Instant Pot Dal. This is how to make a delicious dal in the instant pot. Loaded with red lentils, fresh tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and pantry spices, this is perfect for a healthy everyday lunch.
Forget soaking your red lentils, this is how to make an instant pot dal in record time and perfect for eating for lunch, freezing for another day, or for eating alongside other Indian mealtime staples.
Something you might not know about me, back in late 1998 at the age of 16, I worked in an Indian takeaway.
It was the first in our local seaside town and a town associated with Chinese takeaways, fish and chip shops and kebab takeaways, it gained instant popularity and was where people went after the pub on a Friday and Saturday night.
I worked there on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. It was the dream job because I could do my college work whilst it was quiet, I got fed delicious Indian food and they were lovely people to work with.
Early on they asked me what my favourite Indian food was, which I said was onion bhajis, but soon they introduced me to their own Indian favourites.
Not the overly creamy chicken korma that the Western world loves, but real Indian food.
It was my first enjoyment for lentils, and I remember trying something amazing with red lentils and tomatoes and asking what it was.
The owner told me it was everyday dal because in his Indian culture it was a staple and people ate it every day.
Once I had an instant pot, I was keen to transform my teenage favourite dish to the instant pot pressure cooker and this everyday dal for you to enjoy as much as you like.
Plus, as well as our free newsletter, we also have a free instant pot mini course. It is ideal for instant pot beginners or those that want to get more confident with their instant pot. The free course runs for 5 days with a new lesson delivered each day to your inbox.
Can You Cook Dal In Instant Pot?
Yes, you can. Cooking dal in the instant pot is such a great way to use red lentils in the instant pot.
Plus, you don’t need to soak the red lentils prior to making your dal, which will speed things up for you.
Instant Pot Dal With Red Lentils
What I love about red lentils is that they are fast cooking compared to green lentils. Whilst most green lentil instant pot recipes, will take at least 15 minutes, you can normally do a red lentils recipe in less than 5 minutes.
Something else to love about red lentils is that they cook so fast, that they will often dissolve into the food. This means that if you have a lentils hater in your family, you can add them to the food, like other people add hidden veggies.
You can see an example of this in our instant pot Thai red curry soup recipe.
How To Use Instant Pot For Dal?
You’re probably wondering “why use the instant pot for dal?” after all, you could be making dal on the stovetop or using another kitchen gadget.
Well, my opinion is always the same.
The instant pot cooks red lentils fast, you don’t have to soak your red lentils first and you can store the inner pot (the instant pot cooking pot) in the fridge for a couple of days as you get through your dal.
Or another reason why I love instant pot dal, is that I can sauté first and then pressure cook.
Easy Instant Pot Dal Ingredients
Lentils – Any dried red lentils will do the trick. But I find that they are better for reducing bloating if you go with an organic quality brand such as these that we use. Remember to cook red lentils in the instant pot, they are no soak and can go straight in.
Liquid – Its essential to have liquid to send the instant pot to pressure. You can opt for a vegetable broth or vegetable stock or keep it simple with water. I much prefer steamed red lentils in the instant pot with vegetable stock. The flavour is amazing and then they can be used for all kinds of recipes. Plus, when you make pressure cooked dal, you also have the juices from the tomatoes to bring it to pressure.
Tomatoes – I am a HUGE tomatoes fan, and it is one of the foods that I am going to miss the most, since living Portugal. You can use any tomatoes in your dal or keep it simple with salad tomatoes that you have cut into quarters.
Garlic – I love the taste of garlic in my food and this recipe uses both fresh garlic and fresh ginger. You can also swap it out for garlic puree and minced ginger to speed up your prep.
Seasoning – I love a mix of Indian flavours, but you can reduce the spices if you don’t like garam masala and other Indian classics as much as me.
Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this red lentils instant pot recipe, it has just been our instant pot pressure cooker. We have this one and its wonderful for instant pot dried beans and lentils, as well as for other instant pot classics.
How To Cook Dal In Instant Pot?
- Sauté. Add garlic, ginger, and onion into the instant pot and saute with some extra virgin olive oil.
- Prep. As the instant pot warms up, use this time to chop up your tomatoes, remove the cores and to get your tomato sauce ready.
- Sauté. Next add in your tomatoes and sauté until they start to soften, then use the tomato sauce to deglaze the instant pot.
- Dump. Load everything else into the instant pot and cook for 5 minutes on manual/pressure cook. Then once the pressure has been released, stir before serving.
Instant Pot Dal Cooking Time
The instant pot dal time is JUST 5 minutes.
It took me 5 minutes to prep my dal, then just 5 minutes to cook the dal.
No wonder in India, they call it the everyday dal.
You now have a healthy Indian dish that you can eat everyday also do in a meal prep batch for another day.
What I Do With Instant Pot Dal?
With my instant pot dal recipe, what I really like to do with it, is freeze it for later. I load it into my favourite freezer containers, label it and then place it into the freezer like this:
Then I will defrost my dal and serve it with some brown rice for a quick family meal.
More Amazing Instant Pot Lentils Inspiration
If you are looking for more ways to enjoy lentils in the instant pot, I have your back and here are a few of my other favourites:
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Green Lentils
- Air Fryer Vegan Lentil Burgers (using instant pot green lentils)
- Instant Pot Thai vegetable curry soup
Instant Pot Dal
- Peel and dice your onion, peel, and thinly slice your garlic. Load garlic, onion, and ginger into the instant pot and sauté with extra virgin olive oil.
- As it heats up use this time to chop your tomatoes into cubes and remove the cores. Load tomatoes into the instant pot along with the spices and cook until softened. Then use the tomato juice to deglaze the instant pot.
- Add everything else and make sure the red lentils are well covered. Place the lid on the instant pot, set the valve to sealing and cook for 5 minutes on manual before doing a quick pressure release.
- When the instant pot is done releasing pressure, stir with a wooden spoon before serving.