Back with Dal Bukhara & Tandoori Roti

Feels good to be back here after a fortnight in India, centered around family, friends, festivities, fun and food , and lots of each!
On the food front, it was wonderful to confidently stride into any eating joint, without first pondering if they have vegetarian options. Infact, I actually had a vegetarian hot dog at a little kiosk in one of the nouveau dilli malls!!
Just like every time, I also had my fill of Dal Bukhara(DB) and Chole Bhature(CB), food that Delhi does better than anywhere else in the world. Anyone who shares my fondness for CB, drop me a line and I will be happy to share my favourite CB haunts:)
As for DB, while there are many worthy contenders, who may at times even surpass the original, for a predictably good kali dal, there is only one mecca, even if dal bukhara is pretty much all vegetarians like me can order there:(
After dozens of trials, and not quite there experiments, I am happy to report a recipe that in my admittedly biased opinion is nearly there.Have it with whole wheat, home made tandoori rotis, and you have a hearty, delicious meal.
If dal bukhara and makhni leave you confused, read what someone who has run through quite a few of them has to say
Dal Bukhara
This is one recipe that gives you a real bang for your butter, with just 2 tsp cream and 1 tbsp butter ( and yes.. that includes the butter & cream garnish on the dal!)
a little more than ¾ cup whole urad
a little less than¼ cup rajma
(Basically 1 katori together of which approxiamately 80% is urad and 20% is rajma).
2 small/1 large tomato pureed with an optional green chilli
paste of 8 cloves of garlic and a one inch knob of ginger
½ cup of readymade tomato puree ( I used Hunt's)
1 tbsp( 3tsp) unsalted butter
½ cup of milk
2 tsp cream
½ tsp Cumin, 4 cloves, 1 bayleaf, 1 inch cinnamon
salt, chili powder to taste
I was strongly advised against soaking this dal overnight as that makes the texture completely different after cooking and so , I have always made this dal after soaking in warm water for 2 hours at best, or at times even without pre-soaking and it has worked. But some pressure cookers do not cook this dal thoroughly without soaking for 2 to 3 hours, so do adjust according to your experience with your cooker.
Boil urad and rajma together in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of water.In my old style hawkins cooker, it takes around 20 minutes on medium low flame, after the first whistle. Meanwhile, heat together 2 tsp oil and 2 tsp butter, add cumin, whole masala. Once it pops, add ginger garlic paste, fry till aromatic, then add fresh tomato puree. Cook it till all the juice evaporates and the tomato mixture thickens .

Now add ready made puree and cook for a few minutes before adding around half a cup of water. Let it cook some more till specks of oil can be seen on the top. If you have used as little oil as I do, you may not really see oil floating on the top, but it is cooked when it looks something like this:

Add the powdered spices and mix well.
The dal will also be probably cooked by now, the grains soft but not totally mush.

Add the tomato mix to the cooker along with 1 cup of water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Might need some more water if it turns too thick, too soon.Add milk and 1tsp cream, and cook till nice and thick. Garnish with remaining cream and butter.
Tandoori Roti
These short cut tandoori rotis were taught to me by our cook, Khem Singh, who in turn learned it during his stint at a small 4 star hotel, renowned for its great food. This was also his strategy to use up leftover atta dough that was not quite ideal for phulkas but was still not bad enough to be discarded. This is precisely what I used as well, atta that had been languishing in the refrigerator for two days.
For Tandoori Roti, use atta kneaded with just plain water, without any salt, or oil.Before making rotis, leave it outside the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 hours, if in a warm area like Singapore ( 30C or so), else adjust accordingly. Apparently, this makes the dough rise a bit, although I could not detect any visible change.
Now take a largish ball of dough (slightly smaller than a tennis ball) and roll out using wet hands on a kitchen slab or rolling board, or simply clap it between your hands.I did a bit of both. You may have to moisten your hands a few times to ensure that the roti does not stick to your hands. It does not really matter if the roti is not perfectly round, I gave up on that years back.
Have a frying pan handy, and keep it upside down on the gas flame for a few minutes. Slap the roti carefully on the bottom of the pan so that it sticks, and now keep it back on the flame upside down, like so:

Once the underside is cooked, (which should only take two to three minutes, but really depends on how strong your flame is) hold the pan over the flame, right side up so that the flames are almost touching the top of the roti. If everything has gone well, the top of the roti should rise slightly to form a nice, crisp crust, which cracks when tapped.

Pat a tiny bit of butter or ghee on the roti, if you like
Dal Bukhara goes as my entry to two great events where I am participating for the first time, Legume Love Affair concieved by Susan and hosted by Sra, and..

FIC Brown, concieved and hosted by Sunshine Mom


  1. I love the way you have made you tandooring roti. Will try them.
    Love the dal too.

  2. I am drooling over the roti! perfect..loved the combo..hope u had a great time in India...

  3. Yum, both look perfect and delicious!

  4. Roti looks so rustic and fabulous... and the dhal is just perfect.. Am drooling here.

  5. Love the tandoori roti looks sooooo perfect.Will try it. Love the dal too....

  6. chha gaye ji ap to.... waise to mujhw gussa hai ki apne aakar mujhe call nai kiya par koi naa ... delhi style wala koi na... :D... hope uncle ka budday perfect raha ho ... and u had a wonderful time.... :) missed you... and tandoori roti wale style par to ap chha gaye.. kasam se...

