Dal Makhni – A versatile dish that lends itself to any accompaniment

Dal Makhni

Rajma – 40 grams
Black urad dal – 120 grams
Kasturi methi – 1/2 teaspoon
Bay leaf- one
Black cardamom- one
Cloves – two
Cumin- one teaspoon
Cinnamon – one inch stick
Chilli powder – 3/4 teaspoon
Green cardamom – two
Ginger garlic paste – one teaspoon
Onion – one large, minced
Green chillies – two
Tomatoes- three, puréed
Butter – one large tablespoon
Fresh Cream as desired
Salt to taste

Soak the rajma and the black urad dal overnight. Rinse this at least twice with fresh water and cook it in a pressure cooker with some salt. The amount of water you need to pressure cook this is double the amount of the soaked pulses. Now pressure cook his for 15 whistles. When done the urad dal will be silky and pulped down while the rajma will continue to hold its shape. Reserve any liquid remaining as you will need this later.

When I worked in the Oberoi hotel the pulses were soaked and then left overnight  after the last order to be slow cooked over the tandoor which had been used the whole evening through. The heat of the dying embers cooked the pulses by morning leaving it with a delicious smoky flavour. 

In a pot heat some oil and half a table spoon of butter and add all the whole spices. If you only add butter it will burn as butter has a low smoking point; with oil it does not begin to burn.

Now add the onions and keep frying till it browns. Make sure the onions have a deep rich and brown colour (dont burn the onions). Add the ginger garlic paste and the chilli powder. Cook this for a minute and stir in the puréed tomatoes and continue cooking for about five minutes. Now add the pre-cooked pulses. At this stage, depending on how thick the dish is add the reserved stock or water of the cooked pulses.

Cover this and cook for about ten minutes checking on it every two minutes to make sure it is not burning at the bottom. When done add the remaining butter and a large dollop of fresh cream. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.

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