Dishoom Black Dal aka Dal Makhani – I Am A Food Blog

Dishoom black dal recipe slow cooker

Video Dishoom black dal recipe slow cooker

Dishoom’s Black Dal is creamy, delicious and absolutely addictive,

I love dal. It is warm and welcoming, full of flavor, creamy, rich and filling. It can be an all-day affair or a quick 1 hour in the instant pot. This particular dal recipe is a riff in the dal at the popular London restaurant, Dishoom. Think: tender lentils in a rich, creamy tomato sauce seasoned with cinnamon, cilantro, cardamom, fennel, garam masala and more. Trust me when I say it’s the BEST plate of vegetarian food you’ve ever eaten.

dal makhani |

Dishoom is a beloved Iranian-style Mumbai-inspired café in London. Their most popular dish is the house special, the black dal. When you go, you will see each table with a small pot of dal along with hot naan. Dishoom is one of our favourite restaurants in London and we always, always get the dal.

The rumor is that the iconic black dal made at Dishoom is cooked for more than 24 hours. They have released the recipe for dal in their cookbook, but it is a reduced home-style recipe that simmers for 5-6 hours. I freely based this recipe on that, but we tried our best and cooked ours for 24 hours because we wanted it to taste as close to the actual deal as possible. The result is a decadent and indulgent dal that you won’t believe came from your own kitchen. For those who are not interested in waiting more than 24 hours for an amazing dal, we also have an instant version of pot.

Instant Pot Black Dal Recipe |

What is dal?

Dal are dried legumes such as lentils, peas and beans. The term refers both to the types of soups and stews made from legumes and to the legumes themselves. Dal is inviting, nutritious and full of plant-based protein and fiber. It is an excellent choice for a satisfying meal, especially served together with rice or naan.

What is dal makhani?

Dal makhani is a dish that originated in New Delhi, India. It is a modern version of the traditional dal, but made with black beans or black lentils. What makes it different is the inclusion of butter and cream. Makhani means “buttery” and butter is what makes this dal special.

dal with cream and butter |

What does dal makhani taste like?

Think of a thick, tasty soup made from lentils. The flavor profile of this particular recipe is deep and dark and full of salty flavors. Lentils maintain their shape, but they also burst in the mouth with the slightest pressure: small bursts of flavor explosions. It is thick and seasoned with a touch of tomato sweetness and lush and rich in butter and heavy cream.


  • ingredients black lentils: technically dal makhani uses urad dal, which belong to the mung bean family. However, they are not very common and usually should be specially ordered, at least where we are. The black lentils we usually see are black beluga lentils or petit black lentils. Chances are, the black lentils you’ll find at the grocery store are beluga black lentils that are perfect. Other lentils like red, brown, or green lentils will also work, but their skins are thinner, so they could break down more while cooking. French lentils have slightly thicker skin, so they don’t break down as much.
  • Spices: whole cloves, star anise, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne, fennel seeds, garam a masala, cardamom, bay leaf and a cinnamon stick. Oops! There is a lot of spices in this dish and I feel that they all contribute equally. That said, I know many people make their dal makhani with little to no spice and let the lentils, butter, and cream shine. Personally, I find that hot spices add a lot. Lightly toasting the spices in a dry pan will highlight their flavors and aromas, so don’t miss it.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onion adds sweetness, especially when cooked slowly in butter.
  • Ginger: The warmth of fresh ginger is cooked and softened deliciously. You’ll want to chop it very finely or use a grater. I like to use a Japanese-style ginger grater and measure 1 tablespoon of grated ginger and all ginger juice as well.
  • Garlic: Who doesn’t love garlic? Use a garlic press so that the garlic pieces are small and melt in the sauce.
  • Tomato paste: The tomato paste in this recipe condenses, sweetens and adds a lot of umami. Again, the softness of tomato paste is key here. You want the texture focus of the dal to be lentils, so tomato paste is ideal compared to fresh tomatoes.
  • Butter: I wouldn’t be Dal Makhani without butter. I use unsalted butter to control the salt content, but I must admit that, when it comes time to serve, a pat of salted butter melting on the hot dal is amazing. Cream: Thick cream adds a delicious creamy thickness.
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black lentils |” />

What is the difference between black lentils / black beluga lentils

and urad dal?

The urad dal, which belong to the mung bean family, are larger and look like a complete mung bean. They are about 1/4 inch long and oval-shaped with a small white spot on one side.

Black lentils are smaller and disc-shaped. They are about 1/8 inch in diameter and have a small yellow spot.

