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Dal Bukhara is an iconic dal dish from the kitchens of ITC BUKHARA in New Delhi. Black urad dal is simmered throughout the night on low flame to get that smooth velvety consistency. It's creamy, melts in the mouth, and is heavenly. One of the most famous north Indian dishes of all time, this Dal Bukhara is easy and needs only a few ingredients and patience.
I am sharing the original recipe, which is shared with me by a top five-star hotel chef in India. Later on, I got the chance to taste this dish itself in ITCJaipur. Dal Bukhara was just fantastic with its smoky flavor and velvety texture.
This recipe traditionally does not use onion and primarily relies on good-quality tomatoes or tomato puree. In old times restaurants used to leave the cooking pot on the stove for the whole night on a slow flame.
That gave a lovely rustic slow-cooked taste. In today's modern home kitchen, it's challenging to do that, so I usually cook in the slow cooker mode of instant pot or slow cooker itself.
Cooking in the pressure cooker or pan doesn't give that long-term cooking effect; still, it tastes so creamy and delicious. If you have not tried, it needs to do that asap.
What is the difference between Dal Makhani and Dal Bukhara?
They look relatively the same other then a few differences, which only people who know the dish can notice.
Famous Dal Makhani uses rajma /red kidney beans with black lentils.
Dal Bukhara is originated in the ITC restaurant and mainly a dish cooked in a restaurant; however, dal makhani is a homely dish prepared by every mother in North India.
Traditionally Dal Bukhara does not use onion in the recipe, but the dal makhani recipe can use onion for better taste.
Ingredients needed for Dal Bukhara?
Whole Black Gram Lentil/Sabut Kali Urad Dal-Whole lentils with skin are washed and soaked overnight to cook perfectly. This lentil gives a perfect creamy texture after cooking slowly.
Fresh Red, Juicy Tomato or good quality tomato, puree-Depending on the quality of tomatoes in my kitchen, I use them. Mostly I use an excellent quality organic tomato puree, which gives a lovely taste and color without being tangy.
Aromatics- It just uses ginger garlic paste. I use fresh ginger and garlic to make the paste. However, the store-bought paste can be used.
Spices-Only salt, turmeric, and Kashmiri chili powder are used in this recipe.
Butter and Cream(Use vegan butter /any oil and coconut milk for a vegan alternative.
How to cook Dal Bukhara?
Here I am sharing a recipe: Instant pot and traditional pressure cooker ones. Cooking dal Bukhara on the stovetop is quite time-consuming since the lentil takes a lot of time to cook. Hence I do not suggest cooking without a pressure cooker, electric or traditional. A slow cooker can be used easily.
Soak the Lentils-Soaking overnight is advisable. However, 5 -6 hours is recommended if that's not possible. These lentils have tough skin, and soaking for quite some time takes less time to cook. Secondly, the health benefits of lentils improve after soaking.
Cooking the Dal- Most of the time, I cook dal in an instant pot with all the spices, aromatics, and tomato puree . It takes 35 minutes to cook that perfectly. If you are cooking under a traditional pressure cooker, cook and finish it in a pan or the same cooker.
Always check the dal after cooking between your two fingers. If you can squeeze them softly, then it's perfectly cooked. Mushi dal tastes better.
Slow cooking of lentils-I typically cooks the lentils in slow cooker mode of Instant pot or the slow cooker for 4 hours. If that much time is unavailable, it's easily doable in 40 minutes. That's 35 minutes of cooking dal and 5 minutes for mixing butter/cream /coconut milk.
Serving Suggestion- Typically, it is done alongside Naan, Roti, Kulcha, or Jeera Rice.
However, any other bread will work fine.
My Most Popular Lentil Recipes,
- 1 Cup Black whole lentils/Sabut Kali urad dal
- 4 Cups Water to cook the lentils
- 1 Cup Tomato sauce (please note that in USA sauce is different use tomato puree for similar effect in India)
- 2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
- 1 Tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- 1 Tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 4 Tbsp Butter/Vegan Butter
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream /Coconut Milk for Vegan Alternative.
- Wash the lentils several times under running water. Soak then overnight or for 6 hours in cold water.
Cooking in the Instant pot ,
- Turn the saute button on ,when it displays hot add cooking oil to it .
- Add ginger garlic paste and saute them.When its aromatic in one minute or so add tomato puree ,chili powder and turmeric powder to it .
- After sauteing for a few minutes add lentils to the pot .Stir once more and add water and half of the butter to it .
- Furthermore add salt to the pot.
- Close the lid.Cancel the saute mode .
- Switch on the pressure cook mode for 35 minutes.Cook on bean chili mode for 30 minutes or pressure cook for 35 minutes..Both should work fine .
- After the Instant pot releases the steam naturally remove the lid. add butter /cream /coconut milk to it. Taste the dal and adjust the salt if needed.
- Serve the dal bukhara along with any bread or rice.
Cooking in the traditional pressure cooker
- Cook the lentils with 4 cups of water for atleast 5 Whistles.The idea is to get a mushy soft texture of lentil.
- After keeping the flame high till the pressure comes keep the flame slow medium . Otherwise it will get burned.
- Switch off the flame and let it cool naturally .Remove the whistle.
- Remove the lid of the cooker.
- Take a deep pan.
- Add oil to it .Once its hot add ginger garlic paste.
- Saute for one minute and add tomato puree ,chili powder ,salt and turmeric.
- Stir the mixture till it leaves oil from the sides.
- Add cooked lentil with all the water in it .
- Mix well and let it cook on medium flame .
- If it looks too thick for your taste add one cup of water.
- At this point in time add butter/cream /coconut milk to it .
- Let it cook for 15-20 minutes on low flame .
- Taste the seasoning and serve with bread or rice.
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