Dal Bukhara Recipe

Dal Bukhara

Dal Bukhara

Dal Bukhara is a whole black gram (urad dal) slow cooked with tomatoes, garlic, spices, cream and butter.

This dal is called Dal Bukhara as it was initially developed by an Indian chef Madan Jaiswal who worked in ITC Maurya in Delhi. People often dined at this restaurant for this legendary dal. Slow cooked overnight or even longer this dal is rich, creamy and super delicious! Although this recipe might sound quite similar to Dal Makhani recipe, it is simpler with fewer ingredients but more complex flavours. Slow cooking this dal is the most important part of this recipe.

I have been meaning to write this recipe for a long time- since two of my brothers absolutely love Dal Bukhara. They are also experts in making this recipe, and I can vouch for their expertise. When we meet, we often have long conversations about where we have eaten the best dal Bukhara (around the world since we all live in different continents) so you can imagine our love for it.

Dal Bukhara is a simple and easy recipe, but it requires your love and patience! This Dal Bukhara recipe is quite rich because of the amount of butter and cream that goes into the preparation. To get the real taste and feel, I would recommend not to reduce the cream or butter.

Other recipes you might like to try Hariyali Paneer Tikka, Egg curry, Kaju Curry, Tawa Paneer, Methi Lasuni Paneer, Paneer Kali Mirch and Paneer Hara Pyaaz to name a few.


1 cup whole black gram (Urad dal)
4-5 garlic cloves
1 Inch ginger
Salt to taste
1-2 bay leaves (Optional)
4 cups water
1 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
2-3 teaspoons butter
¼ cup single cream
2-3 cups boiled water (while simmering)
½ teaspoon garam masala



Wash and soak the urad dal for 7 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain the water and transfer the dal to a pressure cooker. Add around 3.5 cups of water, bay leaf and salt.

Pressure cook on high-medium heat for 10 whistles, then lower the heat to low-medium and cook for another 10 minutes. It needs in total around 15 to 20 whistles to cook the dal.

Let the pressure release naturally and the dal should be completely cooked, and soft.


Add the minced ginger, garlic, tomato puree, Kashmiri Red chilli powder, salt and butter. Mix well and cook on low heat until the dal comes to a boil.
Cover and let the dal simmer on low heat for about 1 hour. Keep on stirring the dal every 10-15 minutes so that the dal doesn’t stick at the bottom of the cooker.
Add the cream, and taste to check the salt. Adjust the consistency by adding boiling water and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the garam masala and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot with Lachha paratha or Naan.

Tips & Variations

  1. Urad dal thrives on slow cooking hence you will get the best flavours, if you let it simmer on low heat. I understand that we all have busy lives, but if you can, I recommend simmering the dal for a couple of hours at least. If you can simmer longer, all the better.
  2. If you want to boil the dal in a pan, then cover the dal with three times water and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, salt and pinch of bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Simmer until the dal is soft enough to crush easily against the side of the pan. Keep topping up the water, if necessary. Cooking in a pan will probably take 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. The butter and cream are essential for the silky velvety taste of this dal. However, if you don’t want to add cream then you can substitute it with whole milk.
  5. I always use fresh tomatoes in all my Indian cooking, but you can substitute shop bought puree for this recipe if you wish. It will not change the taste or texture of the final dish. Please remember to substitute with puree and not paste.
  6. I only use Kashmiri red chilli powder in this recipe due to the colour it gives to this dal and also it is not super-hot. This is a recipe where I wouldn’t recommend variations or substitutes, if possible buy the ingredients for this recipe as it will be worth it!
  7. You can smoke the dal in the end if you wish for extra flavour. It gives the dal that smoky taste that you get in the restaurants. Heat a piece of charcoal over direct heat until its red hot. With the help of tongs, keep on turning the charcoal piece so that it burns evenly. Place hot charcoal in a small steel bowl preferably with handle and pour melted ghee/oil (around 1 teaspoon) on top of charcoal. Place the bowl with handle on top of the dal (this is so that the bowl doesn’t drop inside the dal). You will see smoke coming out of charcoal. Close the pan with a lid. Let it remain like this for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, remove the charcoal bowl. The longer you keep the lid closed, the smokier dal will get.