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Red Lentil Dal (Instant Pot Recipe)

Red Lentil Dal (Instant Pot Recipe)

Red Lentil Dal – Instant Pot

Red Lentil Dal is a washed and split Masoor Dal. It is a rich, healthy lentil packed with protein and serves as a great side dish for a meal. You can also serve this as a comforting lentil soup. This is an easy dish to make.
I am in my seventies and surprisingly I had never cooked or tasted this lentil. About a month back we had dinner with our friend, where she served this red lentil for dinner. We loved it. I asked her how she cooked this dal. It tasted so good! After finding out which lentil she had used, I was genuinely surprised. I questioned myself: why haven’t I been cooking it? I see this red lentil in an Indian grocery store all the time but never thought I should try it. My friend, like me, was surprised when she found out that this was my first time trying this dal. She suggested this lentil for Alex (my husband) and explained that it will be good for him since it is easy to digest.
After that dinner, I have made this dal many times. It is an easy, simple recipe and it tastes delicious. I serve this dal with roti, rice, and one dry vegetable (e.g. aloo methi). I thought I should share this recipe because now this dal has become a staple dish for us.
Recently I have been using an instant pot instead of a pressure-cooker. It takes the same time as the pressure cooker, but the advantage is that you don’t have to watch over it when it starts steaming or when it is time to turn off. You can take care of other things in the meantime.
This recipe will serve 3.
4.29 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Indian


  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • tsp asafetida
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 Tbsp thinly sliced ginger
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cup water


  • Wash lentils changing water few times.
  • I am using instant pot to make dal. Use the instant pot on sauté mode and add oil. After oil is moderately hot add cumin seeds, and mustard seeds, after the seeds crack, add asafetida, whole red chili and ginger stir for about a minute. Now take out the ginger and red chilies from oil and keep aside. We will use this later for garnishing.
  • Next add tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Cook and stir until tomatoes are soft.
  • Add dal and water, stir, and close the instant pot. Change the instant pot setting to pressure cooker mode. Cook for 14 minutes.
  • Dal is done it should be soft. If needed add more water, dal should not be very thick. Dal will thicken as it sits. Make it more liquid than you want it to be.
  • Take dal out in serving bowl and garnish with ginger and red chilies.
  • Serve hot.
Keyword Dal Fry, Diabetic, Gravy, Hare Krishna, Healthy, High Protein, Homemade, Jain Food, Low Cholesterol, Low Fat, No Garlic, No Onion, Roti, Sattvic Food, Split Lentil, Split Masoor, Swami Narayan Food, Temple Food, Vaishnava Food
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13 thoughts on “Red Lentil Dal (Instant Pot Recipe)

  1. I’ve made this a few times now but on the stove top. It’s handy and economical especially as garlic and onions are not an ingredient. Sometimes, I add a little black bean sauce or miso or soy. It tastes even better the next day. Thank you.

  2. Really very nice, thank you! I also made on stove-top and gave it 40 minutes. Added some spinach in last 5 minutes of cooking because I needed to use it up. This dal is very tasty, with a pleasant heat and savory flavor.

    1. I also wanted to say that I love your recipes, but this may be far and away my favorite, it has become my go-to comfort food. if anyone is wondering, it freezes well and is just as good thawed and reheated.

  3. Red lentil is a staple dish in any Bengali home. We cook it in so many unique ways and they go really well with white rice and roti/ naan. Thanks for your version of the daal.

  4. We loved this! When I first learned to cook any sort of middle eastern food, the recipes I learned used red lentils, but I moved away from them because I didn’t find them super flavourful. But this recipe is beautiful, and the mustard seed is just perfect. This is definitely going in to my regular rotation!

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