This bowl of spiced yellow lentils is an everyday dal that can be made quickly and easily in an Instant Pot, especially if you have onion masala in your fridge or freezer.
This dal is so flavorful and comforting! Spiced yellow lentils make for a quick and easy dal recipe, perfect for a weeknight or when you don’t have much time to prepare dinner. As long as you’ve got yellow lentils (toor dal) in the pantry and onion masala in the fridge (or freezer) then you can prepare this in an Instant Pot in around thirty minutes, with the majority of that time being hands-off.
This recipe is part of my Indian Onion Masala Series where I share recipes that call for exact amounts of onion masala. Click on the graphic below to find out how to make onion masala, how to store it and to find other recipes that call for it.
The type of lentil used in this dal has many names but it is most commonly known as toor dal. In English, these lentils are known as split pigeon peas (yellow). This type of lentil is really popular in Indian cooking, used in both north and south India – but primarily south. It’s the lentil that’s known for being in sambar, a delicious south Indian tamarind vegetable stew (you can find my recipe for sambar in my cookbook, Indian Food Under Pressure).
This is what split pigeon peas aka toor dal looks like:
Because they are a split legume, they cook quickly and call for a short soak time. You can likely get away without soaking these lentils but if you’ve read my other dal posts then you know I always soak lentils because that’s the way I was taught and also because I have found it helps with digestion. To each their own 🙂
- Soak the lentils in cold water for 15-20 minutes. 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 serrano pepper to the pot. Once the cumin seeds brown, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
- 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)
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
- 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.
- This dal will thicken as it cools. When you warm up leftovers, you may need to add water or stock to thin it out on the stovetop.