Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani

Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani

4 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2016

Using a slow cooker for this dal curry recipe is brilliant—the lentils cook until they're perfectly tender. For the creamiest results, use whole urad dal (versus split), which you can get online or at Indian markets. This particular bean breaks down beautifully, giving the dish its rich, creamy texture. For a stovetop variation, see below. Serve it over rice with Indian-style green chutney and a side of plain yogurt.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
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  • 6 cups water
  • 1⅔ cups dry whole urad dal, rinsed
  • ⅓ cup dried red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 10 whole cardamom pods
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Combine water, urad dal and kidney beans in a 4½- to 6-quart slow cooker. Soak for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Turn the slow cooker to Low. Stir in onion, garlic, ginger, salt, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and cayenne. Cover and cook for 10 hours.
  3. Remove the cardamom pods, if desired. Stir in tomatoes and cilantro. Serve with more cilantro, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Equipment: 4- ½- to 6-quart slow cooker
  • To prepare Dal Makhani on the stovetop instead: In Step 1, soak the dal and beans in 7 cups of water in a large pot. In Step 2, stir in the flavorings and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours. Remove from heat. Finish with Step 3.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about ¾ cup
  • Per serving: 149 calories; 1 g fat(0 g sat); 11 g fiber; 27 g carbohydrates; 10 g protein; 38 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 153 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 61 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 318 mg sodium; 266 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 1½ starch, ½ vegetable, 1 lean meat

Reviews 4

December 10, 2017
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By: Gee Cee
I made this recipe twice so far and about to make it a third time. First time I added spices as mentioned but made my spoonfuls heaping. I also doubled the crushed tomatoes (by accident) and it turned out really good. Second time, I did the same with the right amount of tomato and it turned out well. That's the way I am going to do it from now on. Only one observation about lentils, I find that even when soaking them overnight or longer, they always cook better when the crock pot is set on high. Low just doesn't seem to get the same results. This is my go to recipe for dahl.
September 27, 2016
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By: Prairie Gardener
I made this recipe as written. When finished, I felt it was under-spiced and had a rather objectionable bitter undertone. To adjust it I added more garam masala, some ground cumin, a bit of ground cardamom and a teaspoon or so of agave syrup. With those modifications, the dal was okay and I found best served over brown basmati rice (not traditional, I know). This recipe makes A LOT and I froze some without the cilantro so I wouldn't tire of it well before finishing it all.
September 13, 2016
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By: Rabbitfoodrocks
In reply to tonyvaldi's comment, unfortunately, substituting the split urad dal for the whole urad dal is not an equivalent or near equivalent substitution. The whole urad dal has a skin and an earthiness that cannot be found in split urad. The uses for these lentils are completely different in Indian cooking, although, by the American names, it would seem like a logical substitution, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Whole urad dal also thickens much more than the split variety. I really hope you get a chance to re-try the recipe using whole urad, and feel free to omit cloves. This recipe is analogous to restaurant-style Dal Makhani which has many layers of spice and depth.
September 07, 2016
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By: tonyvaldi
I had split urad dal and substituted that for whole; otherwise I made the recipe as written for stovetop. I put the whole cloves and cardamom pods in a teabag to make sure I was able to remove them all. It was VERY bitter, as if there were far too many cloves. I ended up having to add sugar, a lot more salt, some lime juice, tomato paste, extra tomatoes, a little butter and whole milk to get it palatable. Now it is very like a soup, there is a lot of it, and I will have to serve it over rice . . . . Something seems off in the spice amounts.
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