Being born in a Punjabi family, I have made black lentils innumerable times; sometimes with the addition of rajma and at other times, alone. I didn’t have any idea about the difference in both except in their taste, till I came across an article by Vir Sanghvi, in which he had explained in detail the difference and origin of both types of dals.
Whole black lentils, when cooked along with rajma becomes Dal Makhani whereas when cooked alone, is called Dal Bukhara. In a way, we can say that these two are close relatives. Both are quite rich dals as a lot of butter and cream is added to make them a Shahi (royal) dish. Dal Bukhara got its name from the famous ‘Bukhara Restaurant’ which is a part of New Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton Hotel.
Dal Bukhara is a velvety smooth dal. The viscosity of the dal comes from slow continuous cooking. Traditionally, it is cooked overnight on slow coal fire in a tandoor. The other important aspect is the sauce made for Dal Bukhara. It is a tomato and cream based sauce. It is a rich recipe with loads of cream and butter added to it. So while making it don’t think about the calories involved, just relish the delightful taste and enjoy 🙂
Step wise pictorial presentation
Soak black lentils overnight in sufficient amount of water. Drain and replenish with fresh water in a pressure cooker. For each cup of dal, add about 4 cups of water. Keep it on high flame. Once the pressure builds up, reduce the flame and cook for 15- 20 minutes.
Switch off the flame and let the steam release on its own. Open the lid of the pressure cooker. Again switch on the gas and let it simmer for about one hour on low flame, replenishing it with warm water as required.
In the meantime, blend the tomatoes in a blender to make puree. Grind ginger and garlic to a paste.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When these start spluttering, add cloves, green and black cardamom. Sauté it for about one minute.
Add onions and cook it till it becomes translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté it further for a minute.
Now add tomato puree and cook it for 2-3 minutes.
Add Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and cinnamon powder and cook till the masala starts leaving oil.
Add cooked dal, butter and cream to the masala. Let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot garnished with coriander and a dollop of butter.