Instant Pot Coconut Dal (Kerala Parippu Curry)

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A rich and creamy coconut dal that’ll have you loving lentils. We are cooking yellow lentils in flavorful, spiced coconut milk – and it only takes minutes to make! Top with a drizzle of ghee or butter for a decadent, comforting bowl of dal.

Coconut Dal

Coconut dal is rich, creamy, and takes minutes to make – it’s my go-to dal on days when I want something filling and comforting without the fuss.​

It’s essentially a Pour-and-Cook Recipe that calls for a handful of ingredients. This is what I make when I don’t have time to prep ingredients or when I have nothing planned for dinner. It has saved us from ordering takeout on many occasions (to my fast-food lovin’ husband’s dismay).

What is Kerala Parippu Curry?

If you’ve never had Kerala dal before, you can expect a rich, creamy, coconutty dal made with lentils that melt right into the soup.

This rich and creamy Kerala-style parippu (another word for “dal”) is a must during special occasions or festivals. It is one of the main dishes served during Onam, a harvest festival celebrated by people of all religions in Kerala.  This dal (along with Avial) is always prepared as part of the sadya, a vegetarian feast typically eaten on a banana leaf. No need to wait for a festival to make this – we eat it all the time!

“Ashley, I made this two days ago. I’ve been blown away by all your recipes but this one is now my favorite. It has that South Indian flavor and aroma that reminds me of my friends in Andhra Pradesh whom I haven’t been able to visit in forever. Thank you for sharing both north and south recipes of the finest cuisine in the world!”

Russ
Coconut Dal

“Beautiful recipe, Ashley! I have your cookbook and made this and paired it with the coconut rice recipe in the book as well. Deeeelish! I highly recommend your cookbook to everyone!”

Maneesha

Coconut Dal Ingredients

Traditionally, this dal is made with freshly ground coconut paste, but my version calls for full-fat canned coconut milk. Using coconut milk makes this dish even easier to make. I’ve tried the dal with the coconut paste, but I honestly prefer the ease and smoothness of rich, full-fat coconut milk. You can use either toor dal or yellow moong dal to make this recipe. Try both and tell me which you prefer!

  • Toor Dal: also known as split pigeon peas. You can also use yellow moong dal if you prefer.
  • Coconut Oil
  • Black Mustard Seeds
  • Curry Leaves
  • Serrano Pepper: or another type of green chili
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk: full-fat
  • Spices: salt, ground cumin, turmeric
  • Ghee: optional, nice touch when serving
Coconut Dal (Kerala Parippu Curry) Ingredients

How to Make Coconut Dal

Press the sauté button, and add the coconut oil to the pot. Once the coconut oil melts, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chili. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients and pressure cook.

Once it’s done, give it a bit of time to cool down – it’ll look thin at first, but after a few minutes it’ll thicken up quite a bit.

How to Make Coconut Dal (Kerala Parippu Curry)
Instant Pot Coconut Dal (Kerala Parippu Curry)

What to Serve with Coconut dal:

Make sure to top this dal with a spoonful of ghee! Eat it with:

Instant Pot Kerala Parippu Curry (Lentils in Coconut Curry)

Coconut Dal (Kerala Parippu Curry)

Instant Pot Kerala Parippu Curry (Lentils in Coconut Curry)

This rich and creamy Kerala-style parippu (another word for “dal”) is one of the main dishes served during Onam, a harvest festival celebrated by people of all religions in the state of Kerala. It’s a simple and flavorful recipe made with coconut milk. Serve this dal with ghee drizzled on top!
4.92 from 24 reviews
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Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup split pigeon peas toor dal OR small yellow lentils (moong dal), rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 30 curry leaves
  • ½ – 1 Serrano pepper or green chili minced, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 13.5 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Ghee for serving

Instructions
 

  • Press the sauté button, add the coconut oil to the pot. Once the coconut oil melts, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chili to the pot. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure (or wait 10 minutes then release pressure).
  • Give this dal time to cool down; it will look thin upon opening the lid, however, after a few minutes it will thicken quite a bit. Drizzle ghee on top before serving (if desired).

Notes

  • You can make this recipe with either toor dal or moong dal – they have slightly different flavors but are both delicious! 
  • I updated this recipe (October 2020) so that it calls for rinsing the toor dal rather than soaking it first. My previous recipe called for soaking the dal for 2 hours, however, I no longer find this necessary for this type of dal. You can still soak the dal if you prefer to do so.
  • This dal will thicken the longer it sits so feel free to stir in a bit more water when reheating if needed.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

  1. Dana Chandarana says

    5 stars
    Omg! Omg! Omg! My Indian husband born and raised in India but having lived in the US for 40 years said he hadn’t tasted this in 4 decades. Loved it! So easy. So fast. So delicious!

  2. Russ says

    5 stars
    Ashley, I made this two days ago. I’ve been blown away by all your recipes but this one is now my favorite. It has that South Indian flavor and aroma that reminds me of my friends in Andhra Pradesh whom I haven’t been able to visit in forever. Thank you for sharing both north and south recipes of the finest cuisine in the world!

