These melt-in-your-mouth spiced lentils are so flavorful and easy to make. Try my recipe for instant pot masala dal just once and I know you will make it over and over again.
We have been having some rainy days here in Pittsburgh lately and it has me craving and making masala dal on repeat. This creamy spiced lentil soup is my go-to comfort food recipe year-round. It’s fresh and flavorful and perfect for when you’re feeling happy or sad. This is one of those foods that will lift you up or at least that’s the case for me. A bowl of this on a gloomy day makes me feel a little bit brighter and a bowl of this on a sunny day makes me feel good about myself too (for making the healthy choice to eat dal over… well, something else).
I love the combination of chana dal and toor dal, but you can make this recipe with a different type of split lentil if you want to change things up (try masoor dal or moong dal – check out this post on Indian legumes and lentils to learn more about them).
If you love this recipe, I hope you’ll check out my cookbook, Indian Food Under Pressure, for more delicious electric pressure cooker Indian recipes.
Now go make yourself a bowl of this dal 🙂
- ½ cup split chickpeas (chana dal), soaked for 1-2 hours – optional
- ½ cup split pigeon peas (toor dal), soaked for 1-2 hours – optional
- 4 tablespoons oil of choice
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper or green chili, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 ½ cups water
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- Soak the lentils in cold water for 1-2 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Press the sauté button, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds to the pot. Once the cumin seeds brown and the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the onion and Serrano pepper. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onions begin to brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until they completely break down.
- Add all of the spices except for the garam masala, stir, then add the lentils and water and mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 7 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure (or wait 15 minutes, then release remaining pressure).
- Stir in the garam masala and serve.