Dal Makhani

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Dal makhani is a staple in North Indian kitchen, this concoction of black urad dal and kidney beans soured up using tomatoes and cream dates back to one man who fled the then East Pakistan to Delhi, and started his own eatery in Delhi called the Moti Mahal.

Kundan Lal Gujral used to work in a restaurant in Peshawar. During the partition of India he moved to Delhi and started his own restaurant in Daryaganj. He introduced to Delhiites black urad dal flavored with tomatoes and cream. Soon, this dish became so popular that people from near and far started gathering at Kundan Lal’s restaurant. And, dal makhani was born, which now had become a very common recipe in any North Indian household.
The whole preparation takes a long time, you need to soak the lentils overnight; but the actual cooking time is less than 20 minutes. And, the best part is you can make a big batch and freeze it in serving size portions for a long time. I have safely frozen dal makhani for up to 3 months without loosing any flavor.
With lockdowns and shelter-in-home going on, and the uncertainty prevails when we can go back to normal life. I figured it would be good to make a large batch of this dal and freeze it for meal time when I’m too lazy or busy to cook.

The ingredients are enough to serve 4 people

1 cup whole urad dal
1/2 cup red kidney beans/rajma
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 – 4 green chilies, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon butter
Salt to taste

Soak the the whole urad dal and kidney beans for 5 – 6 hours, preferably overnight.
In a pressure cooker pour about 2 cups of warm water, add in the soaked beans and some salt. Pressure cook to up to 4 whistles or till the dal is almost cooked.
In a deep bottom add, pour the oil and heat to flaming hot, add in the crushed garlic and onion, fry till the onion is pinkish. Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir till oil separates.
Add in the ginger garlic paste, and all the spice powder except for garam masala powder. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
Add in the boiled dal, and mix with the spice mix. Season with salt if needed. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes more in low flame, add water if it starts to dry up.
Pour in the half-and-half/cream and sprinkle the garam masala powder. Serve warm with ghee rice or naan.

Note: If you don’t want to use onions and garlic then you can use asafoetida and cumin in place of the chopped onion and skip the garlic paste.
To make the dal makhani creamier, use 1/4 cup more of cream or half-and-half.
To freeze dal, pour the cooled down dal in freezer safe bags, squeeze out as much air as possible, label and freeze upto 3 months. Defrost it in a microwave or inside the fridge and transfer in a microwave safe bowl and warm it up. You can pour some more cream or milk before serving.

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