Indian: Dal Makhani

I think I am a creature of habit.  When dining out I tend to stay close to the dishes I love.  For example – when perusing the menu at an Italian restaurant I just can’t go past a risotto.  I do try to order something else.  My heart and my head have a little tug-o-war.  My head says “try some new and live a little”.  My heart says, “return to your one true love”.  As usual I listen to my heart and choose the risotto – with mixed results.  I’ve had some dodgy ones – and these days I have no problem with reporting how fabulous the dish was to the staff (or how terrible it was and how it could be improved).  I’m performing a community service after all.

So – when it comes to Indian food I ALWAYS choose Dal Makhani.  I have loved this dish ever since I first encountered it whilst hubby and I worked in Tanzania almost 10 years ago.  Dal Makhani is so creamy and gorgeous.  The texture is smooth and surprising with the urad dal keeping its shape.  I’m not a big chilli eater.  Neither hubby nor I have much tolerance for heat (although I would like to work on it – I feel I’m missing out on something wonderful), so I leave out the chilli suggested for this recipe.  What is left is a mild tasting dal dish which can stand alone quite proudly. 

I was so excited when I finally decided I was clever enough to recreate this dish at home.  Hubby doesn’t really like dal (which is what stopped me from making it).  However, I decided he needed to be introduced to this wonderful dish and be given the chance to embrace it (or reject it – eek)!!  Fortunately he likes it – he has even been known to have seconds (no better compliment for the cook!).

I found my recipe on this blog   .  I recall Bells and I emailing one afternoon, both of us searching for different versions of this recipe.  This is the one I chose.  However, I converted it into a slow cooker recipe. (Not at all difficult to do).

Instead of simmering the dal on the stove top I put it covered in water in the slow cooker, on low, for about 6-8 hours.  I then fried up the spices in a small frypan (using olive oil – not ghee) and popped it in the slowcooker and stirred it through.  I turned the slow cooker up to high for a half hour before adding the cream and final spices.

Although this dish is not that pleasing to the eye – the flavour overrides its plainness.  I like to serve it with steamed rice, natural yoghurt, coriander and fresh naan.  The ease of this dish makes it the perfect standby meat-free recipe.  As long as you have the dal in the cupboard and a few extra things you always have a meal. 

Now I just have to get my 6yo to like it – then my world will be complete (well almost…).

Delly

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bells
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 20:45:37

    it’s so true that these dishes are pretty plain to look at – it’s hard to get them looking photographically pleasing. But oh man the flavours. No heat, just warmth and that rich lentil meatiness. Love love love !

    Reply

  2. 2paw
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 22:13:11

    I think it looks fine all gussied up with its accompaniments!! I like the occasional vegetarian thing, well more than occasional. I shall have to add this to my list, plus the chilli!! I like the heat of chilli. It’s addictive!!

    Reply

  3. actinglikeamama
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 20:59:10

    hehehe I had to laugh reading about your restaurant habits – I am exactly the same! We don’t eat out very often and when I get to choose, I pick the same restuarant, this has not changed in five years. I also order for both Joe and I and we get the.same.thing.every.time! I would love to be adventerous but I know the dishes I love and I just can’t bypass them.

    I too think this looks fab, I love a bit of dahl but have never mad one, will have to add it to our meat-less menu!!

    Reply

  4. IslandMom
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 02:39:12

    Enjoyed this post a few days ago. I just learned an old favorite restaurant in my old home town — India Joze in Santa Cruz, CA — has re-opened. And found they’ve posted a TON of recipes on their website; just had to come share with you! http://www.indiajoze.com/recipes.html

    Reply

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