Dahl makkhani

Merrilees Parker cooks a luxurious vegetarian black lentil dish, a common addition to the Indian dinner table
By Merrilees Parker
Dahl makkhani
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus soaking overnight
  • Effort: easy


  • 250 g black lentils, (urad daal)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 green chillies, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • small bunch coriander, separated into stems and leaves
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • handfuls fresh curry leaves
  • 100 ml passata
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • spiced poppadoms, to serve


1. Soak the lentils overnight in plenty of cold water.

2. Drain the lentils and cook in a pan of boiling water for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. When the lentils are ready, drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, place two tablespoons of the sunflower oil, onion, garlic, chillies and coriander stems into a food processor and blend to a paste.

4. Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a large pan and fry the paste for 2-3 minutes, or until aromatic and beginning to colour. Add the asafoetida, chilli powder and curry leaves, stirring well, then stir in the passata.

5. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the cooked drained lentils and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the heat and whisk in the cream.

6. Heat the ghee in a small frying pan add the cumin seeds. When they start to pop (keep eyes and face well away from the pan), add to the pan with the lentils, mixing well.

7. To serve, spoon the dahl into bowls. Chop the coriander leaves and sprinkle over. Serve with spiced poppadoms.

Rate This Recipe