Slow-Cooked Beans with Spices and Cream (Dal Makhanai)

Dal makhanai is a perfect example of a slow-cooked Indian recipe. The spices can be either slow-cooked for hours with the beans or added halfway through the cooking to retain their aroma during the course of the long cooking process. You can buy urad dal at Indian markets and online.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 35 minutesTotal: 6 hours 35 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • 2 cups urad dal (lentils)
  • ¾ cup red kidney beans, soaked in water overnight and drained
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or ghee
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1" piece ginger, chopped
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. coriander powder
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp. buttermilk
  • 12 mint leaves


  • Wash the lentils and put into the slow cooker with the kidney beans. Add 6 cups water, turmeric, salt, peppercorns, and cloves. Cook on low for 6 hours, or until beans and lentils are well cooked.
  • In a thick-bottomed pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Throw in bay leaves and then chopped onion. Sauté onions until translucent.
  • Make a paste by combining the ginger and garlic and then add it to the onions. Fry it until everything looks golden in color, approximately 10 minutes. Then add the tomato paste, cayenne pepper, and coriander powder. Fry until the tomato paste is almost dissolved and then add the curry powder. After 1 minute add the heavy cream to the mixture.
  • Add the buttermilk to the slow-cooked beans. Stir well so that lentils are completely mixed into each other and then add the onion masala (bay leaves and onion) that has been prepared. Garnish it with mint leaves and serve hot.