You can easily make this delicious dal makhani in an instant pot!
This popular Punjabi dal is so easy to make in an instant pot! Dal makhani is rich and creamy dal recipe that calls for a combination of lentils: whole lentils that maintain their texture and split lentils that melt together to form a creamy dal. Stir some ghee into the soup before serving to give it a rich buttery flavor and you’ve got the perfect bowl of soup.
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 (any combination of whole black lentils, whole mung beans, red lentils, red kidney beans, etc), soaked overnight
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil (I like avocado oil)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ghee, adjust to taste
- Cilantro, garnish
- Soak the lentils in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and once they start to brown, add the onion and bay leaf. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, spices and stir, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
- Add the lentils to the pot along with the 3 cups of water and mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Stir in the ghee and garnish with cilantro if desired.
- Feel free to add more ghee to this recipe! Ghee is what gives this dal its delicious buttery flavor. You can also add a bit of heavy cream if you prefer!
Like this recipe? Then check out my cookbook: Indian Food Under Pressure for more Indian Instant Pot Recipes!
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