I never thought that I would say this but I think I am never going to add butter or milk cream to my dal makhani. It sounds ironic because makkhan (butter) is in its name. Making it without it is like going against the law. Right 😀
But hey, butter or milk cream is added to make it rich and creamy and you can actually get that same texture and creaminess with some vegan substitutes. Don’t believe me. Try it out and thank me later.
I also have a recipe for dhaba style dal makhani too. You can make both and compare. In my opinion, it is hard to tell any difference. By the way, if you make any of these dal makhani recipes, make it a little extra so that with the leftover you can try our delicious dal makhani wraps.
If you know me and follow my recipes, you know how I always try to make the recipes healthier with no compromise on the taste. For example, I made healthier strawberry cheesecake. Vegan mango cheesecake is something extremely delicious, light, and healthy too. How can I forget Non-Fried Vada Pav? So, now you know my passion and love to make healthier recipes for you all.
But a few years ago, someone asked me to make a healthier version of dal makhani. I laughed and thought that it is not possible. But I was wrong. I did it. I realized that the creaminess of dal makhani is not dependent on any butter or milk cream. The key is SLOW COOKING. Urad dal gets nice and smooth and creamy if you cook it for a long time. And to make it more creamy and rich, you can simply add cashew paste and coconut cream. Don’t worry, you won’t get coconut flavor dal makhani. It doesn’t dominate with all other ingredients added to the recipe.
If you are in hurry, watch the video instead.
SECRET OF DAL MAKHANI
You may think that the creaminess of dal makhani comes from adding a lot of cream or butter to it. That is not true. I mean, you need that but that is not the only thing to get that rich and creamy texture. The secret is – SLOW COOKING. That’s right my friend. There is no shortcut to that. You have to have patience, a lot of it while making this delicious recipe.
How Slow Cooking helps?
Well, the dal which we use in this recipe – urad dal (whole) or urad chilka – gets very starchy and creamy when you cook it for a very long time. The more you cook, the more creamy it gets. In many restaurants or dhabas, by the end of the day, when they are done with making naan or roti on the tandoor, they put this dal on it and leave it to cook overnight. Dal cooks slowly on hot coal for the entire night and that is how you get that rich and creamy texture in it.
But obviously, you can’t do that at home. Although, my Instant Pot has an option of slow cooking which I will try one day. I slow cook this dal in two parts. First, when I pressure cook urad dal and rajma together. After a whistle in the pressure cooker, I cook it on the lowest flame for another 40 to 50 minutes till it gets well cooked and mushy. Then after tempering, I add a lot of water and again cook on the lowest flame till it gets rich and creamy. That takes another 1.5 to 2 hrs. So, if you want to make it for lunch, I would suggest starting it right after breakfast. & have Patience 🙂
ADJUSTMENTS – YOU MAY WANT TO MAKE
- Tempering: I added onion paste in this recipe but you can totally avoid that. I made it without onion in dhaba style dal makhani and it tastes amazing. So, you have two options. Make it either way.
- Cream: I made vegan dal makhani using cashew paste and coconut cream or coconut milk. But you can make it only with cashew paste or almond paste. Just increase the quantity if you don’t want to use the coconut cream. Nut cream make it thick and creamy and gives the exact same texture as regular non-vegan dal makhani.
COCONUT CREAM – WHAT’S THAT?
Whenever I use coconut cream in my recipes, I get questions about it. People say that they couldn’t find coconut cream or from where they can buy it. Well, it is very simple to make. Just put your can of coconut milk in the coolest part of your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Open the can and Voila! You will get a thick cream on the top. Just take that out. That’s your coconut cream. Easy. Right?
HOW TO SERVE?
To have the best experience, serve it hot. It tastes best with any kind of Indian bread – chapati, paratha, naan, tandoori roti, Missi roti. We also love it with aalu paratha. You can try that. It tastes delicious.
We also serve it with some jeera rice or simple steamed rice. For the salad, we like it with some pickled onion. Or if you don’t have that, serve it with some onion and sliced cucumber.
Now grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make Dhaba-style dal makhani but vegan. Enjoy it over lunch or some weekend brunch. Make it for your friends over any house party or cook it for any celebration at home. It will be a show-stopper. Don’t believe me, TRY IT.
