Dishoom have released a short video where their head chef, Naved Nasir, talks about and makes the Dishoom Black Daal. Be sure to watch it - I didn't realise that the tomato-spice paste needs thinning with water (I don't think it matters too much if you skip this step) and I always wondered why my daal wasn't as intensely red as the picture in the book. It turns out Naved's daal isn't either - it's more of a creamy, golden brown.
I've experimented with making this recipe in an Instant Pot.
Dishoom's House Black Daal is the most decadent and indulgent daal I’ve ever tasted. It takes an awful lot of time to cook; more time, I think, than is outlined in the original recipe but it’s absolutely worth the effort. I’ve cooked a few different black daals and have always found that whole black lentils (urad daal) take ages to soften so I try to remember to pre-soak them the night before to give them a head start.
The first time I made this dish I didn’t read the ingredients list properly and used salted butter in addition to the added salt so I had to cook an extra batch of plain split black lentils to save the dish. If you only have salted butter then reduce the amount of fine sea salt to 4g and taste before adding more.
I didn’t have garlic and ginger paste so I weighed my garlic cloves and knob of ginger instead. As a very rough guideline, 12g of garlic is about 4 cloves and 10g of ginger is around a heaped tablespoon. If in doubt it can't hurt to use a bit more.
Note on leftovers from the book: "When reheating any leftover daal (well, one can but hope!), you may need to add a little more liquid; use cream and water, rather than water alone."
If you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, I'd recommend using it to cook the lentils; you don't need to soak them and it speeds up the cooking time considerably. Cook the lentils for 30 minutes on the 'high' setting and start the recipe from step 4. You can also cook the entire dish in an Instant Pot.
Dishoom: From Bombay with Love (affiliate link)
- 300g whole black urad daal
- 12g garlic paste (roughly 4 cloves)
- 10g ginger paste (roughly 1 heaped tablespoon)
- 70g tomato purée
- 8g fine sea salt
- ⅔ tsp deggi mirch chilli powder (or ⅓ tsp normal chilli powder)
- ⅓ tsp garam masala
- 90g unsalted butter
- 90ml double cream
- If possible, soak 300g of urad daal in cold, salted water overnight. If you don’t have time to soak, pour the daal into a large bowl, cover with water and whisk for 10 seconds. Let the daal settle then pour out the water and repeat 3 or 4 times until the water runs clear.
- Tip the daal into a large saucepan (I used a 6 litre pan) and pour in at least 4 litres of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 hours, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface of the water. Keep the grains well covered, topping up with more boiling water as needed.
- Once the daal grains are soft, with the skins falling off and the white insides feeling creamy, not crumbly when you pinch a grain between your fingers, turn off the heat and let the pan sit for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix 12g of garlic paste (roughly 4 cloves), 10g of ginger paste (roughly 1 heaped tablespoon), 70g of tomato purée, 8g of fine sea salt, ⅔ teaspoon of chilli powder and ⅓ teaspoon of garam masala into a paste.
- Pour away the cooking water from the daal and top up with enough freshly boiled water to cover the daal by around 3-4cm. Bring to a boil then add the paste from the small bowl along with 90g of unsalted butter.
- Cook on a medium to high heat for 30 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure that the daal doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Turn the heat down low and simmer for 1-1½ hours, stirring as much as you can and adding more boiling water if the water level starts to reach the grains. The daal will eventually thicken and the original recipe advises that, “Creaminess must come from the grains disintegrating into the liquid and enriching it, not from the water being allowed to evaporate leaving only the grains behind”.
- When the daal is thick and creamy, add 90ml of double cream and cook for another 15 minutes before transferring to bowls. Serve with naan or chapatis.