How to make


This dal takes 24 hours to make, but I promise you, it’s worth it. It’s almost completely hands-free, so you don’t actually do much. A covered pot simply sits in a low oven and all you do is stir it from time to time. The results are incredible!

  1. soak. Rinse the lentils and then immerse them in plenty of cold water, overnight. Many lentil recipes say you can skip this step and that might be true, but always soak mine. I feel that hydrating them keeps them in shape even after cooking.
  2. cook. The next day, rinse the lentils and drain well. Place them in a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft, but still keep their shape, filling them with water if necessary. When soft, drain and set aside.
  3. toast. While the lentils are cooking, toast the spices in a dry pan to release their aromas. Crush or use a spice grinder to mix everything and set aside.
  4. sweat. Heat some oil and butter in a pan and slowly cook the onion, garlic and ginger until everything melts and melts into a smooth paste. Add spices, tomato paste, cooked lentils and a little water so that everything comes together in a thick soup. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.
  5. braise. Take note of the time. Cover the pot well and place it in an oven at 325°F for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally to see if the dal is dry and you need to add water.
  6. all night. Turn the oven to 200°F and let the dal cook overnight.
  7. finish. The next day, turn up the temperature to 300°F until you have reached 24 hours in the oven. Add the cream and butter and season with salt. Enjoy!
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dal makhani |

How to make Instant Pot dal If 24 hours is too long for your dal craving,

Instant Pot dal

is here for you. Here’s how you do it:

  1. lightly toast the spices in a dry skillet over low heat to bring out the aromas, then crane or grind them
  2. .

  3. Add butter and oil to the Instant Pot insert. Light to sauté high and add the diced onions, chopped ginger and chopped garlic. Cook briefly. Add the spices and then add rinsed uncooked black lentils, tomato paste and 2 cups of water.
  4. Seal and cook under high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release, careful ventilation and opening of the lid. Add the butter and cream to finish. Try and season with salt and enjoy!

Instant Pot dal vs stove/oven


It’s really hard to choose, but if I had to choose, I would choose the 24-hour dal. The 24-hour dal has much more depth of flavor! It is smoky, rich and dark. The Instant Pot version is light and creamy. It definitely had something to do with the amount of time tomato paste has to cook and condense. The 24-hour dal has only a hint of tomato: you almost have to look for it to identify the flavor, while the Instant Pot version has tomato as one of the first flavor notes. I love both, so it’s hard for me to tell if one is better than the other, but if I’m in a dal-rush, the Instant Pot version is AMAZING. Besides, sometimes you’re just hungry. ̄_(ツ)_/ ̄

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instant pot vs stovetop dal |

Tips and tricks

  • Soak your lentils overnight. This is the number one thing you should do for this recipe. It will help your lentils maintain their shape and be tender after cooking. Many lentil recipes say it’s not necessary, but it’s not a difficult step and I’ve never skipped it.
  • There is a certain smoking that comes from the long stew in the oven. This is not a quick recipe, but the time of non-intervention comprises most of the time. Slow cooking in the oven gives you a smoke that you won’t get if you only do this on the stove.
  • A small pot is your friend. Use a small, heavy-bottomed cooking bowl with an oven-safe lid. I use our small 1.5 quart Staub and the depth and width make it the perfect salt pot. It is about 5 inches wide and 6.5 inches high. If you use a pot with too large a base, the dal will come out shallow and may lead to burns/drying. If you don’t have a small pot, transfer your dal to a higher baking-safe dish and cover it with foil.

Making dal |



If you are looking for extra smoke you can complete this last step. You’ll need a small metal bowl, a piece of natural hardwood charcoal, and a way to set charcoal on fire.

  1. When the dal is ready and you have stirred the butter and cream, place a small metal bowl directly on the surface of the dal. The thickness of the dal should hold it.
  2. Safely ignite your charcoal outside and let it burn until warm and lightly covered with white-gray ash, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Use a pair of tweezers and carefully place the hot charcoal in the mental bowl and add 2 tablespoons just above the hot charcoal. It will instantly start smoking.
  4. Quickly cover the dal with the lid and leave smoke for 5 minutes and then remove the lid and container with the charcoal.

What to serve with dal

  • Naan is always the right answer and fluffy, chewy and homemade naan is the perfect accompaniment
  • . Naan with

  • cheese or naan with garlic are also good
  • !

  • Chicken with creamy butter Sweet
  • and

  • spicy ruby chicken curry Tasty and hearty chicken biryani

I really hope you try this recipe. It’s one of my favorites and always repeated! Xoxo Love and lentils, Steph

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