This rich and creamy Kerala dal is a simple and delicious recipe made with lentils cooked in flavorful spiced coconut milk. This instant pot Kerala parippu curry is basically a pour and cook recipe that takes minimal effort.
I want to call this recipe “the easiest dal recipe ever” because that’s honestly what it is. This is pretty much a dump and cook recipe that calls for only a handful of ingredients. This is the dal that I make when I don’t have time to do any prep work or have nothing planned for dinner. It has saved us from ordering takeout on many occasions (to my fast-food/pizza lovin’ husband’s dismay, lol).
What is Kerala Parippu?
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 served as part of the sadya, a vegetarian feast typically served on a banana leaf. You can make this dal any time, though, of course. It’s such an easy dal recipe that we eat it all the time.
If you’ve never had Kerala dal before, this is what you can expect: a rich and creamy and coconutty dal made with lentils that melt right into the soup.
Traditionally, this dal is made with freshly ground coconut paste, but my version calls for full-fat 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!
Make sure to serve this dal with a spoonful of ghee! Eat it with plain basmati rice, coconut rice, or matta rice.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.