I love Indian dal with it’s varied lentils and spices, but my favorite is dal makhani which mixes urad dal (black lentil) with kidney beans. The texture and spiciness makes me think of meatless chili.
Overnight soaking prepares the beans for a 30 minute stint in the pressure cooker. I love the color of the urad after soaking, bluish green 🙂
A fairly new lesson I have learned is that, like rice, dried beans can get old and stubborn, resisting the magic of the pressure cooker and requiring long hours of cooking that never really gets them cooked to a creamy texture. I discard old rice and beans in my pantry and always try to buy them at a store that has a high turn over, otherwise known as amazon.com. These were just right.
For multi-ingredient dishes like this, I like to line out everything. It’s at this point that I can add, subtract or diminish amounts or ingredients that I think would improve my last rendition of the recipe. My favorite dal makhani is made at an Indian restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh and so far my homemade efforts have been good but not the same. This time, I came close 🙂
On a roll, I prepared another Indian favorite, butter chicken masala, chicken marinated in a rich, spicy, yogurt sauce.
The chicken stays in the refrigerator overnight and then is cooked in the marinade.
The masala can be served with rice or Indian flat breads.
3/4 cup dried urad dal
1/3 cup dried kidney beans
6 cups water
10 black cardamom seeds
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp ghee
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp Indian red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander powder
1 can unsweetened diced tomatoes
2 tbsp cream and extra for swirling
Wash the beans and lentils, then soak overnight in 6 cups of water. We move the beans and lentils, reserving the soaking liquid, an rinse.
Place the beans, lentils, cardamom seeds, bay leaf and reserved water in a pressure cooker. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat to a simmer so that the pressure cooker hat maintains a gentle back and forth swing. Pressure cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to depressurize before removing the top. Set aside.
Heat the ghee in a large skillet, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Saute until the onion is a golden brown. Add the tumeric, cumin, asafoetida, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powdeer, cooking for about 2 minutes. Finally, add the diced tomatoes beans, lentils with their water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add a little more water if necessary.
Stir in the 2 tablespoons of cream, place the dal in a serving bowl and swirl with cream.
Murgh Masala (Chicken Butter Masala) – Inspired by NYT Cooking
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp tumeric
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp cumin
1 stick of butter
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 red chilli, seeded and diced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 can unsweetened diced tomatoes
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
Whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, tumeric, garam masala and cumin together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat well. Pour the mixture in a large zip lock bag, squish around and refrigerate overnight.
Heat the butter and oil together in a large skillet and fry the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli until the onions are golden brown. Stir in the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and tomato paste and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve with rice or Indian flat breads.