Vegan Dal Makhani

October 24, 2019

IMG_2400 Cropped


  • 1 cup dry whole urad dal (black lentils), debris removed and soaked in plenty of water overnight or for at least six hours
  • 4 cups water
  • 15 oz can kidney beans (1 1/2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1-2 chiles, minced with seeds removed if desired
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 cup tomato puree or strained tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups water (including water reserved from cooking urad dal)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne, optional, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi, crushed (optional)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup coconut cream or coconut milk


  1. Add the soaked urad dal to 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Cook covered for 30-40 minutes or until dal is very tender. Turn off heat and strain the lentils, reserving any leftover cooking water.
  2. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil or vegan butter over medium. Add the cumin and bay leaf and fry until they crackle and turn a shade darker. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the onion and fry until golden and soft, 4-6 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato puree (watch for splattering), the reserved dal cooking water plus fresh water to equal 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, garam masala, coriander, cayenne if using, and turmeric. Crush the kasoori methi between your hands into the pot. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the urad dal and the kidney beans. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the lentils don’t stick and burn on the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust salt if desired, add more salt if the dish tastes flat.
  5. Stir in the coconut cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish finished dish with a swirl of coconut milk and minced cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.


Adapted from The Curious Chickpea


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