Tantalizing Dal Makhana - A Must Try for Food Lovers

Discover what all the hype is about - Dal Makhana! Learn how to make this delicious curried dish and find out why it's a favourite among foodies.

Dal makhana is a classic Indian dish combining creamy winter vegetables, spices, and lentils. It's an incredibly flavourful and nutritious meal loved by foodies around the world for its robust flavor and versatility! Learn how to make this delicious curried dish and discover why it's become so popular.

What is Dal Makhana?

Dal makhana is a traditional North Indian dish that consists of lentils and winter vegetables like potatoes, green beans, ghee, onion, and tomatoes. It is usually served with naan or rice to create a filling meal. The term “dal makhana” translates to “rice and lentils” in Hindi and many variations exist from region to region. Some regional variations are made with coconut milk, clarified butter (ghee), or cream for added richness and flavor.

Dal makhana is easy to make and can be prepared in a slow cooker, on the stovetop, or even in an Instant Pot. It is often seasoned with a variety of spices like cumin, coriander, black pepper, and garam masala. In some regions like Punjab, thick yogurt is added for tartness and cashews are added for crunch. When served as part of a larger meal, dal makhana is usually garnished with fried onions or cilantro. This dish is both delicious and nutritious; it provides plenty of protein from the lentils as well as vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.

How to make Dal Makhana:

To make this tantalizing dal makhana dish, you will need: 1 cup red lentils (masoor), 1 potato cut into cubes, 1 onion chopped fine, 1 chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons of clarified butter (ghee), ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic chopped fine, 1 teaspoon ground coriander powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and 2 tablespoons of cream. Begin by heating the ghee in a deep pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add in the onions and garlic and fry till the onions are golden brown. Add the chopped tomatoes, potatoes, red lentils and all the spices. Stir fry for a few minutes. Add about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 25 minutes until the mixture thickens. Add in the cream at last before turning off the flame, stir well for that luscious creamy taste!

Benefits of Dal Makhana:

Apart from being a lip-smacking delicacy, Dal Makhana also has a number of health benefits. It's full of protein, which helps build and repair tissue in the body. It's rich in fiber for digestive health and heart health, as well as iron for anaemia prevention. Furthermore, it’s low in fat, making it great for weight loss diets. All these nutritional qualities along with its delectable taste make this dish worthy of becoming your weekly favourite.

Variations of Dal Makhana:

Dal Makhana is versatile and can be used to make a variety of dishes. From soups and curries to side dishes and snacks, bring out your culinary creativity and wow your family or guests with exciting recipes! Try adding some spiciness by mixing in chilli peppers or some sweetness by incorporating dates, dried figs, or even honey. The possibilities are endless!

Dal Makhana is a favourite in north India, where it’s made in various styles. In Delhi, the dish is cooked with cream, tomatoes and onion, while Punjabi style Dal Makhana is often served with garlic or ginger and garam masala. The South Indian version includes coconut milk and tamarind paste; and when mango powder is added to this recipe it’s called Amlai Dal Makhana. You can also prepare flavoursome chaat using lentils by mixing them with other ingredients like spices, potatoes and carrots. Beetroot Dal Makhana is a popular snack among kids as it contains vegetables which are usually caught up in other delectable dishes. Mix dal makhana with minced paneer for making scintillating bhel puri.

Serving Ideas for Dal Makhana:

Dal Makhana can be served in many ways. If you want to enjoy it as a main dish, serve it with some freshly made steamed white rice and a side of your favourite green vegetable. To transform it into a tasty snack, simply steam the mixture, mix in warm spices and herbs and shape into bite-size balls. Serve deep-fried for added flavour or bake and serve for a healthier option. As an appetizer, you could plate the dumplings in small cups and garnish with fresh parsley leaves.

Dal makhana is a versatile dish that can also be served as part of an Indian thali. Serve the dal along with two vegetables, steamed rice, chapattis, papadums and some chutneys or pickles. This is a great way to enjoy the subtle flavours of Dal Makhana along with other vegetarian dishes. If you’re looking for something truly unique and tasty, turn this traditional preparation into a yogurt-based raita by mixing mashed dal makhana with creamy Greek yogurt and chopped tomatoes. Serve with warm naan bread and enjoy!