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Dairy-Free Dal Makhani

Hello, World! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged anything. Having a baby tends to do that. Having a baby also tends to make it hard to make proper meals, especially during the day when Husband is at work. As such, things that are quick to throw together or re-heat are essential. Lately, my cooking has focused on such things otherwise I’ll eat KIND bars all day and that’s just not good.

I love love LOVE Indian food, especially murgh makhani (butter chicken), but don’t eat it much because of all the dairy they use. I’ve never had success cooking it myself, but recently have come across an excellent blog called My Heart Beets. The author is Indian herself, and makes paleo-style meals. Her curry recipes are TO DO FOR. Her butter chicken recipe — of which this is based — is seriously as good or even better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant. And I’m a snob about my Indian food.

This recipe uses full fat coconut milk instead of cream, but it really truly doesn’t taste coconut-y. You can use grilled chicken (just add to the sauce and simmer for 1o minutes). Here I’m using dal because even though legumes aren’t paleo, I just love them. Kashmiri pepper might be a little hard to find, but definitely use it if possible — it really makes a huge difference. I order it from Season With Spice, but you can find it in Indian food stores too. And if you can’t, paprika with a little cayenne will be OK.

Paleo Modification: omit the beans and use grilled chicken. Whole30 friendly.

Dairy-free Dal Makhani

Dairy-free, paleo-friendly dal makhani curry from Super Natural Nutrition


1 C dry urad dal

2 T ghee or butter
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves minced garlic (I cheat and use Spice World Squeeze Minced Garlic)
1T minced ginger (I cheat and use Ginger People Minced Ginger)
15 oz can tomato sauce (Recommend: Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce)
15 oz can full-fat coconut milk (Recommend: Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk)
A big pinch of dried fenugreek
15 oz can kidney beans
Fresh cilantro, to taste

Spice Blend:

1.5 t garam masala
1.5 t ground coriander
0.5 t ground cumin
0.5 t curry powder
1 t smoked paprika
1 t kashmiri pepper


  1. Soak the urad dal in a bowl of water over night. Drain, and simmer in a pan of water until cooked, about 45 min to an hour. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add ghee and onions, and cook until onions are nice and brown (caramelized, not burned), stirring every minute or so. When they are nearly done, add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the spice blend and stir well. Cook for about a minute. Add 1/4 C water to deglaze the pan. Make sure to scrape up all the yummy spices that got stuck to the bottom.
  4. Add tomato sauce and coconut milk. Stir very well. Add fenugreek and stir. Add urad dal and drained kidney beans.
  5. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve.

You can serve with aloo gohbi or basmati rice, but I actually like this on it’s own — the beans have a good amount of protein and carbs, so it’s a well balance meal on it’s own.

Many, many thanks to My Heart Beets for the excellent recipe this is based on!



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