Pakhtooni Dal; Twin Sister Of Dal Makhani
Image Credit: pakhtooni dal/

One glance at this dal makes it obvious why we are referring to it as the first cousin. Dal Pakhtooni, also known as Pakhtooni Dal, is a traditional appetiser made with whole black gramme or Kali Urad Dal and simmered in a tomato-based gravy with a heavy dose of fresh cream. You could get the impression from the dish's name that it has a regal flavour to it. Contrary to popular belief, however, this dal has nothing to do with the royal family of Pakistan or Afghanistan's Pakhtoon ethnic group, also known as the Pashtoon or Pashtun. This community resides in the area that is sandwiched between the Hindu Kush in northeastern Afghanistan and the northern Indus River in Pakistan.


Although the name of this dal has origins in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it contains more Indian components than you can possibly think. This cuisine is from the past but is still quite good and popular among people on the northwest frontier. We cannot refer to it as a long-lost recipe but more as a dish that few people are aware of. People apparently got to know about this dal after Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor included it in one of his cookbooks.


It features a creamy foundation made of fresh cream, tomato, ginger, and garlic paste, just like Dal Makhani. Another thing to keep in mind about this dish is that, for unknown reasons, no onions are used in the preparation of the dal. Pakhtooni Dal differs from other dals because it is flavorful and uses a lot of spices. This traditional slow-cooked dal requires hours to prepare on a low flame while being stirred continuously. Although it requires a lot of work, the results are simply mind-blowing.


1. Whole black gramme or Sabut Urad dal

2. Ginger-garlic paste

3. Dry red chilli flakes

4. Tomato puree

5. Butter

6. Fresh cream

7.Coriander powder

8. Cumin powder

9. Salt to taste

10. Garam masala

11. Coriander leaves for garnishing

pakhtooni dal/

1. First, soak 2 cups of Sabut Urad dal for 6–8 hours, overnight. Drain the water after soaking, then add the dal to a pressure cooker. Add salt to taste and enough water to bring it to a boil. Allow the dal to boil for three to four whistles after that. In the meantime, add 4-5 tbsps of butter to a kadhai and heat it over a medium flame. 

2. Once it has melted, stir in the ginger-garlic paste and continue to cook until the raw garlic flavour has disappeared. To the kadhai, add 1 1/2 cups of tomato puree, and stir well. Cook the puree for two to three minutes. The dal must have boiled by this point.

3. Uncover the pot, add the boiled urad dal, and stir everything together. After that, add 1 cup of water and simmer the dal for 4-5 minutes. Now, add 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes to the kadhai and well combine. 

4. For four to five minutes, cook the dal. Finally, give it a good swirl before adding 1 cup of fresh cream and 2 pinches of garam masala. Place a lid on the kadhai and cook the dal for 15 to 30 minutes, if possible.To prevent it from sticking to the bottom, stir every so often. Now turn off the heat and add chopped coriander leaves as a garnish. 

5. You can eat Dal Pakhtooni right away with Jeera Rice, Naan, or even Paratha and a side of Achaar and Papad.