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.
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 throughout the day, with an occasional stirring so that there would be maximum taste and flavor.
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 the ginger-tomato paste which would make this dal makhani rightfully owner of the popularity that it basks in.
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.
Anyway, later when I started cooking in my 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.
- 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
Pressure cook the soaked dal with some water and salt till they are soft and almost mushy.
Now, heat the ghee in a pan. Add the shahi jeera or carraway seeds and a bay leaf.
Now, add the tomato puree in this along with ginger paste and garlic paste.
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.
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.
Finish with the fresh cream and serve it with a dollop of butter in you want to indulge a bit.