After I got married and moved to Delhi NCR, I realized l had landed in the land of paneer, naan and chana masala and in a few days of eating out, we were swimming neck deep in butter. Nilesh called it ‘enough’ and hauled me in the kitchen, to cook a decent Maharashtrian meal of varan-bhaat-bhaaji-poli. But I had developed this fixation with daal makhani I 0rdered in each restaurant and could not get the earthy aroma out of my head. I shot a mail with a subject line – ‘daal – makhani this time!’ to dear friend Shweta and pat came this recipe. I gathered the ingredients and courage and tried it. Eureka! The outcome was as delicious as right out of a restaurant kitchen.
Here is the recipe, pretty much a copy paste from Shweta’s email dated 23rd August 2006. It is a regular in my kitchen till date – I skip the red chili powder and dried red chili and load it up with cinnamon and black pepper which gives it a nice aroma, without making to too spicy for Aditi.
Urad daal (black whole urad, not the split one) – 1 cup
Rajma – One-Fourth cup
Chana Daal – One-fourth cup
Ginger – lots (a 2.5 inch piece)
Garlic – 2 small pods (optional)
Tomatoes – 2 ripe ones, chopped fine.
Ghee/ Butter – 1 tbsp
Salt – as per taste
Heeng – 1 tsp
Red Chili powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Whole Red Chili – 1 (broken into two halves/ optional)
Jeera – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder – half tbsp
Ground black pepper – half tbsp
- Wash the three daals well, mix them and soak overnight (about 8 hrs) in lots of water.
- Add salt to taste and pressure cook the soaked daals. What I do is put the cooker on high flame and after first whistle and lower the flame to medium. Let it cook for about 7-8 whistles. There should be enough water or the daal will burn due to the long cooking time.
- Once the cooker cools down, mix the daals well with a ladle, chana daal should almost dissolve, rajma will be as it is. This is how you get the soupy consistency, long cooking time is the key.
- Then add ginger juliennes (more the better, but depends on your love for ginger).
- Now in a wok, heat ghee (or butter), add heeng, jeera, dry red chillies, chopped garlic (optional). Fry a little and then add finely chopped tomatoes.
- Once tomatoes are soft, add some red chili powder and then add the daal. Let it simmer for a while.
- Add in the black pepper powder and cinnamon powder.
- If you want you can add more butter/cream at the end.