Recipe: Dal Makhani (Black Lentil Bean Dip)
Dal is the Hindi word for lentil, and is a dish made of split beans, peas or lentils. It can be thick or it can served runny, like a thin soup; the beans may be mashed or left whole. To confuse matters more, dal also refers to split dried beans. Spices and aromatics used to season the dal are what give the cooked beans their character.
Cook ahead tips: The first step can be made several days in advance. You could also make it a month advance and freeze it.
- 1 1/2 cups dry black lentils (urad), small stones picked out and rinsed in several changes of water
- 4 whole green Thai chilis
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3/4 cup minced white onion
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Shan Dal Curry mix (or 2 teaspoons garam masala)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1. In a pressure cooker, cook lentils with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, chilis, garlic and ginger in 5 cups water. Cook 17 minutes. (Note: You can make this a couple of days ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Thaw and heat before going on to the next step.)
2. While lentils are cooking, in a medium pan, heat oil to high. Stir in onions and cook 10 minutes until golden brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes and cook until oil separates.
3. In another small pan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add the dal curry mix - cook for 30 seconds and immediately add to the dal. Pour some dal into the pan to get the rest of the spices and return to the dal pan. This is called the “tarka”.
4. Just before you are ready to serve the dal, heat to high. Stir in butter and blend with an immersion blender. If you don't have one, use a potato masher. Do not let the dal boil after you have added the butter, or it will separate.
5. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
This recipe was written by Peggy Lampman and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on Nov. 9, 2011.