Daily Dal Too: My Makhani

I’ve made Dal Makhani since the days of Pullens Soup Kitchen but my current Makhani recipe – an actual recipe, derived from KO Rassoi with reference to Manjula – is designed to fit my  baby-sized 1.5 litre Hawkins Classic aluminium pressure cooker and serves 2. Or me, twice. As with all dal, it’s even better the second time. 
pop this little lot into your pressure cooker, missus.

110g urad (black gram lentils)
50g dry weight kidney beans  
– both must be soaked in cold water overnight.

In the bottom of the pressure cooker pan, over low heat:
* melt a dollop of ghee, or nub of butter
* add a thumb-sized nubbin of grated ginger
* and some roasted garlic, crushed,
* dana ‘n’ jeera (cumin & coriander)
* plus, I add a teaspoonful of my chilli jam, but you might use hari mirch,
chopped green chillis.

Mix the spices together in the butter, amalgamating the flavours before adding the soaked, strained beans and covering them with 450ml hot water, with an added pinch of baking powder. That’s baking powder, which is baking soda mixed 1:2 with cream of tartar. A raising agent commonly used in cake baking, this powder is said to help the beans cook evenly and to eliminate flatulence for fart-free dal.

Before shutting the pressure cooker lid, I add a good dollop of tatlı biber salçası, sweet pepper paste, but you might use tomato puree, and one large roasted tomato, blended, or two tablespoons of shop-bought pasata or tomato ‘n’ chilli pasta sauce. 

Lock down the lid, turn up the heat and wait for the steam to release in a vicious hiss before dialling down the heat and cooking on for twenty minutes or so, allowing the steam to escape three more times.

After 15-20 mins, turn off the heat and leave it to cool while you nip out to score from the nan man.
What are you saying, there’s no nan shop on your manor? 
OK, I understand and sorry it is that I am feeling for you, my under-privileged friend, but down in old East Lane – where Charlie Chaplin was born, nearly a Century before the tandoori arrived – a couple of taciturn brothers turn out x4 nan breads  for only one of your English pounds. 

Nip down the nan shop, by bicycle or skateboard, going the back way down Browning Street and through Nursery Row Park – shop is next to The Masons Arms – and back in 13 minutes flat. I might turn the griddle on before I go so it’s hot when I get back, to crisp the breads. 

Gingerly, I release what steam remains and open the pressure cooker, stirring my dal makhani with a wooden spoon. Transfer it to be a saucepan, maybe add a splash of water if it’s looking a bit thick, and finish the dal with cream, creme fraiche, or Greek yoghurt.

Get in!

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