Maa Ki Haathon ka Daal Chawal Aur Bukhara ki Maa Ki Dal ka Jawab Nahi

This post should have come on a Mother’s day. However, I would belittle Mothers if Mothers’ day could be celebrated in a single day. This post is dedicated to all Mothers, Mother In Laws, Grand Mothers, Grand Grand Mothers , Fore mothers (is there a word in dictionary) and Soon to be Mothers.

Everyone, including the Chefs Graduating from top Hotel Mgmt Institutions would agree that all the ultimate comfort food is the food prepared by  our Maa or Daadi Maa(Paternal Grand Mother) or Nani Maa ke hathon (Maternal Grand Mother) . At the end of the day, that is what gives peace to the mind and stomach.

There are few dishes prepared by them which would stay with me throughout my life. No matter how much I try, I can never get the same taste. To name a few, My Mom’s Mutton Curry, My Nani’s Moong Daal, Arisa Pitha, Wadi, Chips, (there are many actually) and  my MIL's Chicken Biryani, my Bua’s Ghanta Tarkari and my Mausi’s Khiri (Rice Kheer) . Unfortunately, I have not tasted any of my Dadi’s recipe as I was her last grand child and she was almost 80 when I was born. Well, I have about 50  cousins including second and third .

I would not dare to challenge them in their signature dishes. However, I can definitely try a different dish which is dedicated to all Mothers – Called Maa ki Dal or Dal Makhani- The creamy black lentil curry.  And who can make Maa ki Dal best then Bukhara , the famous restaurant in Delhi by ITC Maurya. They are the best in what they do and nobody on earth and beat them in making this dal. The best part which impresses me is – Its simple food . A 5 star restaurant selling only Roti and Dal and believe me, you can have one of your finest meals in life. The rush outside, the long waiting queue even on a week day can show you how a simple concept can sweep you away your feet if you are best at it.

It has taught me a very important lesson in life. How Quality can beat Quantity. Else why would people spend so much to just have Dal and Roti.  The menu is short and simple . Few Kebabs and Few Bread Types and the famous Dal Bukhara or Dal Bukhara or Maa ki Dal or Dal Makhani (all meaning the same thing) ..

The creamy texture or Dal, the richness of flavor, the soft Tandoori Naans and Tandoori Roti, the loads of onions and lemon , the soft succulent Malai Chicken Kebabs that could melt in your mouth, the warmth of the place , the dhaba style seating, the aprons which you tied around because you have to eat it with fingers and mind you , don’t even think of asking spoon and fork there , the fast service and the open kitchen where you can see Dal simmering on big Dekchi, the kebabs going in and coming out of Big Tandoors, it’s a place where I asked my Husband to take me to on our Marriage anniversary all the way from Pune. My husband was shocked.. Are you serious you want this as a gift. I said yes. No Precious stone, no material gift can stand a chance when it comes to having experiences like this. I wish I had a life like MF Hussain who could book a flight and go to London just to have a cup of Tea… You got to be super rich for that.. But Inshah Allah…you never know whats store in life for you.

Since, the day I have come back, I go into the fantasy land every now and then and crave for the Dal. Finally, I dared to make it a home. Got the pulses from store, soaked it overnight and next day cooked them after pressure cooking the lentils to make it soft. The taste was 90% closer to it. The effort and trials will continue to cover that 10% sooner or later.. One day I will reach there.

What You Need to Make Dal Makhani for 4 people :

1/3rd cup small red kidney beans (rajma)
2/3rd cup black lentils (whole urad Dal)
2 small onions finely chopped
6 small tomatoes blend to fine taste
1 tsp ginger paste (fresh)
1 tsp garlic paste(fresh)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chili finely chopped
6 tsp ghee
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh cream
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp kasuri methi
1 tsp garam masala
¼ tsp Hing
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

You are all set to start making the famous Dal Bukhara:

Soak Kidney beans and Black lentil over night.
Next day, drain the extra water and put in a pressure cooker.
Add 2 glass of water, 2 tbsp salt and Hing.
Pressure cook on high for 2 whistles. Lower flame and cook for 10 minutes more.
Switch off gas and allow pressure to drop completely.

In a kadai, add ghee. Once ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and onions. Cook till onion turns 

Add ginger garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes on medium flame.

Add tomato puree. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on low flame.

Open lid, add turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and kasuri methi.

Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Let the tomatoes cook well. You need patience for this.
There is no short cut. Don’t put the gas on high flame else you will burn the entire gravy.

Add the cooked lentils.

Add sugar and butter. Bring it to boil.

Finally add garam masala and check for salt.
Switch off flame.
Take it out on a serving dish. Garnish with fresh cream. Serve with Jira Rice or Roti.

I have given the steps and clicked as many pictures I could saving my camera lens at the same time. The steam was getting into my nose and fogging the lens glass.

And Now check out the pictures of Dal Bukhara from the famous ITC Maurya. Do you think my Dal looks any closer to it. It’s for you to try out this recipe and rank it. Don’t try to make it in oil. Use Ghee or Clarified Butter Only for the authentic taste. Do add Fresh Cream at the end. It helps to cut down the sharpness of Lentils.

Finally no meal for special occasion is complete without Dessert. We ate that whole bowl of Rasmalai in one go.


  1. Yummy dal makhani, yet to put my hands to do this delicious protein packed dish..looks gorgeous..

  2. I visit your post. And I like it. plz keep continue.Thanks!!
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