The slow cooker is not for everything in an Indian kitchen, if fact, it is my second favorite tool. Yes, it loses out to the pressure cooker in my world, however, when it comes to beans, lentils and slow simmered stews the slow cooker rocks!
Dal Makhani, is another one of those dishes popularized and killed by some Indian restaurants and some do it just right. It is certainly a dish with a decent amount of butter and cream, but it is mostly about slow simmering. In this slow cooker rendition, I have cut down a significant amount of the fat and made the work rather simple by letting the slow cooker do its slow cooking.
Finish it off with some butter and if you are really feeling indulgent by all means throw a little cream on the top, but truly that is very optional. I personally love the contrasting colors the cream adds to the equation rather than the creaminess (ok, I like the creaminess, too!)
This dish is one of my daughter’s favorite dishes and it has been nourishing us through this rather long and snowy winter that just does not seem to want to go away. Thank goodness we like legumes and grains in this household, because by the look of things, this years garden will have a very late start.
A simple slow cooker rendition of creamy Indian lentils or dal makhani.
- 1 red onion, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 3/4 cup whole urad lentils (black lentils)
- 1/3 cup red kidney beans (rajmah)
- 11/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 21/2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon crushed fenugreek leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 11/2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- Sliced red onions
- Fresh Cream
- Place the onion, ginger, garlic, tomato puree, black lentils, kidney beans, sugar, salt and red cayenne pepper with the water in a slow cooker.
- Set the slow cooker on high for 4 hours and let the lentils cook undisturbed (yes, I know that is what a slow cooker is there for, I just have a hard time sometimes leaving it alone)
- After 31/2 hours add the fenugreek leaves and butter and let the lentils simmer for the remaining half and hour uncovered.
- Heat the oil and add in the cumin seeds and let them cook for about 30 seconds, until they sizzle, pour the oil over the lentils and mix well.
- Let the lentils rest for 15 minutes, check the seasonings and serve with sliced onions and fresh cream.
Note, this recipe is mostly cooked up in a slow cooker and does not need any attention while cooking except at the very end.