Aloo Dal Makhani

Because I derive such great joy from the bastardization of both the Indian language and cuisine–I present another in my series of madeup Indian dishes: Aloo Dal Makhani. It’s an attempt at a “standard” Dal (lentil) Makhani, but with Aloo (potatoes). It’s very rich and a little sweet.

Aloo Dal Makhani

I’m not sure what possessed me to base this on Vegan Dad’s Tofu Makhani recipe instead of something more authentic. Well, nix that. I am sure. I saw the picture on his site and almost gave myself a concussion from salivating too hard. I didn’t use tofu, because I don’t really like tofu in curries, and I wanted something a little more traditional. Like Vegan Dad, Indian food was my first love as a vegan, the first food that shocked me out of my usual Western palette.

This recipe did mark the first time I’ve used soy yogurt and cashew cream (my version, not Vegan Dad’s) in an Indian dish–and let me tell you, ’twas a revelation. This dish also doesn’t have any cumin! This is perhaps one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’d probably put cumin in beer. Or an open wound.

Aloo Dal Makhani

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup black lentils
  • 4 small-medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2/3 cup (or 1 single-serving) soy yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance ™
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds*
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream (you can substitute soy creamer or coconut milk, but it’s not as intensely awesome)
  • 4 .5 cups of water
  • salt, to taste

* we get almond meal at our local coop–it’s cheaper than buying whole almonds and less work

Melt the Earth Balance ™ in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in the onions and cook until they start to get soft. Add in the garlic, salt, all of the spices, the almonds, the yogurt, and finally 1/2 cup water. Stir it up! Mix in the tomatoes. Then add the lentils and potatoes, stirring well. Add in the remaining water, and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, cover it and cook over low-medium heat for about 30 minutes.

Once the potatoes and lentils are soft, add in half of the cilantro and the cashew cream. Simmer uncovered on low for another 10 – 15 minutes. Add in the remaining cilantro and serve over rice or couscous (we used couscous, cooked in veggie stock).

For some extra green action, we had this with savory green beans–which, strangely, complemented this perfectly.

Savory Green Beans

Savory Green Beans

  • green beans
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • Spike ™
  • almond slivers
  • rosemary olive oil (or regular, and a dash of ground rosemary)

Steam the green beans until they’re done the way you like them. Who am I to tell you how you like your beans? Toss in rosemary olive oil and add in the spices and almond slivers.



#1 Melisser on 10.07.09 at 4:49 pm

Ooh, this sounds delicious!

#2 Allison on 06.26.10 at 1:24 pm

Maybe a dumb question–how many does this serve?

#3 mark on 06.26.10 at 2:19 pm

Totally not a dumb question! I would guess 8, or maybe 6 really hungry people. It’s been a little while since I made it. It also depends on whether you’re serving it with anything else (i.e. what size you’d consider a serving). I think this made about 4 meals for 2 people, and we had a small side usually, if that helps.

#4 Paquita on 12.26.10 at 6:12 pm

I just discovered Anupy Singla’s “The Indian Slow Cooker” book which is mostly vegan or easily vegan adaptable and they are SIMPLE! She uses dried beans, unsoaked and most of the recipes you dump everything in at once and push the button. A couple have you cook the mustard seeds, etc…on the stove at the end but SO EASY!!
I have some of my totally NOVICE experience with slow cooker and Indian food written about at
But you might LOVE this book!! I stumbled upon it upon accident because I only look in the vegan book sections.

#5 mark on 01.04.11 at 12:09 pm

Hey Paquita, thanks for the head’s up. If what’s on your blog is any indication, Singla’s book must be pretty awesome.

We don’t cook from cookbooks that often, but I think for really good Indian food, that would probably be a great help. We also rarely slow cook, but maybe this would be a good excuse to fire up the ol’ slow cooker. We’re big into bulk dried beans (I totally recommend a pressure cooker if you don’t have one), so this would probably be right up our alley.


#6 Paquita on 01.04.11 at 8:56 pm

I NEVER slow cooked until I needed to order a part for my awesome pressure cooker! I cook for the dogs everyday in the pressure cooker! I ALMOST gave our slow cooker away but we didn’t because it was a gift from hubby’s mom. I also NEVER cook anymore!! As soon as I started eating lots of raw food, my hubby started cooking!! Good ploy for anyone else that wants their hubbies to cook also!! He makes awesome vegan not really junk, junk food. No recipes either! But this book is SO SO EASY!! And it’s so healthy, so really the old-school vegan, John Robbins, super cheap style. Not the packaged everything labeled “V” style (I love all V styles though!!). The book is really nice and IF I ever give up cooked food then it will also be super nice for me to make the dishes still and prepare raw stuff. The dishes are SO simple really. If you wanted to “complicate” the spices you could, but I think the recipes are great. The Dal Makhani, the Rajmah, and the Chana Masalas are all super. Oh, the awesome thing about the slow cooker is that it doesn’t obliterate your beans, so you are able to have them hold a shape, if so desired. Those pressure cooker books, the vegan ones, are great! I can’t remember the author!! I used to make those all the time. Now I used it for rice & beans for the hubby & the dogs. When I am trying to eat fruits and juice!! In my next lifetime I will be a raw foodist, in this one I think I am too bound to Rajmah!
Now I totally embrace both the slow cooker & the pressure cooker.
Love your site!! So fun!
and Singla’s website is
Super blend of Indian and American & great sense of style and humor. Laughter & Lightness, necessary these days!!!!

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