The perfect vegetable curry: Gaylord's dal makhani

Want to cook curries like a pro? Try this recipe, from old-school Indian restaurant Gaylord, for size

Dal makhani from Indian restaurant Gaylord

Serves 4-6

Preparation time 15 mins

Cooking time 30 mins

Cooking traditional Indian-style curries can be daunting, but having a well-stocked spice rack is half the battle. This recipe from Indian restaurant Gaylord – the name harks back to a legendary New Delhi restaurant from the 1940s, for those sniggering at the back – makes use of chickpeas, lentils (the dal) and butter (the makhani). See the recipe below.


  • ½ kg black lentils (kaali dal)
  • 200g split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3cm piece root ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 100g tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 sprigs fresh coriander
  • 100g butter
  • 100g single fresh cream


  1. Soak the lentils, split chickpeas overnight in plenty of water.
  2. Drain the soaked legumes and place in a pressure cooker. Cover with water by about an inch, but do not fill your cooker more than two thirds full.
  3. Cover and lock the pressure cooker and place over a high heat. When it starts to let out a steady stream of steam, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the cooker from the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally or using the quick release method on your cooker.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and cumin and cook and stir for 3 minutes, or till golden brown. Add the tomatoes and cook a further 2 minutes, then add the ground coriander, garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric and salt.
  5. Once the dal has finished cooking in the pressure cooker, remove the lid and add the onion-spice mixture to the dal. Place the uncovered cooker over medium high heat and simmer all together till thickened. Add the coriander leaves, butter and cream, then serve.

Locations in this article