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Vegan Black Lentil Curry (Dal Makhani)


  • 2 cups (400 g) black urid dhal, soaked and cooked
  • 1 can (260 g) red kidney beans, about 1½ cups
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp  minced garlic
  • 1 cup (262 g) tomato puree
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1  tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 can (400 ml) full-fat unsweetened coconut milk, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 handful chopped fresh coriander leaves, to garnish


  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic pepper fusion
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek / methi powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on low heat. Add the sliced onions. Cook for about 10 minutes or until browned.

  2. Add the minced ginger and garlic and cook until the garlic browns.

  3. Stir in the turmeric, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, fenugreek, and cinnamon stick. Cook, stirring constantly until they are toasted and fragrant. Be careful not to burn the spices.

  4. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir constantly to prevent burning.

  5. Drain the canned kidney beans and add to the pot. Then add the cooked black lentils (or urid dhal) with cooking liquid to the pot.

  6. Add the bay leaves and salt. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

  7. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

  8. Remove from heat. Garnish with coconut cream and coriander before serving.


Tips and Variations 

  • Soak & Cook: Soak urid dhal the night before you make this dish (at least 12 hours), then rinse and cook in water for about 45 minutes until tender. You can substitute urid dhal with black beluga lentils if you can find them. Beluga lentils don't need to be soaked and take around 20 minutes to cook, but depending on where you are, they can be quite difficult to find.

  • Creamy Twist: This recipe would typically use ghee for a creamy rich texture. Sub this for vegan butter, whilst it won't be as rich, it's still be creamy and tasty.

  • Serve with: Enjoy with rice, naan bread or chapatis.


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