Vegan Dal Makhani: Northern Indian Punjabi Dal

Vegan dal makhani is a Northern Indian dish that tends to not include vegetables, focusing instead on the creaminess of texture and flavor through the use of creams and milks, such as watermelon seed cream, cashew cream, and coconut milk. Find more Indian recipes in our most recent Culture Tuesday article about Indian cuisine, or check out our whole Indian cuisine section!

clock icon cutlery icon flag icon folder icon instagram icon pinterest icon facebook icon print icon squares icon heart icon heart solid icon
Vegan Dal Makhani: Northern Indian Punjabi Dal

Vegan Dal Makhani: Northern Indian Punjabi Dal


  • 2 cups Whole Black Gram Dal
  • ½ cup Dry Kidney Beans
  • 4 cups Water
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1-inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 45 Crushed Garlic Pod
  • 34 Cloves
  • 1-inch Ginger
  • White Watermelon Seeds (substitute with cashews)
  • 1 tsp Oil (substitute with vegan butter)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Crushed Ginger-Garlic Paste (to taste)
  • 1 cup Chopped Red Onions
  • 1.5 cups Chopped Tomatoes
  • ½ tsp Ground Turmeric
  • ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp Garam Masala
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Vegan Butter
  • 1 tsp Crushed Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • Grated Ginger (to taste)
  • Slit Green Chillies (to taste)



  1. Wash and soak 2 cups of whole black gram dal and ½ cup of dry red kidney beans in water for 6-7 hours or overnight.
  2. Pressure cook these lentils (in an instant pot or traditional pressure cooker) with 4 cups of water, 2 bay leaves, 1-inch cinnamon stick, crushed garlic pod and 3-4 cloves until well cooked. Keep aside
  3. Crush 3-4 pods of garlic and 1-inch ginger in a mortar pestle, keep aside.
  4. Soak white watermelon seeds (alternatively, you can also use cashews) to 30 mins in warm water. Blend this to a smooth paste and set aside.


  1. Add 1 tsp of neutral oil or vegan butter to a heated saucepan, add 1tsp of cumin seeds and crushed ginger-garlic paste.
  2. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the raw garlic smell is gone or they turn slightly brown.  
  3. Add 1 cup chopped red onions and sauté until translucent.  
  4. Next add 1.5 cups finely chopped tomatoes, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1 tbsp coriander powder, ½ tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp garam masala and salt to taste. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and spices are aromatic. 
  5. Stir in the cooked dal along with the water (from boiling). Gently mash some of the dal to get a thicker consistency (you could also additionally blend ½ cup of lentils to form a smooth paste).
  6. Bring the dal to a boil and then simmer and low heat for about 10 mins. Add more water to adjust consistency (Slow simmered cooking is authentic to traditional dal makhani)
  7. Stir in 1 tbsp of vegan butter, 1 tsp of crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) and 1 tbsp of blended watermelon cream. Give everything a good mix and cook for 5 mins. 
  8. Turn off the heat, check salt (add more if needed) and garnish with grated ginger, drizzle of cream and slit green chillies (optional) 
  9.  Serve with warm rice or roti or naan.


Find more of Priya’s recipes on her Youtube channel.


Vegan Dal Makhani: Northern Indian Punjabi Dal

If you loved this vegan dal makhani, you might also like…

Vegan Amti (Maharashtrian Dal)




Recipe rating
Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recipe of the Day.

Get the latest vegan recipes sent directly to your inbox.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe anytime.

Latest Articles

Vegan Pupusas (Salvadoran Masa Cakes)

Food Stories is a new column in which Best...

BIPOC Portraits: Rated V (An Interview with Eunice Reyes)

BIPOC Portraits is a series in which Best of...

Click here to view all of our latest recipes and articles.