Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani needs no introduction. It's the most common dal found on most if not all Indian Buffets. Also popularly known as Maa ki dal, precisely so because it requires long hours on the stove for the spices and cream to mingle and sing a happy song. Makhani meaning made in butter or loaded with butter/fat, cream is also added to make it a rich and heavy dal. Today we are all concerned about the vast waist line, so we tend to eat healthy, but please do not shy away form the butter and feel free to keep the cream out. Whole Black urad/gram dal is very difficult to break down and digest by out body, so butter is essential to cut the protein and make digestion easy.

As always, I turn to my guru in cooking, Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Being from  a Purely Marathi home and under the influence of my mom, who adds jaggery and goda masala like adding salt to curry, I tend to take  a different guru for non Marathi food, and who else to help me on that journey, than Mr. Kapoor himself. His recipes are tried and tested and generally very simple to make. Having grown up watching him cook and whip up food on TV since 1990's, he has had an huge impact on my cooking.

You will need;
1/2 cup Whole black gram (sabut urad)
** I used 3/4 cup split black gram dal
2 tablespoons Red kidney\ beans (rajma)
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 inch piece Ginger,chopped
3 Tbspn Butter
1 tbspn Oil
1 tspn Cumin seeds 
3 cloves Garlic,chopped 
1 Large Onion chopped
Green chillies,slit 2
2 medium Tomatoes,chopped
1 Tspn Garam masala powder

Pick, wash and soak sabut urad and rajma overnight in three cups of water. Drain. Pressure cook sabut urad and rajma in three cups of water with salt and half the red chilli powder (you can add half the ginger too if you wish) for three whistles. Open the lid and see if the rajma is totally soft. If not cook on low heat till the rajma becomes totally soft. Heat butter and oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they begin to change colour, add ginger, garlic and onion and sauté till golden. Add slit green chillies, tomatoes and sauté on high heat. Add the remaining red chilli powder and sauté till the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp. Add the cooked dal and rajma along with the cooking liquid. Add some water if the mixture is too thick. Add garam masala powder and adjust salt. Simmer on low heat till the dals are totally soft and well blended. Serve hot.

Serve hot with some steaming white rice with a dollop of ghee or some hot phulka's or paratha's. This tastes better the next day as well.

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