Daal Bukhara is a slow cooked creamy and dreamy daal made famous the world over by the ITC Maurya Hotel. Their Daal Bukhara is slow cooked for 18 hours over a coal fire. No doubt people rave about it.
I don’t have a slow cooker, although if you have one, this is a perfect vegetarian dish to try out in it. Daal Bukhara comes from the Northwest frontier province and is made with whole black urad lentils. It is very similar to the Daal Makhani which is more of a Punjabi dish. I read a detailed article about these two daals on Vir Sanghvi’s blog. Simply put, the Daal Bukhara is a simpler, rustic version more true to the land it comes from. And the Daal Makhani is more of an Indianized version, fashioned after the Butter Chicken or Paneer Makhani. This was news to me because I don’t really use the same sauce for my Daal Makhani.
As you must know, we are celebrating #30daysofdaal and you can bet that the Daal Makhani is set to make an appearance here. So I will talk more about it when I actually cook it. This particular Daal Bukhara is also like Maah Ki Daal, I guess.
I used to make this with the whole urad lentils for many years before I hit upon the quicker method. With the whole urad, you need to soak them overnight, pressure cook them and still simmer them for a long time before they actually start becoming creamy. I am using split black urad daal. The advantage of using the split black urad daal (actually found it on Amazon) is you can pressure cook it without much advance planning and you will have Daal Bukhara on the table in just a couple of hours.
There is no tadka or tempering here, which is a big difference from the other daal recipes. The cooked daal is simmered with finely chopped onions and tomatoes, a hint of ginger and garlic, a dash of green chili and a pinch of garam masala until it becomes creamy and gooey.
Urad daal and Urad lentils are sticky in nature and the daal becomes naturally thick and creamy when simmered for the right time. I just add a bit of cream to balance out the strong taste and to make it a bit mellow. But there is absolutely no need to add globs of butter or cups of cream.
You can simmer the daal as long as you want on a low flame. Just make sure there is enough water in it and that it doesn’t stick to the pot.
Dal Bukhara Recipe
- 1 cup split black urad daal
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tsp garlic crushed
- 1 green chili jalapeno/ Serrano minced
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- ¼ cup cream
- Salt to taste
- Ghee for topping optional
- Soak the black urad daal for an hour or two if possible. You can also skip this step.
- Wash and rinse split black urad daal and pressure cook with 2-3 times the water for 3 whistles. Steam on low flame with pressure on for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Mince the green chili, ginger, garlic together and separately and add to the cooked daal.
- Add finely chopped onion and tomato.
- Whisk or mash the daal to mix everything well.
- Bring to a boil in a thick bottomed stock pot.
- Add salt and garam masala.
- Simmer for at least 30 minutes until onions/ tomatoes are cooked down and the daal is creamy and slightly sticky/ gooey. You will still see some whole lentils but the sauce will be creamy naturally.
- Add some cream just before you are ready to serve. Simmer for a minute or two after adding the cream, and garnish with more cream on the top.
- This daal also tastes good with a dollop of ghee added on top while serving.
- Serve hot with rice or roti as part of an Indian meal.
Daal Bukhara sounds exotic but is not very difficult to make at home. And this quicker version means it is certainly possible to make on a weeknight or when you have company over.
Try this decadent daal in your own kitchen, and try out other simple recipes from my #30daysofdaal series.