Masala dal is flavorful, filling and easy enough to make on a weeknight!
You can probably tell by the name of this dish this instant pot masala dal is going to be really flavorful. Well, in addition to onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and spices – it’s also made using a combination of two different types of lentils: toor dal and chana dal. Toor dal melts right into the soup, making it a bit creamy. Chana dal keeps it’s shape, adds texture and has a really nice nutty flavor to it.
I don’t like to play favorites when it comes to recipes but… if I was going to choose my favorite dal here on the blog, it’d be a tie between my dal makhani and this masala dal, both equally good but in different ways. But um, try all of my dals because they’re all good. All my dals get a
The simplest nutritious meal: this dal + pea pulao or jeera rice or plain basmati rice. Look at me giving you three options for rice!
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. A dal for all feelings. A bowl of this soup 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 and then come back and tell me how much you love it. 🙂
- 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.
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