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Dhal Makhani with homegrown beans (page 2 of 2)

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For those who thought vegetarian cuisine is light, here is a delicious epiphany, cooked with beans from my garden.
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In go the beans, precooked 30 minutes in a pressure cooker.

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... and a bit of water with a pinch of salt. Simmer covered, making sure there is enough liquid so that the bottom does not scorch. It will do if the dhal thickens too much and convection movement cannot move the relatively hotter bottom to the top. Obviously you could put everyhing in a vaccuum bag and cook it with a very modern appliance such as a steam oven or a immersion circulator.

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Let the large spices (cinnammon and black cardamom) float well in sight so that you may remove them easily at the end of the cooking.

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Depending on whether you have pre-cooked the beans in a pressure cooker or not, it may take as little as 30 minutes or several hours until your beans become entirely soft. You get it, this is the kind of dish you cook the day before, leisurely, so that there is no pressure to finish the cooking when the guests arrive. And it freezes beautifully.

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Now on to the serious part. Remove a ladleful of your dhal (beans and sauce) into a pot of stand up mixer. Add the thickest cream you can find ...

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... then the largest piece of butter your conscience will allow. Reading the original Moti Mahal recipe in Monish Gujral book is not for the faint of heart - for 1kg of beans (a mixture of urad dal, kidney beans and chanal dal), he uses 5dl of cream and 1kg of butter! I had never seen such quantities since Mr Escoffier died in 1935.

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Mix with an immersion blender or blitz or just mash with a fork if things went Mad Max on you.

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Fold it back into the pot and check the seasoning.

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Dal Makhani is considered a side dish, but with naans it will make a highly nutrious - and delicious - evening meal too.


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  • #1
  • Comment by TFP
This recipe reminds me the time when I tried to cook a Murgh Makhani based on a recipe from the same book. It was delicious, although it was nothing like the stuff they serve in indian restaurants around here...

BTW, on an unrelated note, could you post a recipr for a serious Bouillabaisse? I happen to have many mediterranean fish in my part of the world (such as John Dory, Hake, and Rascasse Rouge), and I'd love to see how to cook them properly...
  • FX's answer→ Good point indeed Murgh Makhani is a really popular cousin of this recipe!

    No unfortunately I am not a huge fan of fish, living in a landlocked country the kind of sea fish we get is like cooking Wooly Mammoth from the Ice Age...

  • #3
  • Comment by Karel
I love it already! BUTTER!
  • FX's answer→ Everything is better with butter!

  • #5
  • Comment by Ashleigh Haze
Another gorgeous looking recipe FX, wonderfully informative as usual. I was similarly disabused of my notions about Indian cooking by the Subcontinent's love of Ghee!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Ashleigh! I really think that good butter is much better here than store-bought ghee.

  • #7
  • Comment by Laura
Up to 500 g of butter, along with 5 dl of heavy cream, for 500 g of beans?! :-O
I love butter, F-X, I really do, but I don't think I could eat more than two forkfuls of that. Two delicious forkfuls, but nevertheless only two.
  • FX's answer→ Yes the recipe uses as much butter as dry beans ... but I never dared to myself!

  • #9
  • Comment by Peter Durand
It is so good to see you back.

You and Chefsteps are my favorites.


  • FX's answer→ Well this is quite a favorable comparison for good old me! Thanks!

  • #11
  • Comment by BK
So deliciously decadent!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, decadent it is!

  • #13
  • Comment by Tony Hall
Great photo's and a great blog FX. What is "5dl" of cream. thx.
  • FX's answer→ Ah Tony 5dl is what Americans call "1 cup" - sorry for that!

  • #15
  • Comment by Leila Karlslund
Sorry, but 5 dl is a scant 2 cups. So glad you are back - you were sorely missed by me. Leila, Denmark
  • FX's answer→ I stand corrected! Very right, a scant 2 cup it is. Article updated for unmetric quantities. Thanks!

  • #17
  • Comment by Chef RM
WOW...I deeply believe that one of the GREAT cuisines is Indian. It is far more complex than most people know.
  • FX's answer→ Indeed Indian cuisines are extremely rich with many centuries worth of traditions and successful combinations and all sorts of unique cooking methods (dum, dhungaar, bhunao, ...) and, compared to for instance Chinese cooking, there is a wealth of Indian-published book available in English with less common, more authentic recipes.

I made dal makhani a couple of weeks ago too. I was visiting Trinidad and brought back some black gram dal with me.
  • FX's answer→ Ah it does take weeks to burn off those calories but a really fine recipe don't you agree?

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