Dal Makhani: No Onion No Garlic Instant Pot Recipe

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is an exotic vegetarian dish made out of lentils and beans which needs no introduction. A north Indian lentil dish specifically from the region of Punjab has been known and popular for its creamy, silky and melt in mouth textures. It would be hard to resist a bowl of warm dal makhani when topped with cream and butter.

Dal Makhani top view

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 group, adults as well as kids any special family events dinners 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.

Dal Makhani Thali

The authentic dal makhani recipe calls for onion and garlic; however, lot of people don’t use onions and garlic in their food for different reasons. Hence, sharing no onion no garlic version of this popular dal makhani.

Frankly speaking, first time I might have cooked this without onion and garlic dal makahani out of compulsion, but now this version has become my choice over authentic version of Dal Makhani. I am sure once you will try this recipe this will become your favorite way to cook as well, which I have only perfected and enhanced over years after many experiments and trials.

Dal-Makhani front View

What is Dal Makhani?

Dal Makhani is a classic recipe from the Punjab or Peshawar region of Pakistan. It was brought to India by three friends who migrated to Delhi during partition time. After 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 front Close-up view

Dal Makhani is the literal translation of Buttery Lentil, lentils cooked in buttery sauce. Dal Makhani 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 handful of Indian spices. This dal is known for its signature dark color, thick creamy luscious texture and intense flavors which are usually achieved from long simmering in butter and cream.

Dal-Makhani top close-up view

Dal Makhani cooked in Instant Pot?

Traditionally, dal makhani is cooked over tandoor, on slow heat and simmered for long hours. It would be hard to achieve the same flavor and texture when not cooked on tandoor, but still delicious enough to relish and enjoy. No doubt, that Instant pot makes it faster and easier to cook with its pressure cook and sauté features. With Instant pot, dal makhani becomes an easy one pot dish.

Dal-Makhani final view Instant Pot

Tips to Cook Dal Makhani without Onion and Garlic

The recipe for dal Makhani is not difficult. In fact, it is quite easy to make but you need to be little patient while cooking it.  For better understanding of ingredients, their respective roles and cooking process, let’s divide the these into different categories: 

Dal-Makhani Ingredients
  • Lentils and Beans: Whole black gram beans also known as Sabut Kali Urad and kidney beans, popularly known as rajma in Indian subcontinent, are the main ingredients you would need to make dal makahani. But adding fistful of split and dehusked black gram lentils aka Dhuli Urad Dal adds the creaminess to the end result.
  • Base Sauce or Gravy: Combination of tomatoes, ginger and soaked whole dry red chilis enhances the color and flavors of the base sauce. With this base sauce you would not need to add any store-bought tomato paste or sauce. Make sure you cook the sauce until the oil stats oozing out.  
  • Spices: Spices used in this recipe can be divided into two categories. First are basic spices and second are enhancer spices which enhances the flavors further. These spices add more depth and fragrance. Dal makhani can be cooked without enhancer spices, however I strongly recommend adding them as they add so much more flavors. You definitely can’t cook without basic spices. Adding a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg and kasoori methi at the end add great depth of flavor in dal makhani. Cinnamon and cardamom add a little hint of sweetness to it.
Dal Makhani Spices
  • Mustard Oil: Since my childhood, I have been seeing and cooking all lentils 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 more earthy flavor to this classic recipe.
  • Butter and Cream: Dal makhani would be incomplete without any addition of butter aka ‘makhan’ which is responsible for its buttery and silky texture. It tastes out of this world with homemade butter. Coincidentally, I happened to have homemade butter this time as I make my own ghee, scratch from malai. I know that would not be the case with everyone, so use any butter available to you. If possible, use cultured butter instead of sweet cream butter for better flavor. Further to bring out the creaminess, I have also added cream. I prefer to divide the quantity of butter between butter and cream. If you are really conscious on your calories consumption, then reduce the amount of butter and cream but definitely don’t skip it.
Butter for adding to dal-makhani
  • Slow Cooking and Simmering: Simmering on slow heat what brings out the flavor in the dal makhani.  Restaurant version usually takes anywhere from a day to two to make really good dal makhani. This recipe might have not simmered for hrs. but 20 minute of overall simmering on low heat sauté mode, results into a really good flavorful, creamy, luscious dal makhani. So don’t skip on this 20 minutes of simmering, if time allows you, then do increase the simmering time.
Dal-Makhani Top View

Why Dal Makhani is good nutritionally?

Whole black gram beans[ARA1]  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 along with magnesium, and potassium makes it the perfect food for cardiovascular health. Dal Makhani makes a great hearty lentil dish.

Ladle full of Dal-Makhani

Why you should try Dal Makhani?

  • It has Creamy, buttery and silky texture.
  • Lace with intense and deep earthy flavors.
  • Not high on spice level so enjoyed by kids as well.
  • Provide good amount of protein.
  • When paired with rice makes a perfect Gluten-free meal.
  • Makes a great freezer friendly recipe for meal-preps.
Dal Makhani topped with butter and cream

Why should I soak beans before cooking?