  3. Ferzana says

    4 stars
    Hi Ashley! I dont have an instant pot. How would I adjust the method then if I’m cooking in a normal pot over a stove?

    I’m keen to try this tonight with some paratha

  4. RevW says

    4 stars
    Many of us DO NOT HAVE Instant Pots. Please include directions for ordinary stove top preparation for all of the recipes. I like your recipes, but if I have to take the time to convert from Instant Pot directions I just look up the recipe name somewhere else.

  5. HP says

    Hi, Ashley. If I use dried curry leaves, would I make any changes or use them just like fresh? Thank you!

  6. Charissa says

    Hello Ashley, this looks amazing. I have a question, could you make it on the stovetop instead? If so, would you modify it at all?

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Charissa, I’m sure you can make this on the stovetop – I’d use a dutch oven. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to cook, but I’d probably check on it occasionally and add water as needed since the liquid will boil off on the stovetop.

  7. Archana says

    Hi – I love your recipes! When I follow them, I always double or triple your recipes so I have quantity for a few days for my family. But I haven’t cooked in a long time. If I want to triple the recipe, do I add triple the ingredients including the water or just all the ingredients besides the water. I’m hoping you are online, because I am about to start cooking. 🙂

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Archana, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, did you end up tripling this recipe? I haven’t tried tripling this dal, but I would triple all ingredients and keep the cook time the same. If you feel the water is too much to start, you can always add less up front and then add more at the end to thin it out if needed.

      • Archana says

        5 stars
        Hi Ashley – I actually chickened out and made 3 separate batches with exactly the recipe’s directions. I figured that was safest. And it came out beautifully!!! Really tasty. Next time though, I am going to double it and take your advice. Thank you again for making life so much easier for us folks who don’t have the golden touch when it comes to cooking. I feel so much less frazzled now having to cook because your recipes for the Instapot are a game changer!

  8. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Beautiful recipe, Ashley! I have your cookbook and made this and paired it with the coconut rice recipe in the book as well. Deeeelish! I highly recommend your cookbook to everyone!

  9. Marianne says

    I love how this tasted but if using toor dal you DEFINITELY needed to soak it! Tasty but caused a lot of tootin’ in our household.

  10. Leora says

    5 stars
    Amazing! My childhood friend was Malayali and her mom would always make this dal with double boiled rice, and I loved it but had no idea of what it was called. It was so different from the dal my Maharashtrian family would make, but so scrumptious. I made this with Matta rice (following your recipe in the instant pot) and it tastes exactly like I remember. Thank you!!!

  11. kunjumary kolathu says

    Ashley, this is an effortless tasty recipe without the hastle of grinding coconut. I will try this pumpkin too. I m sure this is going to our staple, family loved it.You have great library of instapot Kerala recipes which is a saving grace for me.
    Keep doing what you are doing.

  12. Tanuka says

    5 stars
    I loved this recipe Ashley! Followed it to the T. Never had a dal like this before- it’s one of my favorites from you now. Am going to freeze curry leaves so I have some on stock always. Also, thank you SO MUCH for your onion masala series- such a game changer!

  13. Sara J Bergen says

    5 stars
    This is amazing. I followed the recipe exactly and I cannot believe how buttery it tastes with no butter–must be the moong dal. More Kerala recipes please!

  14. Jyoti says

    I find Mung dal cooks faster than Toor dal – do you still recommend a 10 minute cook time for Mung dal? I have never liked a mushy dal…thank you!

  15. Zhenya says

    5 stars
    I made this dal last night using red hot chili because I didn’t have any green ones. I love any dal but this one is out of this world delicious, best I ever had and simplest to make! I woke up craving the leftovers. Thank you, Ashley! And red chili made it look kind of festive:)
    P.S. When I first open the pot, I thought I messed up the ratio when I doubled the recipe because it appeared a lot thinner than I expected. But it thickened up within minutes , absolutely perfect!

  16. Hulya says

    5 stars
    I tried this and love the taste. But it ended up being too thick in the end, i had to add more water and stir to bring it to reasonable consistency. Any advice on how to deal with this or what went wrong? But I love it, so easy to make and comforting taste.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Hulya! What you did is perfect – dal thickens as it sits especially toor dal so just add water at the end to get it to the consistency you prefer! You’ll definitely need to do this if you eat it the next day as well.

  17. Sam says

    5 stars
    Simple & delicious. Best daal I’ve had. A bit runny but I soaked Toor daal overnight so it may have absorbed more water?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Sam, I’m so happy to hear that you liked it! Yes it likely absorbed water if you left it overnight – toor dal doesn’t need to be soaked for that long. But no worries – the leftovers will thicken up! I typically have to add more water the next day to thin it out – you may not need to 🙂

  18. chris says

    5 stars
    Very quick and delicious! I made this with avial and both turned out wonderful! Thank you! On a side note— do you have an idili recipe? If it’s it one of your books which one?

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