Dal Makhani History: Punjabi Recipe That Changed the Face of Black Lentils Forever

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A staple food of North-Indians, Dal Makhani is a celebrated recipe all over India by now. We find it as a default one in Punjabi restaurants, Dhaba menus and also at weddings.

Did you ever think what makes it so loved? Where did it come from? We will unfold Dal Makhani History for you…

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Getting back to where it all started: Dal Makhani History

The western part of Punjab (now in Pakistan) is where Dal Makhani finds its origin. Peshawar is used to savor this recipe with unleavened flatbread (roti) and is a popular dish at Dhaba. This dates back to the 1940s.

When Peshawaris crossed the border after the partition of India and Pakistan, they brought this recipe to India. The original recipe was cooked in a clay pot or handi for long periods. The antiquity of this delicious Punjabi dish is accredited to the creamy texture.

Later, this recipe is believed to be given a historical transformation by Kundan Lal Gujral (Founder, Moti Mahal chain of restaurants). The traditional recipe didn’t include tomato puree or cream while he twisted it butter-chicken way. Dal Makhani’s authentic recipe used yogurt as a souring agent.

That’s all folks! It’s then and now that we cannot ignore Dal Makhani any time…

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Since we have peeped through history, it’s the time to take you to its recipe. (In case, you are irresistible to make it)


  • 2 Cups Whole Urad Dal
  • 2 Cups Tomato Puree
  • 1 tbsp ginger (finely sliced)
  • 2-3 Green Chilies (slit)
  • 2 tsp Jeera
  • 1 tsp Kasoori Methi
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups Cream
  • 8 Cups Water
  • Salt (as required)

The Making of Dal Makhani

  • Soak the dal for an hour. Transfer it to the cooker, add salt, ginger, and water and cook it for 1 to 2 whistles.
  • Take a heavy-based pan and melt butter or oil. Add jeera and Kasoori Methi. As they splutter, add tomato puree, a pinch of salt, chili powder and sugar.
  • Stir fry the mixture till the oil separates.
  • Once the dal is cooked, drain excess water. Make sure that your dal moves freely and is not drained completely during pressure cooking.
  • Add dal to the mixture and leave it to simmer till it blends. Lastly, stir-in cream and mix it well. Garnish hot and steamy Dal Makhani with green chilies and serve it topped a dollop of ghee.

If you like to savor it as a Tandoori Cuisine, you can try ‘dongar’ (put a steel utensil in the dal pan, add hot coal and add a spoonful of ghee over it. Cover the utensil immediately blocking the flavors inside the pan.)

Do you know? Dal Makhani tastes better with butter roti or lachchha paratha for it adds a traditional taste to the dal.

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