Friday, March 12, 2010

Slow cooker Dhal Makhni along with the stove top method...

Dhal makhni is a classic dish belonging to north Indian cuisine. The taste of dhal makhni comes from slow cooking lentils and beans in onion tomato gravy with spices added in, allowing the lentils to absorb the flavors thoroughly, making this dish ideal for the slow cooker.

Alternatively this can be made on the stove top on low heat allowing the lentils and beans to simmer together in the spices. I have made this with the slow cooker and on stove top and the results are equally good. The main benefit of the slow cooker for this dish is that you do not need to watch this dish as much or stir as much leaving you with more free time to attend to other stuff. 

Usually when this dish is served in restaurants it is heavy on the butter and cream, my version does not use butter at all and the cream is entirely optional, the lentils lend a nice creaminess to this dhal and the additional cream is entirely a matter of choice. 


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Ingredients and Method to make Slow cooker Dhal Makhni

1 1/4 cup saboot udad dhal or whole black gram lentil with skin
1/4 cup red kidney beans (rajma)
soaked together in sufficient water with a pinch of soda (soda is optional)

2 medium onions cut fine
2 large tomatoes cut fine ( yielded about 2 cups of cut tomatoes)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 Thai or Indian variety green chilies cut fine

1 tsp minced garlic
1 inch piece of ginger minced
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
3 cups of water
4 tbsp sour cream or regular cream (optional)
handful cilantro cut fine for garnish

Soak black gram lentil and red kidney beans together in sufficient water for at least 6 to 8 hours.

Drain the water in which black gram lentil and red kidney beans were soaked and keep aside.

In a small pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds to it. ( If you plan to make the entire dhal on the stove top, then use a large heavy bottomed pan here). When cumin seeds splutter, add green chilies and stir for a few seconds. Then add onions and saute them until transparent. Add ginger and garlic and stir for a few seconds.

Then add tomatoes and stir until tomatoes become mushy and soft.  Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and stir for a few seconds. Remove from heat and keep aside.

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(If you plan to make this on the stove top, do not remove from heat, add the drained lentils and beans, water as required and let the entire mixture simmer together for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the lentils and beans have softened and cooked. When the beans are half cooked, add salt to taste and continue).

In the slow cooker container, add the drained lentils, 3 cups of water and the sauteed onions+ tomato+ spice mixture and set the slow cooker on high for 6 hours. Add salt to this mixture halfway (at the 3 hour point)

Garnish with cilantro and with sour cream/ cream if using.

Serve hot with plain rice/ jeera rice/ or rotis / parathas.

Serves approximately 4-5

Notes
At around 5 hours and 15 minutes or so, the dhal was already cooked and soft, I just cooked it for another 45 minutes for the flavors to blend well. You can set the last 45 minutes on low heat too, it should work just as well.
I have made this with and without the cream and it tastes great both ways. The cream just adds an additional richness in case you are making this for a special occasion or parties.Omit the cream if you want a vegan dhal.

This Dhal makhni makes its way to the MLLA-21 being hosted by Superchef originally started by Susan 
and also to the Vegetable Marathon- Beans being hosted by Anita
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