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Instant Pot Dal Tadka – Indian Creamy Lentil Dahl

Creamy Lentil Dahl also known as Dal Tadka is popular Indian yellow lentil curry. This wholesome, comforting lentil recipe is vegan and gluten free . It is easy to make in Instant Pot or stove top pressure cooker.

Learn how to make restaurant style Dal Tadka at home. This satisfying dhal is budget friendly and inexpensive curry to make in your own kitchen. This Indian soul food recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners similar to Rajma Curry , Chana Masala or Punjabi Kadhi Pakora.

Close up image of dinner container full of dal tadka.

Pantry Ingredients Recipe

This recipe is on our routine weekly menu planning. It uses all pantry ingredients. The golden hues of turmeric, subtle spice mix and creamy delicious texture of cooked dal. This is comfort food classic.

This wholesome and nutritious dahl recipe is loaded with plant protein and fiber. It also freezes well so you can make a big batch and take care lunch preps along the way.

What is Dal Tadka

Creamy Lentil dahl is prepared by cooking split yellow lentils with popular Indian herbs and spices. To enhance the flavors, creamy and smooth dal is tempered with warm oil.

Dal Tadka is also called dal fry. You often see it spelled Dhal, daal or dal. Dal is common term used for dried and split pulses. Most popular pulses are mung dal, masoor dal and toor dal or arhar dal. With variety of seasoning options, you can make several different meals.

Spiced Indian Lentil Curry

You will love this Dahl Tadka recipe because

  • It is easy, budget friendly and wholesome meal.
  • It is vegan, gluten free, soy free recipe.
  • You can use this recipe for weeknight meals and lunch preps.
  • It is nutritious meal full of plant protein and fiber.

Classic Comfort Food

Rice and Dal is a classic dinner combination across Indian nation. Using Pot in Pot in pressure cooker, you can make this scrumptious meal in 30 mins. And as added bonus, most of these 30 mins are hands off as Instant Pot is doing it’s job.

Traditionally, this dish is made using the lentil or dal most commonly known as Toor dal (Arhar Dal). In English, these lentils are known as split pigeon peas. You can also make this recipe using Masoor Dal ( Red Lentils)

Lentils are really popular in Indian cooking, used in both north and south India. You can make this Vegan Lentil Curry using any lentils that are easily available. Dal Makhani and Dal Palak or Spinach Dal are my other favorite lentil curries. 

I prefer to use 1/2 cup of each toor and moong dal. These lentils cook easily so not much pre-soaking is required. Just rinse them well under cold water and drain excess water before cooking.

What is Tadka – Indian Cooking technique of oil tempering

The term ‘ tadka or tarka ‘ simply means warm spiced oil. The tempered oil adds zestful of flavors to anything you add it to. No dish will ever be boring if you add sizzling tadka to it.

There are several herbs and spices that go in making tempered oil . Most common ones are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida, curry leaves and turmeric powder. You can add all or skip few if you don’t have them handy. You can also add more veggies besides onion and tomato if you so prefer.

Serving Suggestion :

Serve this simple dal tadka with a side of plain white or brown basmati rice. To make it look and feel fancy, add some exotic spices like Star Anis or Green Cardamom to the rice while its cooking.

You can also eat it with naan, roti or bread. I often a make a delightful Indian platter of dal, rice, roti with a side of Tomato chutney or  Flaxseed Garlic Chutney, or pickles like Carrot Ginger Pickle or Sweet lemon pickle

Close up image of dinner container full of dal tadka.

INGREDIENTS

Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s what goes into this scrumptious curry.
1/2 cup each Toor dal and Moong dal-rinsed and water drained
2-1/2 cups water

For the Seasoning:
Cooking Oil,
Chopped Onions and tomatoes, Minced garlic and ginger, fresh curry leaves (optional), cilantro finely chopped
Herbs: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafetida ( optional) Turmeric Powder, red pepper powder, Garam Masala,

For optional oil tempering on top as shown in the picture
cooking oil, 2 whole dry red chili, red chili powder

Display of ingredients to make Indian dal recipe.

If you want to make rice along with lentils, use1 cup Basmati Rice . Add 1.5 cup of water for fluffier rice and 2 cups of water for mushy rice.

HOW TO MAKE DAL TADKA – CREAMY LENTIL DAHL IN INSTANT POT

Wash , rinse and drain water from both the dals.

