Vegan Dal Makhani


  • Author: Sneh
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian, Vegan, Gluten Free


for the dal

  • 300g black urad dal
  • 4 cups (1 litre) water for soaking

for the tempering

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 270ml can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

to finish

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece, julienned
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whipped coconut cream


  1. Wash, rinse and soak the urad dal in the soaking water for 2 hours.
  2. Place soaked dal along with the soaking water in the bowl of a slow cooker and cook on high for half an hour.
  3. Prepare the tempering – heat olive oil in a large shallow frying pan. Sauté onion, ginger, bay leaves and cinnamon on medium for a couple of minutes until onion is caramelised. Add turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala and paprika. Sauté for a couple of minutes until spices are toasted and aromatic.
  4. Add the tempering to the dal in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and salt. Mix well. Cover and slow cook on low for 6 hours. The consistency of the finished dal should be that of a loose porridge. If it is drier than that, add half a cup of water to loosen the dal in the last stages of cooking.
  5. To finish the dal – Heat oil in a small frying pan. Sauté the chilli and ginger strips for a minute. Remove from heat and pour over the dal. Garnish with coriander and swirl through the coconut cream. Serve hot with rotis or steamed rice and lemon wedges on the side.


COOKTOP METHOD – Place the soaked dal along with soaking water in a large deep Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium-high for an hour. Add the tempering, tomatoes, coconut milk and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium for half an hour. Reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for 3-4 hours until dal is tender but still has a bite. The consistency should be that of a loose porridge. If it is too dry, add half a cup of water and cook until warmed through. Finish as per above.

For a rich decadent version, replace olive oil with butter and whipped coconut cream (to finish) with fresh cream.

I often double the recipe, slow cook and cool it completely before packing it away in freezer safe containers. Stays well in the freezer for up to two months and thaws beautifully in the fridge or microwave when ready to use.