I’m sharing a delicious recipe with you guys today! It’s for dal makhani made in an Instant Pot! It calls for lentils. You might be wondering why a mostly paleo blogger would do such a crazy thing like use lentils in a recipe. But here’s the
dal deal: not all of my readers follow the paleo diet. Some are vegetarians (shoutout to my bro!) and some are just Indian food lovers looking for authentic, easy-to-make Indian recipes.
I haven’t been able to make dal makhani sans legumes… because um, the entire dish is made of legumes. Maybe some day… but for now, if you can’t have lentils but want something similar to this, then try my mulligatawny soup. And if you’re mad at me for sharing a recipe that calls for legumes, visit my recipe index and click “paleo” for recipes that do follow strict paleo guidelines.
Now that I’ve said all of that, let’s talk about dal, baby.
I’ve been eating dal makhani for as long as I can remember. I was a pretty picky eater as a kid but when it came to eating those buttery lentils – I was always on board. One of my favorite meals: dal makhani, roti, spicy achar (pickle) and dahi (yogurt). So simple but so tasty. Just thinking about that meal makes me nostalgic.
Speaking of nostalgia, that’s pretty much the whole reason I’m even sharing this recipe. My mom makes the best dal makhani and right after I got married, she made sure to share her recipe with me. By her recipe I mean, “Ash, just use a pinch of this, a handful of that and a few scoops of this.” In the past, her directions would overwhelm me… but now I think I’ve got the hang of converting “mom’s measurements” to actual measurements (#IndianGirlProblems). Even though mom’s cooking is always the best, I have to say this dal makhani is absolutely spot on – or “on fleek” if you’re a millennial like me (even though I feel super awkward and a bit too old using that phrase IRL). The best part is, you can make this in your handy dandy Instant Pot – a magical electronic pressure cooker that’ll have the dal done in no time at all. Trust me, this dal is restaurant-quality for sure.
- 1 cup whole and split lentils (I used a combination of whole black lentils, whole mung beans, red lentils), soaked in water overnight
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ inch ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne, adjust to heat preference
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ghee or grassfed butter, add more according to taste
- Cilantro leaves, optional
- Soak the lentils in water for 24-48 hours. Drain.
- Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and add the oil and cumin seeds.
- Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the onion and bay leaf.
- After 8-10 minutes or when the onions begin to turn golden, add the garlic, ginger and spices. Stir briefly, then add the tomatoes.
- Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
- Add the drained lentils to the pot along with the 3 cups of water.
- Mix well, cover and lock the lid. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot, then press the “Bean/Chili” button to begin the pressure cooking. It will automatically be set for 30 minutes. Make sure the steam valve is closed.
- Once the stew is done, the Instant Pot will automatically switch to the “Keep Warm” mode. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Open the pot, stir in the ghee and garnish with cilantro.
Looking for more Instant Pot Recipes? Try these:
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Instant Pot Saag
Instant Pot Carne Guisada
Instant Pot Habanero Chili
Goat Curry in a Hurry
Instant Pot Texas Beef Chili
Instant Pot Ground Lamb Curry
Instant Pot Butter Chicken