Dal Makhani

Lentils and beans end up on my menus a lot. Such an inexpensive ingredient but creates a rich and powerful flavor. In the winters, I put them in stews, and in the summers they make wonderful salads. Dal seems to be a name that refers to a wide range of lentils, beans, and peas and may be the quintessential ingredient in Indian cuisine due to its availability, frugality  and amazing flavor. Make sure you don’t forget to mix this regularly!

The longer you cook this the better, so the minimum stewing time is 1 hour and 30 minutes, but it will keep getting better if you cook it for longer. I have read many stories about this dish, and the tradition goes, that every person that walks by the pot as it is stewing knows to give it a mix. Mixing it regularly will allow the flavors to meld together and become richer. This is a dish of many flavors, an unexpected treat for the humble dal!

Dal Makhani

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2 pounds black mapte beans
12 tbsp butter, separated
4 onions thinly sliced
4 inches ginger, minced
salt and pepper
20 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz container tomato paste
1-2 tsp chili powder
2 cups milk
1 cup cream

  1. Rinse the beans a few times in fresh water.
    Place drained beans into a deep Dutch oven. Boil for 45 minutes, discard scum.
  2. Fry onions in 6 tbsp butter, 15 min. Add garlic and ginger, 5 min.
    Add tomato paste, chili powder, and season. Stir and remove from heat.
  3. Remove most of water from cooked beans, only leave enough to barely cover.
    Add onions and milk and cream. Boil and turn down to lowest simmer.
    Cook for at least 90 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
    Add remaining butter and adjust seasoning before serving.

Total cooking time: at least 2 hours 15 minutes, serves 14-16 with other dishes or 8-10 as a main dish

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