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Dal Makni (Butter Dal)

Dal Makni (Butter Dal)

So how was Eid? I remember our elders used to say during and post Eid Ul Adha that after eating meat dishes for few consecutive days, they crave vegetables and dal. I didn’t understand this philosophy then and honestly I still don’t. How can one get bored of meat? With so much variety in cuts, cooking techniques and with unlimited options in terms of recipes how is this even possible get fed up? Of course moderation is important in every situation and food is no exception and it becomes more crucial if there is any medical condition to be considered.

Coming to today’s recipe. It is humble dal or yellow/red lentil. Just like me, my kids aren’t huge fans of dal either but truth be told, being desi, we can’t stay refrain from cooking and serving dal. There is no denying that dal is a very nutritious food and has many health benefits but sometimes it is a bit difficult to convince kids to appreciate it purely on it’s advantages so you gotta enhance the appearance, take flavor up a notch and yes, never underestimate the power of relishes. I love Quick Refrigerator Pickles (No Cooking Involved) with simple dal with roti or plain boiled rice. My mom used to add some pappar or papadams as sides and believe you me, it did wonders! The crunch it gives to all soft and smooth dal is just an exceptional contrast. Plus you know I am a big fan of textures and layers when it comes to food so this combo is ideal for a person like me.

Dal Makni is special because of the oil temper/tarka that is poured over cooked dal. Cooking dal is pretty straight forward and it involves boiling dal in water with basic spices and seasonings which are salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and tumeric powder. I prefer using a combo of red lentil with yellow lentil but you can try it with red or yellow or black lentil. (dal mong, dal masor, dal sabit masor in Urdu, respectively) Adjusting the consistency is purely a personal preference. So let’s talk about tarka/oil temper. Ideally, it is always recommended to use desi ghee/clarified butter for tarka/oil temper for any dal and for dal makhni, we gotta add some:

  • Pure unsalted butter and melt it with desi ghee/clarified butter.
  • Once melted add some sliced onions and fry them till slightly golden brown.
  • Then add in some sliced ginger, chopped green chillies.
  • Followed by chopped garlic and white cumin seeds.

These are must-adds to dal makhni tarka/oil temper for me. After pouring this over dal, sprinkle some Homemade Garam Masala and then go the extra mile and add a ball of butter to the pot. This is like a game changer and would make dal taste so divine and so aromatic and so darn yum! Now we are talking!

Try this  Tarka for dal makhni for more oomph if you please.

Dal Makhni

For extra aromatic, ultra rich and insanely delicious dal/lentil this is the perfect oil temper.

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Pakistani
Keyword butter dal, dal, dal chawal, dal makni, lentil
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author Heenie


  • 1 cup red lentil (masor ke dal) cleaned and washed
  • ½ cup yellow lentil (mong ke dal) cleaned and washed
  • 4 cups water
  • tsp salt
  • tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ¾ tsp tumeric powder
  • ¼ cup desi ghee
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ small onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped or sliced ginger
  • 2-3 medium green chillies, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp white cumin seeds
  • tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • fresh green coriander for garnish


  1. In a pot combine red lentil and yellow with water. Add salt, red chilli, coriander powder and tumeric powder.

  2. Cover the pot and let it cook over medium flame for about 30-35 minutes while stirring at regular intervals during cooking, till fully cooked. Add more water if you need to.

  3. In a small frying pan melt desi ghee and butter together over low heat and add sliced onion. Fry till slightly golden brown.

  4. Add in ginger, green chillies and garlic.

  5. Fry till onions are golden brown and the oil temper/tarka is aromatic. About 30 seconds. Add white cumin seeds.

  6. Pour it over boiling dal.

  7. Bring the flame down to simmer and sprinkle garam masala.

  8. Add extra 3 tbsp of butter.

  9. Add in green coriander. Cover the pot and let butter melt before serving.

  10. Serve with roti or boiled rice with salad.

Recipe Notes

  • Cooking duration of dal may vary according to the quality of dal and altitude so adjust accordingly.
  • You may need to adjust water quantity as per required consistency.
  • You can add chopped tomato to tarka along with ginger, garlic and green chillies.
  • Same procedure can be followed for black lentil (sabit masor ke dal) as well.
  • You can add cream to the dal at the end and omit butter, although butter would be a better choice for richness.


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