  7. are haan .... main hun na chole bhature ki diwani... jab maine chole bhature post kiya tha tab apne nai dekha tha kya.... chacha ke chole bhature in kamala nagar and many others .. yaar delhi mein to kahin bhi kha lo ... alag hi baat hoti thi... bas kuch kuch jagah mein bhature used to get a little oily...

  8. Never had a dhal bukhara very inviting combo with tandoori roti :)

  9. I really like the sound of this. I've had dal bukhara a few times - never actuall made it at home. And I LOVE your tip with the tandoori roti!

  10. What a lovely plate!..wish I had made it too..glad to know you enjoyed your trip!

  11. i have never tried making tandoori roti or naan at home. yours looks just perfect. Dal bukhara looks delicious to.

  12. Wowowwwwwww they looks so drooling for the roti..loved the colour of dal..lovely

  13. hey!
    Welcome back!
    Mm..not a cb fan any more (too greasy), but luurve db. And ur tandoori roti looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing the tip, this is the stuff the makes for great (and easy)cooking. Can it be an inverted tawa? I'm just wondering what kind of a frying pan it has to be.

  14. THis is another dal we like with rotis.
    I shall definitely try out your version of tandoori roti.

  15. Brown dal, brown rotis ... girl you are back with a bang! Welcome back Rashmi! :-)
    Lovely spread! :-)

  16. Hi friends,
    thanks for the warm welcome and nice comments.
    yes, an inverted, curved tawa should work fine. As for the frying pan, any sort should do, Khem Singh used an old, aluminium one, only because no one wanted to cook in it:)

  17. Sunita, good to have you back.
    I have to get your notes for my next trip to Delhi :) Totally agree with you about chole bature and dal bukara. I love your step by step pics too!

  18. thanks mandira, will be delighted, let me know when you visit delhi next.
    The name's Rashmi BTW:)

  19. Winning combo girl. I'm very intrigued by the Khem Sinch shortcut tandoori roti. When I cook dal bukhara, I put the paste in with the dals in the cooker and simply stir in the butter afterward.

  20. This would be great in the morning, midday or at dinner time. Love the tandoori roti.

  21. the pics are that a sindhi dish...never had it though

  22. oh love ur tandoori roti, will make soon. Dal bukhara looks mouthwatering, very nice recipe!!!

  23. Hi Rashmi, Dal looks absolutely delicious! I've always been seraching for the recipe for Dal bukara.. and roti looks crispy and awesome.. good one :)

  24. The dal Bokhara looks awesome and we had ate it in Bukhara, it was awesome and memorable.

  25. Awesome combo! Love the colour. Perfect entries:-)

  26. Bhags,
    Sharing the little that I know about this dal;
    Dal Bukhara is a north west frontier dish, popularised by it's namesake restaurant in Maurya Sheraton Hotel,Delhi.
    Its a robustly flavoured cousin of the relatively milder punjabi dal makhni, not aware if there is any sindhi connection though.Hope that helps.

  27. Hey Rashmi, great recipe! I tried it out today for dinner and it turned out great! check out my latest post :)

  28. I love the first photo - the gleam of the naan and the swirl in the daal. I once met a chef who said his dad developed the original recipe for Dal Bukhara in a prominent hotel chain.

  29. Both of these look wonderful..loved your tip to make tandoori roti without the tandoor will give this a try :-)

  30. what a great meal! I love your recipe for both the items...I should try this the next time I crave something 'different'. Thanks for your lovely comment!

    Cheers, trupti
    the spice who loved me

  31. Kya baat hai....dal bhukara saath mai tandoori rooti...sacch mai lagta hai yeh post Delhi se hi hai.....Nice yummy picture..

  32. Is this another name for dal makhni?
    Never mind, I just saw the link ...:-)

    The dal looks absolutely sensational! I am very tempted to give it a shot.

  33. The Dal looks soooo good!! I make something sismilar but call it Dal Makhani..

    I never made Tandoori roti at home, becoz I took it for granted that it needs a tandoor..:-) but this is a real neat way. I have an iron skillet which should work well on heat.

    Thans for sharing this.

  34. Drolling over the roti! Perfect combo. I hope u use pressure cooker upside down. Will it becomes black when it turns down the cooker.

  35. I tried this out for the first time when my family visited us during the christmas holidays and they absolutely loved it.
    Thank You for sharing this recipe and providing some useful tips!

  36. thanks for sharing... made my day :-)

  37. Anon,Thanks your comment made mine:)

  38. Love the way you have added so little of the butter and cream and yet the result is delish!

  39. Hello, I was so excited to find your dal bukhara recipe. My brother and I grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal, where we would sneak off to the local Bukhara restaurant to engorge ourselves on their delectable Dal Bukhara and Murgh Makahani. I have a few questions;
    1) Do you add the cumin, bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon stick in whole, or do you grind them up before adding them?
    2) Later in the recipe you say add the powdered spices- which ones are the powdered ones- just the salt and chili powder?
    3) How much tomato paste to how much water when you make tomato puree?

  40. hello there,

    if you have a good recipe of chole bhature please do post.. i am craving the delhi's chole bhature.. i miss them so much.. I used to have chole bhature in kamla nagar, don't remember who was the owner but they always had a long line and it used be near some university there and near meghna's and baskin robin's shop.. hopefully it is still there.. please do post some good recipe of chole bhature =)