It is such a gorgeous time of year, the earth awakening into spring and everything still green and fresh, not beaten down by the heat of summer. Exceedingly mild weather, not too cold and not too hot, the layers of clothing slowly disappearing, the smiles on people’s faces gradually reappearing. I love this awakening, life affirming time.
Life is busy, and contentedly so, challenging at the moment yet time for the things that keep me whole and sane – family, yoga, reading, inspiring people. Balance in one’s life is a great thing. As a friend of mine once said, “Find out what gives you joy and inspires you. Do more of it, I say!” I love her dearly.
Anything with a hint of warmth certainly gives me much much joy.
Apropos of warmth, turning to Dal Makhani
Related to heat is anything spicy, and so we turn our attention to Dal Makhani, a dish beloved all over India, indeed all over the world.
There are a few Dal Makhani recipes that I love, all different and of varying degrees of difficulty. The Dal Makhani Oberoi Style Recipe that I received from the Kitchen of the Oberoi in Bangalore is a classic, a beauty, one that never fails to bring happiness to the lives of those who eat it.
This one is from the well known restaurant Nilgiri‘s in Sydney. Another classic, quite different to the Bangalore dish, and with its own beauty and inner sense of happiness. Try this one too, you will love it.
Nilgiri is a Hindi word meaning Blue Mountain. What can be a better name for an Indian restaurant in Sydney? The recipe that I use is one that I got from them many many years ago, was on my original blog in the 1990’s, and now sits in my collection of recipes that I delve into some times. There is another version available from Nilgiri’s these days – similar but described differently – try that one too.
Read this wonderful description of cooking Dal Makhani from the chef at Nilgiri’s.
Dal Makhani Nilgiri
Source : inspired by Nilgiri Restaurant, Sydney
Prep time: 15 mins + soaking time
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
100g whole Urad Dal (black lentils, with or without skin)
50g rajma/dried red kidney beans
50g channa dal (small split chickpeas), rinsed
1 small cinnamon stick
2 – 3 green cardamom pods, cracked
2 – 3 whole cloves
1 Tblspn fresh ginger, grated
1 Tblspn crushed garlic
1 Tblspn chilli powder (reduce if you have less heat tolerance)
1 can chopped or pureed tomatoes (or 350g juicy tomatoes if in season)
250g unsalted butter, chopped
salt, to taste
1 Tblspn dried fenugreek leaves, crushed (optional but great if you can find them)
Wash the lentils and soak overnight.
Place lentil mixture in a large heavy-based pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to the lentils and simmer, uncovered, over a low heat until the lentils are well cooked. It will take about 1.5 hours. Add hot water, if necessary, to keep the lentil mixture sufficiently soupy in consistency.
Remove the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves (if you can locate them) and mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle or wooden spoon.
Add the ginger, garlic, chilli. tomatoes, butter and salt to the pan and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
Check the seasoning and consistency – it should be like thick soup. If too thick, add a little more water. Add the dried fenugreek leaves and serve hot with rice or Indian breads.
The Dal Series
- Dal Makhani the original recipe straight from the chefs at the Oberoi
- Golden Gentle Dal
- ISKON Easy Mung Dal
- Urad Tamatar Dal (Urad Dal with Tomatoes)