Soaking lentils and beans are advisable and beneficial for many reasons:

  • Reduces phytic acids
  • Reduces tannins and polyphenols
  • Promotes production of beneficial enzymes (serves to further reduce phytic acids and polyphenols)
  • Improves the body’s ability to absorb minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium
  • Makes proteins more available for absorption
  • Reduces anti-nutritional enzyme inhibitors  
  • Removes gas-causing compounds
  • Decreases cooking time and improves food texture

 Though, soaking beans and lentils are highly advisable but once a while it would be fine if you have to cook them without soaking.

Lentils and beans getting rinsed and soaked

Can Dal Makhani be Cooked without Soaking Beans?

Yes, it can be cooked without soaking. However, without soaking, beans and lentils take longer to cook.  To make sure they are fully cooked increase the pressure-cooking time to 35 minutes and follow rest of the cooking process as is.

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.


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.

How to store Dal Makhani?


Refrigerator – Dal Makhani keeps well in the fridge for almost a week. It may need to adjust the consistency when reheating.
Freezer – Dal Makhani makes a perfect freezer friendly recipe for meal prep. Cook a big batch and freeze in portions in freezer-friendly containers. When ready to consume, transfer the frozen dal makhani container to refrigerator the night before to get it thaw and reheat using microwave or stovetop.

So, what are you waiting for? Try this amazingly delicious main dish recipe and enjoy with your loved ones.

Ingredients Required for Dal Makhani:

Ingredients for Dal-Makhani

Pantry

Lentils and Beans

Dairy/Fridge

  • Butter (Makhan): 2 tablespoon / 28 grams / 1 oz
  • Heavy Cream: ¼ cup / 60 grams / 2.1 oz
  • Water (Pani): 3.5 cup/ 828 ml/ 28 fl. Oz.
Homemade Butter

Produce

  • Tomatoes (Tamatar): 400 grams/ 4 medium size, roughly chopped
  • Ginger (Adrak): 15 grams/ 1 inch of knob, roughly chopped
  • Green chili (Hari Mirch): 3 grams/ 3 green Thai chilis or one serrano, roughly chopped
  • Cilantro (Hara Dhaniya):  2 tablespoons/ 10 grams/ 1/4 of bunch, finely chopped.

Spices/oils

Basic Spices used in the recipe

Instructions for Dal Makhani

  1. 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. Lentils and Beans ready for soaking
  2. Once lentils and beans are thoroughly soaked, start preparing masala for dal makhani.
  3. To make masala for dal makhani, add roughly chopped tomatoes, ginger, green chili and soaked whole dry red chili in Nutribullet blender jar and blend everything into puree.  Pureed tomatoes, ginger and chillies
  4. 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.  Mustard Oil
  5. Now add hing, cumin seeds to the oil, when the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the whole spices – bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, and cloves, fry them for 30 seconds.
    Mustard Oil Hing Cumin Seeds
    Bay leaves Cinnamon sticks Cloves and Cardamom
  6. Cook the tomato puree until all the water is evaporated and oil starts oozing out from the sides of puree. Tip: while cooking, tomato puree splatters a lot, to avoid the mess cover the pot with lid.
    Tomatoe puree being cooked with spices cooked tomatoe puree for dal makhani
  7. Once, tomato puree start separating 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.
  8. Now drain the water from the soaked beans and lentil and add to the tomato masala, along with 3.5 cups of water. Mix well.
    Lentil and beans added to IP pot Adding water After adding water and mixing
  9. Close the Instant Pot, move the vent to the sealing position.IP settings
  10. Pressure cook or manual cook on high pressure for 16 minutes, NPR.
  11. 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.
  12. Once the pressure is released on its own, open the lid and stir. Dal makhani after pressure cooking for 16 minutes
  13. Now set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode and adjust the setting to ’low’ heat level. Set the time for 15 minutes using ‘+ or – ‘ sign. IP setting
  14. Add two tablespoon of butter and let the dal simmer on low heat uncovered for around 15 minutes. Adding butter
  15. 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.
    Nutmeg Kasuri Methi
    Cream all in IP pot
  16. Now add chopped cilantro, dry mango powder and mix well.  cilantro and dry mango powder
  17. Delicious Dal makhani is ready to serve. Delicious dal makhani
  18. Garnish it with cilantro, some swirls of cream and a dollop of butter before serving. Dal Makhani with Garnishing
  19. Enjoy with naan, paratha or with some rice pulao.

Equipment used in this Recipe:


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Recipes for popular accompaniments with Dal-Makhani:

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5 from 1 vote
Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani: No Onion No Garlic Instant Pot Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Soaking time
6 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
 

No onion, no Garlic InstantPot Recipe for Dal Makhani – A north Indian lentil dish from Punjab that ispopular for its creamy, silky and melt in mouth textures.

