Dishoom Black Dal aka Dal Makhani

3 Min Read


  • 1 cup black lentils I used black beluga lentils
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5.5 oz tomato paste 1 can
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • salt to taste


  • Soak the lentils in cold water overnight. The next day rinse and drain well. Place the lentils in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a hard boil over high heat for 5-10 minutes, skimming if needed. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft, but hold their shape, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. If needed, add water to the pot to prevent the lentils from drying out. Drain and set aside.
    black lentils |
  • Heat the oven to 325°F. In a small dry pan, over low heat, lightly toast the cloves, star anise, coriander, cumin, cayenne, fennel, garam masala, and cardamom, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Make sure not to burn! Remove the spices from the pan and add to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Crush/grind until fine. Set aside.
    toasting spices |
  • In an small, oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot, heat up 1 tbsp each of butter and neutral oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
    toasting onions |
  • Stir in the spices, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Add the tomato paste and 1 cup of water to bring everything to a thick, soup-like consistency. Add the drained lentils to the pot, adding a bit of water to thin out, if needed.
    making dal |
  • Tightly cover the pot with foil (or the oven safe lid) and place in the oven for 3-4 hours, checking every 30 minutes or so to stir. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed, to maintain a soup-like consistency.
    dal |
  • After 4 hours, take a note of the time and turn the oven to 200°F. The next morning, when you get up, turn the temperature up to 300°F, check if you need to add a tiny bit of water, stir, then continue to cook in the oven, covered, until you hit 24 hours from the time you started the dal in the oven.
    dal cooked overnight |
  • Remove the pot from the oven and stir in 2 tbsp each of heavy cream and butter. Taste and season with salt. Enjoy with basmati rice or naan.
    dal with cream and butter |


If desired, you can pull the dal after 4 hours in the oven at 325°F and finish with butter and cream.
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