This instant pot Dal Makhani recipe without onion and garlic is an exotic vegetarian dish made out of lentils and beans. It is a north Indian lentil dish from the Punjab region known for its creamy, silky, melt-in-the-mouth textures. This dal makhani recipe is a family favorite that I have enhanced and perfected in an instant pot over the years. Topped with cream and butter, it is hard to resist.
- Why I Love This Easy Dal Makhani Instant Pot Recipe
- What is Dal Makhani?
- How Healthy is Dal Makhani?
- Dal Makhani Ingredients
- How to Make Dal Makhani in an Instant Pot
- The Best Dal Makhani Recipe Without Onion and Garlic
- Tips for the Best Dal Makhani in an Instant Pot
- How to Store Dal Makhani
- What to Serve With Dal Makhani
- Frequently Asked Questions about Dal Makhani
Why I Love This Easy Dal Makhani Instant Pot Recipe
Traditionally, dal makhani is cooked over a tandoor, on slow heat, and simmered for a long time. The instant pot's pressure cook and sauté features make it faster and easier to cook dal makhani.
- An instant pot transforms dal makhani into an easy one-pot dish.
- It has a creamy, buttery, and silky texture that is so hard to resist.
- It consists of intense and deep earthy flavors. This is achieved via various spices I use to enhance the flavor. These spices add more depth and fragrance and so much flavor. It really is a must-try recipe!
- It's not high on the spice level, so kids can enjoy it too.
- Dal Makhani provides a good amount of protein thanks to the beans and lentils in this recipe.
- When paired with rice, this really is a perfect gluten-free meal.
- It makes a great freezer-friendly recipe for meal prep.
What is Dal Makhani?
Dal Makhani is a classic recipe from Pakistan's Punjab or Peshawar region. It was brought to India by three friends who migrated to Delhi during partition time. After their migration to Delhi, these three friends, Kundan Lal Gujral, Thakur Dass, and Kundan Lal Jaggi, opened a restaurant named Moti Mahal in the locality of Delhi and introduced this recipe. (Source; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal_makhani)
Dal Makhani is the literal translation of Buttery Lentil, lentils cooked in a buttery sauce. It is made from a combination of whole black gram lentils (Sabut kali urad) and kidney beans (Rajma) cooked in an onion-garlic-tomato-based gravy with a handful of Indian spices. This dal is known for its signature dark color, thick creamy, luscious texture, and intense flavors usually achieved from long-simmering butter and cream.
You will likely spot this so admired dal makhani on the menu of roadside eateries, also known as ‘DHABA” to all high-end restaurants. Because of its likeness among all age groups, adults, and kids, any special family event dinner would be incomplete without having dal makhani on the menu. Dal makhani’s popularity is partly due to its versatility in a meal. This rich vegetarian dish can be served as a main meal, included as part of a buffet, or used as an accompaniment to a meal Thali.
How Healthy is Dal Makhani?
Dal Makhani is a healthy dish for anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular health or just adopt a healthier diet. Whole black gram beans and kidney beans, the two main ingredients in dal makhani, are nutritious. They are rich in fiber, protein, calcium, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The presence of fiber, magnesium, and potassium makes it the perfect food for health.
Dal Makhani Ingredients
- Whole black gram beans
- Split urad lentil
- Red kidney beans
- Heavy whipping cream
- Green chili
- Cumin seeds
- Bay leaves
- Cinnamon stick
- Green Cardamom
- Turmeric powder
- Coriander powder
- Red chili powder
- Dry mango powder
- Kasoori methi
- Mustard Oil
How to Make Dal Makhani in an Instant Pot
- Thoroughly wash and rinse all the beans and lentils, then soak in water for at least 5-6 hours or overnight.
- Once the beans and lentils are soaked, make the masala for the dal makhana by roughly chopping the tomatoes and then adding the tomatoes, ginger, green chile, and soaked whole dry red chili to a blender and puree.
- With an instant pot on Saute mode, add the mustard oil or ghee to the inner pot once it's hot, and then add the hing and cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato puree to the instant pot and cook until all the water is evaporated. Once the tomato puree separates from the oil, add the salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and red chili or cayenne pepper.
- Drain the soaked beans and lentils and add them to the tomato masala mixture in the instant pot with some water. Close and seal the instant pot.
- Pressure cook on high for 16 minutes (non-pressure release) and then release the pressure. Once it is released, open the lid and stir.
- Set the instant pot on saute mode on low heat and set the timer for 15 minutes. Add the butter, let the dal makhani simmer on low heat, and uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Next, add the kasoori methi, freshly grated nutmeg, and heavy whipping cream, and let it simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes. Then add the chopped cilantro and dry mango powder, mix well, and serve.
