Crock pot/Slow cooker Dal Makhani | Slow cooker Indian Recipes

If you are trying to put your crock pot to use…like I am, dals should be your best bet. I recieved the crock pot as a gift from my dear friends Srini and Vinitha one Christmas. I must confess that I have’nt put it to a lot of use, except for making soups and dals. But, one recipe I always only make using the crock pot, since I got it, is dal makhani. Its because this is the traditional way this recipe was made…in the olden days when there were no pressure cookers or fast stoves, it was cooked low and slow over coals that rendered it a creamy, smoky flavor.

This has also been one of my go to dishes if I have guests coming over for dinner on a week day. It takes the pressure off you for the making of one dish for the main course. I get store bought naan and make a pulao to go with it. Works like magic, and tastes like you spent hours stirring a pot over the stove.

1 cup urad dal with skin on
1/4 cup rajma
1 large onion minced
1 cup tomato puree canned or fresh(I used canned)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 cup milk
1 tsp butter
salt to taste

Wash and soak the urad dal and the rajma overnight. Spray your crock pot with non stick cooking spray. This makes for easy cleanup. Place the dals along with all the ingredients except milk and butter in the crock pot. Add 2 cups of water and set on high for about 6 hours.

Stir it at the end of hours, taste for seasoning. Add a 1/2 tsp butter and the cup of milk and let cook for another couple of hours on high. Finish with the remaining butter.

Verdict: Silky smooth and protein rich. You don’t have to mash the dals to make it creamy, the slow cooking softens and creates the soft creamy texture on the dals. The milk mellows out the spices and adds a richness to the dish. Reminds me of dhaba food back in India.

I usually do the chopping and assembling of the ingredients in the crock pot the previous night, while I soak the dals. I then place the crock pot covered in the fridge. The next day morning, I drain and place the dals along with the other ingredients and switch it on and go off to work. When I open the door after work, the house smells wonderful and I have a tasty curry waiting…:)

Note: You may follow the same procedure using a pressure cooker. It is faster and tastes close to the long and slow cooking method. Stovetop cooking would be laborious for this dish.

This creamy delicacy goes as my entry to My Legume Love Affair #27, by Susan.

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  1. Neha

    Also, what about tadka? I didn’t add chili powder because I take will out a serving for my toddler who doesn’t eat spicy food. If I do tadka, will the milk curdle?

  2. Neha

    Making this as I comment! Can’t wait to have it for dinner.

    How many calories would you say this dish ends up being? Roughly?

  3. Halya

    Great ideal for those with efficiency-style apartments and rooms, or dorms.
    Good meal. Can have it more than once.
    Love, love, love Indian food.

  4. So, you say,w e can use a pressure cooker if we don’t have a crock pot? What about the general rice cooker? I have one but don’t know if it is feasible for this.

    • Denny

      Hi Nishita, the general rice cooker will not work for this. It will probably cook the dal, but not to the creamy, mushy consistency called for in this recipe. Pressure cooker is your next best bet to a crockpot.

  5. What a brilliant use for a crockpot. I never thought to try Indian with the one I have, as rarely used as it is. I always default to the idea of a whistling pressure cooker when I think of cooking Indian pulses. : }

    Thanks so much, Denny, for your MLLA recipe. It really looks creamy and rich.

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