Dal Makhani – Beans in Creamy Buttery Gravy. Guest Post from Richa Hingle at Vegan Richa

     I’m welcoming my incredible friend Richa from Vegan Richa today. Every time Richa posts something, I’m literally salivating and wishing the girl was my neighbor so I could run and grab a bite of whatever it is she’s cooked up. I’m always in awe of her creativity and her crazy good photography.
     If you love Indian Food, you’ll find every possible variety made vegan on her site. It’s like an Indian Vegan Mecca. But Indian food is just the beginning, the girl is a crazy amazing bread maker (with loads of gluten free options). Last year, for Vegan MOFO, She amazed us all with her incredible pizza theme! That’s right, 20 fantastic pizza posts complete with homemade vegan cheeses, sauces and an infinite variety of crusts.
millet pizza 067-001
     What I love about Richa’s blog is that it’s not just about the food all the time. Richa is a passionate animal activist and within her posts you’ll find statistics, facts and infographics for all the reasons in the world to remove animal products from your diet.
     Richa is also a cancer survivor. A surgery to remove a tumor in her brain left her with nerve damage to one of her eyes and a prolonged battle with dizziness, balance and vertigo. Still she creates all this beautiful food, maintains her amazing blog and fosters rescue dogs. She lives in Seattle with her husband and their adorable fluff ball of a dog, Chewie.
     I’m incredibly grateful she agreed to guest post here today. For even more fabulous-ness check the end of this post for some of my favorite recipes from her site. Now, check out this amazing Dal!
Hi you all. Yippie, I get to bring some Dal to Vedged Out readers today! I discovered Somer via Kristy and have been hooked to Vedged Out since. All the positive energy, amazing food, her personality, keep me coming back for more and more. Wish you a consistent and good recovery Somer. Thank you for opening up your space to us.
Beans and lentils, are what we eat pretty much everyday as a part of Indian meals. They end up on the plate usually in a Dal preparation. Some other days in Burgers, pizzas, and more too. Dals are my comfort food, as well as something I would serve as a part of an Indian meal at an event. Amp up the earthy lentils with some specific spices, non dairy milk/butter, different methods of Tadka/Tempering and there you have a delicious hearty bowl of goodness.
Today, I am bringing you my Mom’s Dal Makhani. The lentils used are Whole black gram and Kidney beans. Makhani means creamy and buttery. The non vegan version of this Dal contains a good load of cream, ghee(clarified butter) and butter. Mom is now quite adept at vegan-izing things. So when I asked her what she was going to do about the Makhani part, she said just wait and watch and added some almond milk and cashew milk for a similar taste and it worked perfectly. I served the Dal with a teaspoon of Earth balance on top per bowl. And you should have seen the bliss on my Dad’s face:)  My omni brother also guzzled down bowls and bowls full of the Dal.
If you cant find the lentils used for this Dal, use any similar sized lentil or bean as a substitute from your local store. Substitute brown lentils for black gram, and pinto, black eyed pea, black beans for kidney beans.

Lots more Dals, Bean/Lentil Stews here

Black gram/ Whole Urad

Red Kidney Beans

Whole Urad lentils, Vigna mungo, black gram or black lentil are these pretty lentils which look like black Mung beans. The beans are available as whole or split or split+skinned like most whole lentils in India.
Ground into flour or soaked and fermented, urad is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations, such as dosa crepes, idli – steamed lentil cakes, vada – savory doughnuts, and Papad/Papadum.
Black gram is rich in good protein, vitamin A, B1 and B3 and has small amount of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C in it.

Red Kidney Beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.


Tempering Ingredients.

Heat oil. Add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant.
Add garlic, ginger, chili and cook until golden.

Add onions and cook until translucent.

Add tomatoes, asafoetida, garam masala and cook until tomatoes are tender.

Add tempering to cooked beans. Add milks, mix well.
Cook until the beans are mushy.

Serve hot topped with a dollop of vegan butter or olive oil.

