base gravies would be prepared separately. Throughout the day, the lentils are allowed to bubble, with an occasional stirring so that there would be maximum taste and flavor.

Dhaba style Dal Makhani recipe at home

As we placed our order for this dal makhani, the chef would take a ladle-full of black lentils that has been lusciously cooked with  some salt and water. Now, the magic rests in the choice of spices that the chef has put in with the ginger-tomato paste which would make this dal makhani rightfully owner of the popularity that it basks in.

Understanding the Punjabi Cuisine

Did you know that this recipe does not use any Onion in it? Yes, that’s true.

You know there is a common misconception that everything goes into Punjabi cooking. Lot many would say that Punjabi dishes are rich as they are onion-garlic based gravies that goes generous with ghee and butter as well. Though I would agree with the latter as it truly includes a heavier hand of dairy products, but it rarely uses all three of onion, ginger and garlic together, all the time.

Related Indian Dal Recipes for Dinner Ideas: Rajasthani Panchmel Dal | Green Moong Dal Recipe | Rajma Masala Recipe | Punjabi Chana Masala Recipe

Anyway, later when I started cooking in my own kitchen the very first recipe that I looked for was this dal makhani recipe which almost instantaneously takes me back to the out roads of Punjab or Haryana where dusty shacks would often dole out the best of the food one might get!

So, check out my recipe which has always impressed my family, friends and colleagues, each time I have cooked. It is a great crowd-pleaser which makes it perfect for parties, gathering and pot-lucks.

Dhaba-style Punjabi Dal Makhani Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

This Punjabi Dal Makhani recipe is a simple yet delicious Black Lentil Dal recipe that is one of the most popular Punjabi cuisine dishes. Make restaurant/dhaba style dal makhani at home easily with this recipe. Dal Makhani Vegan recipe included.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Punjabi
Keyword: Black Lentil Recipe, Dal Makhani Recipe, Gluten Free Recipes, Kali Urad Dal Recipe, Lentil Recipes, Maa ki Daal Recipe
Servings: 4 People
  • 1/2 cup Black Lentils or Chilka Urad Dal Soaked overnight
  • 4 tbsp Bengal Gram Dal or Chana Dal Soaked overnight
  • 3 Tomatoes Large, Pureed
  • 6-7 Cloves of Garlic Paste
  • 1 inch Ginger Paste
  • 1.5 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or Clarified Butter
  • 3-4 tbsp Fresh Cream
  • 1/2 tsp Shahi Jeera or Carraway Seeds
  1. Pressure cook the soaked dal with some water and salt till they are soft and almost mushy.

  2. Now, heat the ghee in a pan. Add the shahi jeera or carraway seeds and a bay leaf. 

  3. Now, add the tomato puree in this along with ginger paste and garlic paste.

  4. Fry this till it reduces to half. Then add the powdered spices. Season this with some salt at this stage. Be careful as the cooked dal also has some salt in it. 

  5. Once the colour seems to have darkened for the mix, add the cooked daal in it and allow it to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add water as per your requirement.

  6. Finish with the fresh cream and serve it with a dollop of butter in you want to indulge a bit.

Recipe Video



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Indian Food Blogger Priyanka Bhattacharya

Hi! I’m Priyanka!

A passionate home cook and food lover who loves nothing more than sharing my favourite recipes with the world.


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