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Dal makhani

Dal makhani with naan from Anupama in Delhi, India.

What: A Punjabi staple, dal makhani is a hearty, spicy, tomato-based dish of urad dal (lentils) and rajma, or red kidney beans, usually slow-cooked with butter and some cream for a thick consistency and rich taste (makhani means “with butter” in Hindi; see also butter chicken). Common on many Delhi menus as a simple yet filling vegetarian meal, it is pretty darn delicious—like a buttery bean chili, to our tastes. Indian comfort food. for sure.

Where: Our dal makhani is from Anupama (2924-3311; HS-12, Kailash Colony Market, map), one of those friendly, local, run-of-the-mill sweets-and-snacks restaurants that this city does so well. It’s located in South Delhi, near the middle of Kailash Colony Market’s business strip.

When: Daily, 8am-11pm

Order: The dal makhani (95 rupees), a dark and spicy bowl of goodness, with naan (20 rupees) or tandoori roti (10 rupees). Another locally popular dal available here is dal tadka, or dal tempered with spices and ghee. The chaats, including raj kachori and papri chaat, also look great, and don’t leave without picking up some sweets—this was one of the few sweet shops where we saw employees using gloves.

Alternatively: This dish is available all over Delhi, it seems. You might try similar types of establishments, like Bikanervala (multiple locations including A-80, Central Market, Lajpat Nagar-II, map), or any Punjabi restaurant, like Central Delhi’s Kake da Hotel (9136-666820; 67, Municipal Market, Connaught Circus, map). In Old Delhi, try the dal makhani (and thick stuffed naan-parathas) at decades-old Kake di Hatti (654, Church Mission Rd., map), or at the original Moti Mahal (3704, Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryaganj, approx. map)—it’s famed for creating butter chicken (and tandoori chicken) some 60 years ago, so surely the cooks can handle buttery dal as well.


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