Dal Makhani – Beans in creamy buttery gravy
Allergy Information: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, gluten, grain, yeast

Serves 4-5
For the Lentils:
1 cup whole black gram (whole Urad)
1/2 cup kidney beans (Rajma)
3.5 – 4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

For the Tempering:
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 green chilis finely chopped (I use Serrano chili pepper)
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium size onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida(hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (regular or punjabi)
1 Tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves(Kasoori methi, or Use a 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek/methi seeds)-Optional
2 medium size tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons Almond milk
1/4 cup Cashew milk (I used So delicious Cashew milk. Or Soak cashews and blend to make milky cashew cream.)
Vegan butter as needed

Pressure cook black gram and Kidney beans in 3.5 cups of water with salt and chili powder for 3-4 whistles.
Or use a slow cooker to cook both the beans and keep ready.
In a large pan, add oil and heat on medium-high heat.
Add cumin seeds and cook till they start to change color.
Add ginger, garlic and green chili and saute until golden.
Add onion and cook until translucent.
Add the tomato and cook until tomatoes are mushy. (13-15 minutes till this step).
Add the cooked black gram, kidney beans and the water they were cooked in.
Add garam masala and the milks. Mix, taste and adjust salt.
Add more water if the mixture is too thick.
Simmer on low heat till the dals/beans are totally soft and well blended. 30 minutes.
Or pressure cook for 1 whistle and then cook on low for another 10 minutes.
Top with a small dollop of vegan butter or olive oil and cilantro.
Serve with Roti/Naan flatbread or Rice Pilaf or other cooked grains like Quinoa, millet.

Richa Collage


Clockwise: Roasted Butternut Squash Slider, Avocado Naan, Pasta Sauce Mixes in Jars, Cinnamon Rolls, Lasagna Bolognese, Triple Salted Caramel Brownies, Grilled Nacho Cashew Sandwich, Spiced Apple Cake with Salted Caramel, Home Made Doritos Spice Mix (featured on Oprah!), Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Creamy Makhani Gravy.



  1. The only thing I’ve really missed since going vegan is dal makhani. I used to live near two restaurants that made such great versions, I always ordered it when I went to them. Now I can have it again! I can’t thank you enough, Richa! And your Mum is awesome!

      1. Thanks! i know right. I just left the thinking to Mom when she was visiting. 2 years back she would call me to ask about veganizing things.. now i call her 😉

  2. Realised it was a while since I’d taken a peep at your blog. As per usual, I am not disappointed by what I see! Might have to have a go at making this, this weekend….

  3. This is RIDICULOUS. I mean, wow, this looks so good, and I think I have most of the ingredients in my cabinet, so maybe dinner tonight will be Dal. Thanks so much, both of you!

  4. Somer,

    ANOTHER Thank You! This is the third recipe from you that has become a family staple (even though I just made this yesterday!). Extended family raved over this. We had it with rose matta rice. I did add the small spoon of Earth Balance as recommended . Tasty. Thanks for finding and sharing

    Bobbi Dwyer

  5. Help! Please! We so love this dish and excited to try this vegan version. Somehow, unfortunately, I messed it up. Ugh. I got hung up on the liquid amounts. I cooked the dal on the stovetop, and didn’t know how much liquid to use. Would you have used the same amount as in a pressure cooker? It wasn’t creamy. Instead it was bitter. Do you have any advice? We want to make this dish work! Thank you.

    1. Hi Peter,
      You would have to use atleast double the amount of liquid and cook it in a closed pan until both beans are tender. Also, soak them overnight before cooking on stovetop. I dont know why it got bitter. Maybe the beans or the tempering got burnt? or more than mentioned dried fenugreek leaves/seeds were added? Hope this helps. .

      1. Wow! Thank you for such a quick reply. That helps a lot. I also used powdered fenugreek, so perhaps I shouldn’t have used the whole amount you listed? And really, we LOVE your blog. Thank you for everything!

        1. yes the powdered fenugreek is likely fenugreek seeds powdered, so use 1/4 tsp. fenugreek/methi is a very bitter seed with slightly less bitter leaves. a tablespoon of the seed powder will definitely make it bitter.

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