Instant Pot Kerala Parippu Curry (Lentils in Coconut Curry)


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.

instant pot lentils in coconut curry (kerala parippu)

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 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!

If you’re wondering what to serve this dal with, try it with some rice, thoran, or avial.

Make sure to serve this dal with a spoonful of ghee! Eat it with plain basmati rice, coconut rice, or matta rice.

instant pot lentils in coconut curry (kerala parippu)

Instant Pot Kerala Parippu Curry (Lentils in Coconut Curry)

instant pot lentils in coconut curry (kerala parippu)

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!
5 from 16 reviews
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Cuisine Indian


  • 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.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

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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  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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