Makhani dhal

Makhani dhal

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(18 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 45 mins


Serves 8

Dhal, made from lentils, peas or beans, is eaten all over India, with bread or rice

Nutrition and extra info

  • before adding cream
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal317
  • fat17g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs30g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre7g
  • protein13g
  • salt0.78g


  • 225g black lentils



    The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest…

  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 50g butter, plus a small chunk



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin



    An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediteranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm,…

  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400g cans red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 142ml pot double cream
  • ½ tsp garam masala
    Garam masala

    Garam masala

    gar-am mah-sarl-ah

    Meaning 'warming spice mix', garam masala is the main spice blend used in North Indian…

  • handful chopped coriander


  1. Boil the lentils in 800ml water for 15 mins until almost tender. Meanwhile, fry the onions and chillies in the 50g butter for about 7 mins until starting to soften. Stir in the ginger, garlic and spices and cook over a low heat for 1 min more.

  2. Pour in 800ml boiling water followed by the cooked lentils and any liquid. Add the bay leaves and beans, then simmer for 20 mins more until thickened. This can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, or frozen for up to 1 month.

  3. To serve, return to the heat if necessary and stir in the cream. Season well. Pour into a bowl, dot with the remaining butter, dust with garam masala and scatter with coriander.

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Comments, questions and tips

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19th Jan, 2009
i replaced the butter with oil and the cream with coconut milk for a vegan version. delicious!
26th Oct, 2008
really liked this, even the fussy men and teens in my family enjoyed it! ate it with toasted naan breads. made it exactly how the recipe said and its great just as it is!!
31st Jul, 2008
Really lovely. Just like the Tiffin Bites Dal.
14th May, 2008
I made this and just didn't add the cream at all, it didn't seem to need it!
4th Mar, 2008
this was delicious! very filling and tasty,and although it does have a fairly high fat content it tastes authentic, so in answer to Belinda,i would recomend having it for special occasions rather then comprimising on the taste and texture you achive with butter and cream. I did try it with 0% yoghurt and the result was slightly sour and curdled.
2nd Feb, 2008
Great recipe, and healthy too! I put half the amount of cream. Made it with the Vegetable biryani as part of a family Christmas buffet.
18th Jan, 2008
I want to try this recipe but am concerned about the fat content - what if I used Half fat cream or half fat creme fraiche or 0% greek youghurt - would it still taste ok? Has anyone tried that?


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