Start the Instant Pot on Sauté Mode. Once heated, add oil in main pot . Once oil feels hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. Add asafetida, curry leaves, ginger and garlic. Stir few times to mix all the seasoning.

Add chopped onions and tomatoes. Stir few times. Add rinsed dals. Add red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala powder. Check the taste to adjust the seasoning. Add water and stir well.

Put the tall trivet in the main pot. Add the water in rinsed rice container and put the rice container on the trivet. I try to use the instatpot space to the max.

Cancel sauté function. Close the lid. Vent on Sealing position. Choose Rice mode.Let Instant Pot do the cooking and let it beep when done. Wait for 10 mins on the warm count and then do NPR.

Instantpot Dal Tadka made and ready to serve.

Carefully remove the rice container and trivet. Stir the cooked dal well. If you feel it’s too thick, add some water and check the seasoning. The dal should be like a thick consistency.

Fluff the cooked rice gently with fork . Enjoy warm.

You can add side of pickle, cut onion or quick salad to make it complete square meal.

HOW TO MAKE ADDITIONAL SEASONING TADKA:

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Once heated, add the red chilies and chili powder . Let it sizzle for few seconds. ( you can add chopped garlic or green chilies too for extra flavoring)

Pour the seasoning over dal. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Dal fry and rice is ready. Enjoy warm! 

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copper container full of spicy lentil curry dahl seasoned with red chili oil.

Instant Pot Dal Tadka - Creamy Lentil Dahl

Yield: 4 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Indian Dal Tadka is creamy lentil curry. This wholesome comforting lentil recipe is easy, vegan, gluten free . Easy to make in Instant Pot or stove top pressure cooker.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup each Toor dal and Moong dal-rinsed and water drained
  • 2-1/2 cups water

Seasoning:

To make pot in pot rice

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice And 1.5 cup of water 

For additional garnish of flavored oil as shown in the picture

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 whole dry red chilis
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Wash , rinse and drain both the dals in water.
  2. Start the Instant Pot on Sauté Mode. Once heated, add oil in main pot . Add cumin and mustard seeds. Add asafetida, curry leaves, ginger and garlic. Stir few times to mix all the seasoning.
  3. Add chopped onions and tomatoes. Stir few times. Add rinsed dals. Add red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala powder. Check the taste to adjust the seasoning. Add water and stir well.
  4. Put the tall trivet in the main pot. Add the water in rinsed rice container and put the rice container on the trivet. I try to use the instat pot space to the max.
  5. Cancel sauté function. Close the lid. Vent on Sealing position. Choose Rice mode.
  6. Let IP do the cooking and let it beep when done. Wait for 10 mins on the warm count and then do NPR.
  7. Carefully remove the rice container and trivet. Stir the cooked dal well. If you feel it’s too thick, add some water and check the seasoning. The dal should be like a thick soup consistency.
  8. Fluff the cooked rice gently with fork .

Additional Oil Tempering on top : Optional

  1. Heat the oil/ ghee in a saucepan. Once heated, add the red chilies and chili powder . Let it sizzle for few seconds. ( you can add chopped garlic or green chilies too for extra flavoring)
  2. Pour the seasoning over prepared dal. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Stove top and pressure cooker Instructions :

Put the pressure cooker on medium high heat. Add One cup of water in main pot.

In a separate pan, heat oil on medium heat. Once heated, add oil in main pot . Once oil feels hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. Add asafetida, curry leaves, ginger and garlic. Stir few times to mix all the seasoning.

Add chopped onions and tomatoes. Stir few times. Add rinsed dals. Add red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala powder. Check the taste to adjust the seasoning. Move the ingredients in the pressure cooker pot . Put the pot in main pot. Add water and stir well. Close the lid and increase the heat to high.

When the pressure cooker starts to steam, turn the heat down to medium and cook for five minutes or three whistles.

Turn off the heat and wait until all the steam has escaped before opening the pressure cooker. Dal should be soft. If needed add more water, dal should be consistency of thick soup.

Once cooked, Stir the cooked dal well. If you feel it's too thick, add some water and check the seasoning. The dal should be like a thick consistency. Fluff the cooked rice gently with fork . Enjoy warm.

Notes

* For Pot In Pot Rice-Wash and rinse 1 cup Basmati Rice . Add 1.5 cup of water for fluffier rice and 2 cups of water for mushy rice

If you don't have curry leaves available, use 1 bay leaf.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 33mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 8gSugar: 6gProtein: 17g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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Sandhya

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Simple, healthy and delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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