Dal Makhani

Buttery Black Dal
stirring a pot of fresh dal with ghee
Prep Time: 
34 minutes warm-up time, 40 minutes cook time
Number of Servings: 
16 cups
Recipe Source: 
Instant Pot Indian by Anupy Singla ($21.95, Agate Surrey, 2023)


  • 3 cups sabut urad (whole, dried black dal with skin), picked over and washed
  • 1 cup rajmah (dried red kidney beans), picked over and washed
  • 2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches hing (asafoetida) (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 cassia leaf (or 3 bay leaves)
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, puréed
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, puréed
  • 6 cloves of garlic, puréed
  • 2 to 8 fresh Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 12 cup unsalted tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp red chile powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cardamom seeds, ground (optional)
  • 14 cup kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 10 cups water, for cooking
  • 12 cup cream (dairy, or alternative, like cashew)


  • 6 quart Instant Pot


  1. Soak the urad dal and rajmah together in ample boiled, hot water for at least 1 hour or in room temperature water for 6 hours to overnight. Drain and discard the water.
  2. Place the inner pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to MORE. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the ghee. Once the ghee is hot, add the hing, cumin seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, and cassia or bay leaves. Stir and cook for 1 minute until the seeds turn reddish brown. Because the oil pools to the sides, push the spices into the oil along the border of the inner pot so they can cook fully.
  3. Add the fenugreek seeds. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook, as these seeds get bitter quickly.
  4. Add the onions. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Press CANCEL. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, ground cumin, coriander, red chile powder, cardamom, kasoori methi, salt, urad dal/rajmah, and cooking water. Stir.
  7. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads HIGH. Adjust the cook time to 40 minutes.
  8. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then manually release the remaining pressure, press CANCEL, and remove the lid. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and cassia or bay leaves or leave them in for flavor and eat around them. All the other spices are edible. Gently fold in the cream and stir. Serve with basmati rice or Indian bread like roti or naan.


  • This recipe features measurements for the 6 Quart size Instant Pot. Instructions and measurements for the 3 Quart and 8 Quart Instant Pot sizes can be found in Instant Pot Indian.


Anupy Singla

Cookbook author and journalist Anupy Singla is the author of several books, including The Indian Slow Cooker, Indian For Everyone, and Vegan Indian Cooking.

Born in India and raised outside of Philadelphia, Anupy grew up visiting her grandfather's childhood village in the heart of Punjab. She first learned to cook traditional, spicy Punjabi-style food from him. It was this passion that compelled her to leave daily reporting to teach her young girls how to appreciate good Indian food and blog about it on Indian as Apple Pie—now also the name of her company.

Anupy lives in Chicago with her husband, their two girls, and their crazy dog Oliver.

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