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MORE VEGAN RECIPES:
Love from us
Richa & Jatin
Vegan Dal Makhani – Creamy & Delicious.
No Butter. No Milk Cream.
- 1 cup Urad Dal (whole)
- 1/2 cup Rajma (Kidney Beans)
- 7 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Cashew
- 2 Onion medium size
- 3 to 4 Tomato medium size
- 2-Inch Piece Ginger
- 4 to 6 clove Garlic peeled
- 1 to 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1/2 tsp Asafoetida (Hing)
- 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- A pinch Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp Dhania Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
- 1/2 cup Coconut Cream or coconut milk
Wash & Soak Lentils
- Wash urad dal and rajma with water 2 to 3 times. Rub them between your palms while washing. That way, it gives a nice color to the dal.
- Soak with 4 cups of water. Cover and let it rest overnight or for 6 to 8 hours.
- Add dal in the pressure cooker along with the water in which it was soaked.
Don't discard the water since it contains the nice color of dal.
- Add around 1 Tsp of salt. Close and cook. After 1 whistle, lower the flame and let it cook for 40 to 50 minutes till they become soft and mushy.
In Instant Pot, Cook on Bean-Chili Mode for 50 minutes.
- Soak cashews in hot boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
You can even soak in normal tap water for a couple of hours.
- Add them in a blender along with some water and blend well. Make a thick and creamy paste. Keep it aside.
- Onion Paste - Peel & cut onions into bigger chunks, add them in the blender along with some water, and blend well. Keep it aside.
- Tomato Puree - In a blender, add cut tomatoes, garlic, and ginger. Blend them together.
- Heat oil in a large pan/pot/kadhai.
- Add asafoetida and saute for a few seconds.
Keep the flame on medium-low. It burns fast.
- Add onion paste and cook till all the moisture is evaporated. It may take 5 to 7 minutes.
Keep stirring in between.
- Once onions are done, add tomato puree. Mix well.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well. Cover and let them cook till all the moisture is evaporated. It may take 10 to 12 minutes.
Once tomatoes are done, they start releasing oil.
- Add cashew paste and cook for around two minutes.
- Add cooked lentils and 3 cups of water. Mix well.
The consistency should be runny or watery.
- Add dhania powder, garam masala, roasted cumin powder and kasuri methi. Mix well.
- Let it cook on a medium flame for around 15 minutes.
- Add coconut cream or coconut milk and mix well. Lower the flame and let it cook for around 1.5 hours till it becomes thick and creamy.
Keep stirring in between as lentils settle at the bottom of the pan and might burn.
- After 1.5 - 2 hrs, it will look creamy and thick. Switch off the flame and serve hot.
- It tastes best the other day. If it gets thicker on cooling, reheat and add water as needed. Cook for a few minutes.
- Serve with rice, roti, paratha, and some pickled onions. Yum. Enjoy :)
The cooking preparation of both dals is almost the same. Both are slow-cooked. The only main difference is the dal used to make these recipes. Dal Bukhara is made only with urad dal (whole) while dal makhani is made of urad dal (whole) and rajma (kidney beans). Both if these deals taste very delicious.
I would say that anything can make you fat if you eat an excess of it. Eat moderately and have a balanced life. Although dal makhani is made of butter and fresh cream, it is eaten rarely on some special occasion or once in a while. So, do not worry about calories. Enjoy your happy meal. Moreover, it is such a delicious recipe that it would be bad to keep yourself away from it.
It is a little heavy for the stomach. If you plan to have it over dinner, keep a gap of at least 2 – 3 hrs between your meal and bedtime. It takes some time to get digested.
Dal Makhani goes very well roti/chapati, paratha, naan, tandoori roti, or any other Indian bread too. It tastes so good with aalu paratha as well. You must try that. You can also serve it with jeera rice or plain steamed rice. For salads, serve it with some pickled onion.
Yes. Totally. Replace milk cream or butter with cashew cream or coconut milk. It tastes equally good. It is difficult to tell if it is vegan or not. These days, we even have options for plant-based butter. You can try that too but make sure to buy a good brand with fewer ingredients and additives.