That said, here is a relatively lighter version, which you can amp up to your taste. Where as I have used a specific kind and number of lentils, you will find equal success with other dark lentils, or even yellow/red ones- the recipe is pretty much fool proof, and easily translates to all lentils/beans alike. The recipe LOOKS long, but I've tried to break down every step so it is easy to follow.
1/2 cup black masoor lentils (any Indian grocery)
1/2 cup brown Spanish lentils (not per tradition, but it works)
1 small can of kidney beans
1/2 can of black beans (not per tradition, but they work!)
1 small can of tomatoes, or 3 whole crushed tomatoes
3 heaping tablespoons of ginger-garlic paste (or simply pound 1 small head of garlic and 2 inches of ginger together)
2 medium onions, or 1 largish oninions
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream, or 1/2 cup regular
1/2 stick butter
You can either go w/ 3 heaping tbs of Garam Masala,
or choose my way, visit the Indian grocery store, and get all these:
- 1 longish cinnamon stick
- 3 large black cardamoms
- 5 green cardamoms
- 6 cloves
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 tbsp whole black peppers
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- Soak the dry lentils in water- leave on the kitchen counter overnight.
- Dice all the onion (about 1/2")- this too can be done the day before, and stored in the fridge.
- Add all the dry spices to a large pan, and dry roast for about 1/2 a minute, until the smell hits you- that means they are roasted. If you are using Garam masala instead, just skip to the next step.
- Throw in 1/4 of the diced onions, spray in some olive oil, and fry.
- When the onions begin to brown, add the ginger-garlic paste and all the tomato, and fry away (you don't need to add any more oil), until the mixture becomes a brown-red, and thickens somewhat- about 5 minutes. Don't let this stick to the pan.
- Now add in the soaked lentils (discard the water), and dry roast some more for about a minute. Add salt to taste (you NEED to add some salt at this point- just do it- seriously). Add in 3 cups of water, and bring the whole to a boil. Now reduce to a bare simmer, cover and walk away for about an hour. I did my laundry :)
Drop in the jalapeno, cream, rinsed black beans and black beans, adjust for salt, and dump in another 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover and walk away for 45 minutes. I folded my laundry :)
45 minutes later:
- Add the garam masala powder to your lentils, and mix- taste. adjust for salt and pepper, more garam masala if needed. If the lentils are too thick, add more water. If too thin, just boil away.
- In another, smaller pan, spray some olive oil, and fry all remaining diced onion, until it turns a darkish brown. This should take 15 minutes, by which times your lentils should be done.
- Check your lentils, which should be soft by now. If they aren't, no sweat- add more water, boil, cover and simmer until they are soft enough. Yes this sound like a long process, but if you barbecue, it isn't.
- Once you are comfy with the done-ness of your lentils, check the viscosity- Dal Makhani is normally really thick, with the spatula barely able to stir things around- but you its your choice really. If you like it thinner, add water, and boil to desired viscosity as well.
- Once you are all done, add in the fried onions, and as much butter as you like. I put in 1/2 a stick, since this IS Dal Makhani, but purists would add in 2. Keep in mind, by this time, you probably have enough Dal to feed 4 very hungry people.
- Garnish with 1/2 cup of minced cilantro stirred in, and serve hot with steamed white rice or garlic naan, as I did.