Instant pot dal recipe for busy weeknight dinners. This flavorful dal with soaked pigeon peas and few simple ingredients is so easy make and quicker too using an electric pressure cooker. Make this ultimate Indian comfort food and enjoy with piping hot steamed rice. Vegan & gluten free!

PREP TIME 30 mins

COOK TIME 25 mins

COURSE Main Course



CALORIES 226 kcal

1 CUP = 250 ml


  • 1/2 cup split pigeon peas toor dal
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste or freshly minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric or turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 talespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi or 1/2 cup fresh methi leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


  • Pick, rinse and soak split pigeon peas or toor dal in plenty of water.
  • Place the insert or inner pot in your instant pot and switch it on.
  • Press the saute button. Once it displays hot add 2 tablespoons oil.
  • Add cumin seeds, minced ginger garlic, slit green chili and finely chopped onions.
  • Saute for 2 minutes until onions turn a bit soft.
  • Next in goes finely chopped tomatoes or tomato puree. I also added some fresh methi leaves. You can skip if you don’t have.
  • Add ground turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala powder and salt to taste. Mix well and saute for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are well cooked.
  • Add 1/2 cup water to de glaze and mix very well. Make sure nothing is stuck at the bottom of the pot. Let cook for minute
  • Next add soaked and drained split pigeon peas or toor dal. Mix well.
  • Add 2 cups water and mix well.
  • Cancel saute, close the instant pot and set pressure valve to seal. Press pressure cook button and set timer for 8 minutes.
  • Once done, let it sit for 5 minutes. Then release the remaining pressure.
  • Add 1/2 cup water if required to adjust consistency. Press saute again and cook for 2-3 minutes. Cancel saute. Unplug the instant pot.
  • Add cilantro leaves and lemon juice. Mix well.
  • Serve dal warm with rice, chopped onions and lemon wedges.

Stove Top Instructions

  • Soak, rinse and drain the pigeon peas or toor dal. Add the lentils to a pot and cover with enough water, a pinch of ground turmeric and salt. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are completely cooked. Drain excess water and mash the lentils well. Set aside.
  • While the lentils are cooking, you can make the masala base side by side.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add minced ginger garlic, onions, green chili. Saute well for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now add pureed tomatoes and spice powders. Mix well and cook till oil separates. Add the cooked lentils, mix well, adjust consistency by adding 3/4 cup water and mix wel. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from flame. Add cilantro leaves and lemon juice. Mix.


  • Though not mandatory like dried chickpeas, soaking split pigeon peas considerably reduces cooking time. Also soaked lentils cook and mash up very well. So if time permits do soak the lentils for 30 minutes.
  • After adding chopped tomatoes and spice powders saute them really well. Sauteing the spice powders in oil helps in releasing the flavors and also removes a raw taste.
  • To make creamy dal, make sure to cook the lentils really well and mash them with a masher if required after opening the pot.
  • This is a vegan dal recipe and I have used oil. If you prefer you can add ghee also. Ghee adds a wonderful flavor and rich taste to this dal.
  • Serve dal piping hot or warm over a bed of steamed basmati rice for perfect comforting meal. You can serve some pickled onions, mint chutney or potato roast in side.
  • The recipe can be doubled but make sure your instant pot can fit. Also increase the pressure cooking time by another 3-4 minutes.


Serving: 3gCalories: 226kcal