The Best Dal Makhani Recipe Without Onion and Garlic
The authentic dal makhani recipe calls for onion and garlic; however, many people don’t use onions and garlic in their food for various reasons. Hence, I wanted to share my favorite dal makhani without onion and garlic recipe, which is a great-tasting version of the original, popular dal makhani recipe.
Frankly speaking, the first time, I might have cooked this without onion and garlic dal makhani out of compulsion, but now this version has become my choice over the authentic version of Dal Makhani. I am sure once you try this recipe, this will become your favorite way to cook, which I have only perfected and enhanced over the years after many experiments and trials.
Tips for the Best Dal Makhani in an Instant Pot
The instant pot dal Makhani recipe without onion and garlic is not complicated. In fact, it is pretty easy to make, but it helps to understand better the ingredients, their respective roles, and the cooking process. So let’s divide these into different categories:
- Lentils and Beans: Whole black gram beans, also known as Sabut Kali Urad, and kidney beans, popularly known as rajma in the Indian subcontinent, are the main ingredients you would need to make dal makhani. But adding a fistful of split and dehusked black gram lentils, aka Dhuli Urad Dal, adds creaminess to the end result.
- Base Sauce or Gravy: A combination of tomatoes, ginger, and soaked whole dry red chilis enhances the color and flavors of the base sauce. With this base sauce, you don't need to add any store-bought tomato paste or sauce. Make sure you cook the sauce until the oil starts oozing out.
- Spices: The spices used in this recipe can be divided into two categories. First are the basic spices (required), and the second is the enhancer spices to enhance the flavors further. These spices add more depth and fragrance. Dal Makhani can be cooked without enhancer spices, but I strongly recommend adding them as they add much more flavor. Adding a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg and kasoori methi at the end adds excellent flavor. Cinnamon and cardamom add a little hint of sweetness to them.
- Mustard Oil: Since my childhood, I have been seeing and cooking all lentil recipes in ghee. But recently, just to experiment with flavors, I have started cooking my lentils in mustard oil. I must say mustard oil adds a more earthy flavor to this classic recipe.
- Butter and Cream: Dal makhani would be incomplete without adding butter, aka ‘Makhan,’ which is responsible for its buttery and silky texture. It tastes out of this world with homemade butter. Coincidentally, I had homemade butter this time as I made my own ghee from Malai. I know that would not be the case with everyone, so use any butter available to you. Use cultured butter instead of sweet cream butter for better flavor. I also add cream for extra creaminess. I prefer to divide the quantity of butter between butter and cream. If you are conscious of your calorie consumption, reduce the amount of butter and cream, but don’t skip it.
- Slow Cooking and Simmering: Simmering on slow heat brings out the flavor in the dal makhani. The restaurant version usually takes anywhere from a day to two to make delicious dal makhani. This recipe might not have simmered for hours, but 20 minutes of simmering on a low heat sauté mode in instant pot results in a deliciously flavorful, creamy, luscious dal makhani. So don’t skip on this 20 minutes of simmering, but if time allows, you can increase the simmering time.
How to Store Dal Makhani
Refrigerator – Dal Makhani keeps well in the refrigerator for almost a week. You may need to adjust the consistency when reheating.
Freezer – Dal Makhani makes a perfect freezer-friendly recipe for meal prep. You can cook a big batch and freeze it in portions in freezer-friendly containers. When you are ready to eat it, transfer the frozen dal makhani container to the refrigerator overnight to get thaw it and then reheat using a microwave or stovetop.
What to Serve With Dal Makhani
Frequently Asked Questions about Dal Makhani
Traditionally, dal makhani is cooked over tandoor, on slow heat, and simmered for many hours. It would be hard to achieve the same flavor and texture when not cooked on the tandoor, but making dal makhani in an instant pot is quicker and still delicious enough to relish and enjoy. Dal makhani becomes an easy and delicious one-pot dish with an instant pot.
Whole black gram beans and kidney beans, the two main ingredients in this dish, are full of nutrition. They are rich in fiber, protein, calcium, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The presence of fiber, magnesium, and potassium makes it the perfect food for cardiovascular health. Dal Makhani makes a tremendous hearty lentil dish.
Soaking lentils and beans is advisable and beneficial for many reasons:
1. Reduces phytic acids
2. Reduces tannins and polyphenols
3. Promotes production of beneficial enzymes (serves to reduce phytic acids and polyphenols further)
4. Improves the body's ability to absorb minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium
5. Makes proteins more available for absorption
6. Reduces anti-nutritional enzyme inhibitors
7. Removes gas-causing compounds
8. Decreases cooking time and improves food texture
Yes, it can be cooked without soaking the beans. However, without soaking, the beans and lentils take longer to cook. To ensure they are fully cooked, increase the pressure-cooking time to 35 minutes and follow the rest of the cooking process.