Course: Entree, Instant Pot Recipe, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: HinduDiet, VeganDiet, VegetarianDiet
Keyword: Dal Makhani, No Onion No Garlic Dal Makhani
Servings: 6
Calories: 179 kcal
Author: Rupali Agarwal
Ingredients
Pantry
Dairy/Fridge
  • 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.
Produce
  • 400 gm Tomato Tamatar: 4 medium size, roughly chopped
  • 15 gm Ginger Adrak: 1 inch of knob, roughly chopped
  • 3 gm Green chili Hari Mirch: 3 green Thai chilis or one serrano, roughly chopped
  • 10 gm Cilantro Hara Dhaniya: 2 tablespoons/ 1/4 of bunch, finely chopped.
Spices/oils
Instructions
  1. 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.
    Lentils and Beans ready for soaking
  2. Once lentils and beans are thoroughly soaked, start preparing masala for dal makhana.
  3. To make masala for dal makhana, add roughly chopped tomatoes, ginger, green chili and soaked whole dry red chili in Nutribullet blender jar and blend everything into puree.
    Pureed tomatoes, ginger and chillies
  4. 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.
    Mustard Oil
  5. Now add hing, cumin seeds to the oil, when the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the whole spices – bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, and cloves, fry them for 30 seconds.
    Bay leaves
  6. Cook the tomato puree until all the water is evaporated and oil starts oozing out from the sides of puree. Tip: while cooking, tomato puree splatters a lot, to avoid the mess cover the pot with lid.
    cooked tomatoe puree for dal makhani
  7. Once, tomato puree start separating 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.
    Spices being added to dal makhani tomatoe gravy
  8. Now drain the water from the soaked beans and lentil and add to the tomato masala, along with 3.5 cups of water. Mix well.
    Adding water
  9. Close the Instant Pot, move the vent to the sealing position.
  10. Pressure cook or manual cook on high pressure for 16 minutes, NPR.
    IP settings
  11. 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.
  12. Once the pressure is released on its own, open the lid and stir.
    Dal makhani after pressure cooking for 16 minutes
  13. Now set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode and adjust the setting to ’low’ heat level. Set the time for 15 minutes using ‘+ or – ‘ sign.
    IP setting
  14. Add two tablespoon of butter and let the dal simmer on low heat uncovered for around 15 minutes.
    Adding butter
  15. 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.

    all in IP pot
  16. Now add chopped cilantro, dry mango powder and mix well.
    cilantro and dry mango powder
  17. Delicious Dal makhani is ready to serve.
    Delicious dal makhani
  18. Garnish it with cilantro, some swirls of cream and a dollop of butter before serving.
    Dal Makhani with Garnishing
  19. Enjoy with naan, paratha or with some rice pulao.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts
Dal Makhani: No Onion No Garlic Instant Pot Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 179 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 186mg8%
Potassium 189mg5%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 695IU14%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
What is Dal Makhani?

Dal Makhani is the literal translation of Buttery Lentil, lentils cooked in buttery sauce. Dal Makhani 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 handful of Indian spices. This dal is known for its signature dark color, thick creamy luscious texture and intense flavors which are usually achieved from long simmering in butter and cream.

Can Dal Makhani be cooked in Instant Pot?

Traditionally, dal makhani is cooked over tandoor, on slow heat and simmered for long hours. It would be hard to achieve the same flavor and texture when not cooked on tandoor, but still delicious enough to relish and enjoy. No doubt, that Instant pot makes it faster and easier to cook with its pressure cook and sauté features. With Instant pot, dal makhani becomes an easy one pot dish.

Why Dal Makhani is good nutritionally?

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 along with magnesium, and potassium makes it the perfect food for cardiovascular health. Dal Makhani makes a great hearty lentil dish.

Why should I soak beans before cooking?

Soaking lentils and beans are advisable and beneficial for many reasons:
1. Reduces phytic acids
2. Reduces tannins and polyphenols
3. Promotes production of beneficial enzymes (serves to further reduce phytic acids and polyphenols)
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
Though, soaking beans and lentils are highly advisable but once a while it would be fine if you have to cook them without soaking.

Can Dal Makhani be Cooked without Soaking Beans?

Yes, it can be cooked without soaking. However, without soaking, beans and lentils take longer to cook. To make sure they are fully cooked increase the pressure-cooking time to 35 minutes and follow rest of the cooking process as is.

How to store Dal Makhani?

Refrigerator – Dal Makhani keeps well in the fridge for almost a week. It may need to adjust the consistency when reheating.
Freezer – Dal Makhani makes a perfect freezer friendly recipe for meal prep. Cook a big batch and freeze in portions in freezer-friendly containers. When ready to consume, transfer the frozen dal makhani container to refrigerator the night before to get it thaw and reheat using microwave or stovetop.

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