Black Lentils Curry in the North Indian cuisine is also called Dal Makhani. Dal Makhani means Buttery Lentil and is a popular dish originating from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. The primary ingredients of this dish is black lentils (whole unskinned urad dal) and kidney beans. Because of it use of butter and cream, this dish can be rather unfortunate for your hips and thighs.
I have attempted a low fat version using only canola oil (instead of butter) and skim milk (instead of cream). It actually turned very creamy in the end and was very delicious. And do you know who vouched for that? My own mother! Someone who had taught me so many recipes and to get a compliment from the teacher herself was quite an achievement for me. She actually asked me - 'It was so delicious - did you use cream? How did you make it so creamy? Could I have the recipe?' Have I come full circle? :)
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 cup dried black lentils, soaked for 3 hours or overnight
1/2 cup dried kidneybeans, soaked for 3 hours or overnight
2 tbsp canola oil
1 big onion, chopped roughly
1 green chilli, sliced
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 big tomato, chopped roughly
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 and 1/2 tsp Dal Makhni spice powder (MDH brand)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup skim milk
Extra coriander leaves for garnish
1) Soak the dried black lentils and kidney beans for at least 3 hours. I did this at 8 in the morning and it was fully soaked by 11. Just nice to prepare for lunch. Apologies for the unclear photos. I though using Iphone HD photos will be quite sharp but apparently not!
2) Pressure cook these lentils together with 1 tsp salt. I used a small cooker and filled it up half with water. You can also boil these beans in a pot if you don't have a pressure cooker at home. Boil till soft and overcooked.
3) After the first whistle from the pressure cooker, turn your fire to the lowest and let it cook for 10 mins. Switch off fire and check when cooled. The beans should be soft and slighly overcooked. Keep the water. Do not drain.
4) Gwt all the other ingredients ready. From top left - chopped coriander leaves, tomato cubes, sliced green chilli, ginger garlic paste and cubed onion.
5) Get the rest of the other ingredients - tomato sauce, sliced garlic (optional), chopped coriander leaves and Dal Makhani spice powder. I use the MDH brand (available in most Indian grocery stores).
6) Heat a pot with 2 tbsp oil and fry the onion,chilli and ginger garlic paste. Then, add in the spice powder, coriander leaves and chopped tomatoes.
7) Add in half cup water and cook for 5 mins till soft and mushy. Blend it till creamy. Pour this back into the pot. Wash the blender with the cooked lentil water from the pressure cooker and also pour this back. Add in the tomato sauce and cook for 5 mins.
8) After 5 mins, add in all the cooked lentils, beans and its water into the pot and simmer for 10 mins. Then, add in the skim milk and simmer for another 5 mins.
9) Lastly, saute the sliced garlic if using and garnish with these toasted garlic slices and coriander leaves. Serve with warm chapathis or plain rice.