Note: I have used Camellia brand red kidney beans and never had any problem cooking them perfectly. However, Indian stores sell different brands of red beans; different batches cook differently and require different times.
Refrigerator – Dal Makhani keeps well in the refrigerator for almost a week. You may need to adjust the consistency when reheating it.
Freezer – Dal Makhani makes a perfect freezer-friendly recipe for meal prep. Cook a big batch and freeze it in portions in freezer-friendly containers. When ready to consume, transfer the frozen dal makhani container to the refrigerator overnight to get it to thaw and reheat using a microwave or stovetop.
To make Dal Makhani vegan, cook in mustard oil, a plant-based oil. If you don’t have mustard oil, you can use any plant-based oil. Avocado oil is great too. Substitute butter with your favorite vegan butter and cream with cashew cream. I would not recommend adding coconut cream as it will change the flavor profile of an authentic dal makhani.
Instant Pot Dal Makhani (Without Onion And Garlic)
- 28 gm Butter Makhan: 2 tablespoon / 1 oz
- 60 gm Heavy whipped cream ¼ cup / 2.1 oz
- 828 ml Water Pani: 3.5 cup/ 28 fl. Oz.
- ¼ teaspoon Hing
- 1 tablespoon Cumin seeds Jeera
- 2 Bay leaves 2 in number
- 1 Cinnamon stick 1-inch piece
- ¼ teaspoon Cloves 6-7 in number
- ¼ teaspoon Green cardamom 4 in number
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder Haldi
- 2 teaspoon Coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Dry mango powder
- 2 tablespoon Kasoori Methi
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon Salt Namak: ½ teaspoon, adjust as per taste
- 2 tablespoon Mustard Oil Ghee / choice of oil
- Wash and rinse whole black gram/ urad beans, kidney beans/rajma and dehusked black gram lentils/ dhuli urad dal 3-4 times in fresh water. Then let them soak in water for at least 5-6 hours or overnight.
- Once lentils and beans are thoroughly soaked, start preparing masala for dal makhani.
- To make masala for dal makhani, add roughly chopped tomatoes, ginger, green chili, and soaked whole dry red chili in a Nutribullet blender jar and blend everything into a puree.
- Set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode and adjust the setting to ’Normal’ heat level. When the display reads ‘Hot’, add mustard oil or ghee to the inner pot.
- Now add hing, and cumin seeds to the oil. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the whole spices – bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, and cloves, and fry them for 30 seconds.
- Cook the tomato puree until all the water is evaporated and oil starts oozing out from the sides of the puree. Tip: while cooking, tomato puree splatters a lot, to avoid the mess, cover the pot with a lid.
- Once, the tomato puree starts separating the oil add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and red chili or cayenne pepper. Stir all the spices into tomato puree. Masala is ready to add soaked lentils and beans into it.
- Now drain the water from the soaked beans and lentils and add to the tomato masala, and 3.5 cups of water. Mix well.
- Close the Instant Pot, and move the vent to the sealing position.
- Pressure cook or manual cook on high pressure for 16 minutes, NPR.
- It will take around ‘18 minutes’ to build the pressure and after pressure cooking is over around same time ‘18 minute’ to release the pressure.
- Once the pressure is released on its own, open the lid and stir.
- Now set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode and adjust the setting to ’low’ heat level. Set the time for 15 minutes using the ‘+ or – ‘ sign.
- Add two tablespoons of butter and let the dal simmer on low heat uncovered for around 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes of simmering, add kasoori methi and, freshly grated nutmeg, and heavy whipped cream, let the dal simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.
- Now add chopped cilantro, and dry mango powder and mix well.
- Delicious Dal makhani is ready to serve.
- Garnish it with cilantro, some swirls of cream and a dollop of butter before serving.
- Enjoy with naan, paratha, or with some Navratan rice pulao.
How to make Dal Makhani Vegan?To make Dal Makhani vegan:
• This recipe is already getting cooked in mustard oil which is a plant-based oil. If you don’t have mustard oil then you can use any plant-based oil available to you. Avocado oil would be great too.
• Substitute butter with your favorite vegan butter and cream with cashew cream. I would not recommend adding coconut cream as it will change the flavor profile of authentic dal makhani. Note: I have used camellia brand red kidney beans and I have never face any problem in perfectly cooking them. However, people had issues in past that Indian stores red beans, different brands, different batches cook differently and require different time.