by Olena

Instant Pot Dal

Olena Osipov
5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Dal with green or brown lentils simmered in bold aromatic broth, then balanced out by the creaminess of coconut milk for an unforgettable taste experience.

And yup, it’s vegan 30 minute one pot meal!

Instant Pot Dal

Instant Pot Lentil Curry

This Instant Pot dal or Lentil Curry, doesn’t matter cause it’s damn good, is unbelievably creamy!

Dal is traditionally simmered for a longer period of time until the beans, lentils, or peas (also known as pulses) have split and become tender. With pressure cooker dal you get these same spectacular results in just 30 minutes!

The bold and flavourful seasoning blend of garam masala along with coriander, cayenne, and chili powder give this vegan and gluten and free comfort food an unforgettable taste experience. The cooling effect of the creamy coconut milk brings a lovely balance to the entire dish.

Instant Pot Dal with yogurt and cilantro stirred in the pot

Ingredients for Instant Pot Dal

  • Onion, garlic and ginger: Chopped onion. Minced fresh garlic and ginger.
  • Seasonings: Garam masala, ground coriander, chili powder, salt, cayenne.
  • Liquids: Oil. Can use olive oil, coconut oil, or whatever you normally cook with. If you are OK with butter, you can use that too, keeping in mind it will no longer be vegan. Low sodium vegetable broth. Low sodium tomato paste. Coconut milk, either light or full fat.
  • Lentils: Green, brown, black or red lentils, rinsed, and drained. When you become a pro at making dal, you can branch out and use many other times of pulses (peas, beans, or lentils).
  • Optional accompaniments: Cilantro, naan or pita bread, and yogurt.

Instant Pot Dal served with pita on white plate

How to Make Instant Pot Dal

  • Prep: Press Saute on your Instant Pot and wait for it to display Hot.
  • Saute: Add the oil (or butter), onion, garlic, and ginger and saute. Stir occasionally.
  • Add: To the pot, add in garam masala, coriander, chili powder, salt, and cayenne and continue to saute, stirring occasionally. cooking Instant Pot Dal
  • Deglaze: Add in the broth to deglaze the pot. With a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Press Cancel.
  • Pressure: Pour in the lentils and stir. Close the lid, set valve to Sealing and Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 8 minutes. 10 minutes if you like your lentils very soft.
  • Release: Release the pressure right using Quick Release by turning the valve to Venting. cooked lentils and onions in instant pot
  • Thicken: Press saute once again and add the coconut milk and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 10 minutes. Keep uncovered and stir occasionally until dal has thickened. The smell is mouthwatering! cooked lentils, coconut milk and tomato paste inside instant pot
  • Serve: Serve immediately with optional garnishes and sides.

Instant Pot Lentil Curry with wooden spoon

Tips and Variations

  • Lentils: I like a bit of bite to my pulses, so I used green lentils at 8 minutes. If you like a more blended dal, try using red as they fall apart easily and become mushy. Black lentils will stay more intact and will have a heartier texture.
  • Consistency: Dal will thicken over time. If you are keeping warm for a long period of time or reheating the next day, add a bit more water or broth. Adjust consistency to your liking.
  • Substitutions: Instead of garam masala you can use curry powder. You can also combine 1 1/2 tsp of ground cumin and 1/2 tsp allspice. Again, dal is very customizable to your taste preferences!
  • Coconut milk: I added milk at the end vs. before cooking as an experiment and quite liked it. It added more  creaminess and thickness to the texture. Coconut milk has a soothing effect as well, for those occasions when you may be added too much spice!

Storing, Freezing and Reheating

Store: Dal will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Will make great leftovers for lunches and dinners throughout the week.

Freeze: Once fully cooked and cooled completely, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. If you have made a big batch, store in smaller batches and only thaw what you need.

Reheat: In a covered pot, simmer on low. Stir occasionally. You might need to add more water or broth to achieve your desired consistency.

More Lentil Recipes

Instant Pot Dal

Instant Pot Dal {30 Minute Lentil Curry}

Instant Pot Dal with green or brown lentils simmered in bold aromatic broth, then balanced out by the creaminess of coconut milk for an unforgettable taste experience. And yup, it's vegan 30 minute one pot meal!
5 from 2 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 199kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of cayenne to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 2 cups green brown, black or red lentils, rinsed & drained
  • 14 oz can coconut milk light or full fat
  • 3 oz tomato paste low sodium
  • Cilantro naan or pita bread and yogurt, for serving

Instructions

  • On Instant Pot, press Saute and wait until display says Hot.
  • Add oil or butter, onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add garam masala, coriander, chili powder, salt and cayenne. Saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add broth and deglaze the pot. Press Cancel.
  • Add lentils and stir. Close the lid, set valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 8 minutes. If you like very soft lentils, do 10 minutes.
  • After release pressure right away using Quick Release by turning valve to Venting.
  • Press Saute and add coconut milk and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 10 minutes uncovered and stirring occasionally. This is when dal will thicken.
  • Serve hot garnished with cilantro and naan bread or rice on a side.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

      Reheat: Simmer desired amount in small pot on a stovetop covered on low and stirring occasionally. You might have to add a bit more water or broth to dilute dal to your desired consistency.

        Notes

        • Lentils: I used green lentils and 8 minutes as I like a bit of a bite to my pulses. Black lentils will stay more intact and red will almost become a mush.
        • Consistency: Add more water or broth if using Keep Warm or next day as dal thickens. Generally, adjust consistency to your liking.
        • Garam masala substitute: Use curry powder entirely or combine 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin+1/2 tsp allspice.
        • Coconut milk after: I experimented and really liked adding coconut milk after pressure cooking. Stew comes out more creamy and milk doesn't separate.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1cup | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 538mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 559IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
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        olena osipov in the studio

        Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

        My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

        What You Will Find Here

        Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

        A Little More About Me

        Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

        4 comments on “Instant Pot Dal

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        1. 5 stars
          I love Dhal and used to order at the restaurant as I didn’t know how to cook it. This Instant Pot recipe is affordable, accessible, and very flavourful! This is one of my top vegetarian recipes.

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