This cozy pumpkin dal is perfect for fall! It’s savory, comforting, and effortless to make in an instant pot.
It’s mid-September, and I am already all about that pumpkin life. Not so much in the form of a PSL… I’m thinking more along the lines of pumpkin dal.
And this pumpkin dal just so happens to be really tasty and really easy to make! The two main ingredients: canned pumpkin (because of convenience) and red lentils. It’s spiced with mustard seeds, curry leaves, garam masala, and pumpkin pie spice!
This dal also calls for onion masala, a magical sauce that makes cooking flavorful Indian food so much faster.
What’s the deal with onion masala?
Are you a busy person? Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, or would you rather be doing something – anything – else? Do these questions sound like I’m trying to sell you something?
So here’s the thing. As a food blogger, I clearly love cooking. But even for me, leisurely cooking rarely happens these days. Most of the time, when I’m cooking – it’s because we all need to eat. When I have to prep dinner as fast as possible – while also taking care of two kids – I need pour and cook recipes. Onion masala makes that possible.
I grab some masala from the freezer (I freeze it in these silicone trays – each container is ¼ cup) and use it in a recipe like this pumpkin dal.
If you haven’t checked out my onion masala series, please do so… like, now. Leave this post, read about this magic sauce, and see what kind of recipes you can make with it.
So I have to tell you. My toddler really likes this dal, which is great because I’ve been making quite a bit of it lately. He finds it hilarious that there are “leaves” in the dal (curry leaves). He’ll pick them out, show them to me, and laugh as he eats them. It’s the best. If you have kids, I hope they like this dal too.
You can stir some baby spinach or baby kale into this lentil curry right before eating it for an even more nutrient-rich dish. Serve it with my jeera rice or pea pulao!
Want to try more savory pumpkin recipes?
- 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 serrano pepper slit in half but still intact
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils masoor dal, rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin
- ½ cup onion masala
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice adjust to taste
- Cayenne or red chili powder to taste
- Press the sauté button, add oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and serrano pepper to the pot. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure.
- Adjust salt to taste and add more liquid if you’d like a thinner dal. The dal will thicken as it cools so if you are reheating it, you may need to add more broth.
- feel free to add more pumpkin pie spice if you like the flavor!
- This recipe is part of my onion masala series – be sure to check it out!
- If you have frozen cubes of onion masala, just toss those in – no need to thaw them first.
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