Instant pot dal tadka with step by step photos. Dal is a staple Indian lentil preparation made with spices and herbs. This instant pot dal tadka is a vegan recipe and can be made gluten-free by skipping asafoetida.
Dal is a staple at home and I make Them in different varieties. What I am sharing in this post, is a version that has been made for decades and is still being made. A family recipe and one which I make often. A comforting and nourishing dal recipe which I hope you enjoy as much as we do.
What does dal tadka mean
- Dal Is the hindi term for lentils.
- Tadka or chaunk is the hindi term for tempering and is a commonly employed technique in Indian cuisine.
- Tempering method has the spices & herbs fried in oil. The frying of the spices and herbs release their essential oils, aroma and flavor in the hot oil. Then this fried and spiced oil mixture is added to prepared lentils or cooked rice or steamed vegetables which greatly changes the flavor, aroma and taste of the dish. Tempering is very much a part of cooking Indian food. In fact we temper almost everything like dal, veggies, chutneys etc.
- Tuvar dal – generally dal tadka is made with tuvar dal or arhar dal also known as split pigeon pea lentils. In the post, I have shared the dal recipe made with tuvar dal.
- Moong dal – even moong lentils can be used to make the recipe. At times I make this recipe both with tuvar dal and moong dal. The recipe can also be made with a mix of masoor dal (red lentils) and pigeon pea lentils.
There are many variations of making dal tadka. This instant pot recipe is a home-style version. I have also shared the recipe of restaurant-style Dal tadka where charcoal is used to smoke the dal. This restaurant-style version tastes different than this home-style one and is a stovetop method.
After getting the instant pot, I have been making dal in it. I have stopped using the stove-top pressure cooker completely. Thus I have updated this post with the instant pot method. I have included the stovetop method in the recipe card.
At times I even cook the rice along with the dal. I usually serve instant pot dal tadka with roti (Indian flatbread) or steamed rice. So when making rice, I cook the rice and dal together in the IP.
Instant pot dal tadka is best served with some steamed basmati rice. You can also serve with chapati or roti or dinner rolls.
How to make instant pot dal tadka
1. Take ½ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils) in a bowl or colander.
2. Rinse a couple of times and add the rinsed dal in the instant pot steel insert.
3. Add ⅓ heaped cup sliced onions, ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes, 2 green chillies or serrano peppers (sliced, slit or chopped).
4. Add ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder and a pinch of asafoetida (hing).
5. Pour 1.5 cup water. Mix well.
6. Mix very well. At this step if you plan to cook rice, then place a tall trivet and add rice+water in a steaming pan. Place the pan on the trivet.
7. Switch on the IP. Secure the lid and position the steam release handle to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the timer for 15 minutes on high pressure.
Depending on the quality and age of lentils, it can take 10 to 15 minutes. I prefer the dal to be cooked really well and mushy without any separate grains visible, so I cook the lentils for 15 minutes.
At times I have even cooked the lentils for 20 minutes. So depending on the quality of dal, you can decide upon the timing. Anyways, even if the lentils are undercooked, you can always pressure cook for some more minutes later.
8. Give NPR (natural pressure release) after 10 minutes. Release the pressure after 10 minutes and open the IP lid. The lentils have to be cooked very well and become soft and mushy.
If the consistency of dal looks thick, then add some hot water to thin it. If dal looks thin, then use the sauté option and simmer dal for a few minutes.
9. With a spoon lightly mash the dal. If the dal looks thick, you can add some hot water.
10. Season with salt as per taste and stir very well. Cover the cooked dal with the IP lid and begin with the tempering
Preparing tempering (tadka)
11. In a small pan or tadka pan, heat 2 tablespoon oil. Keep the flame to low or medium-low. Add ½ teaspoon small mustard seeds.
12. Let the mustard seeds crackle.
13. Then add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
14. The cumin seeds will crackle as soon as you add them in oil. Let them change their color.
15. Then add 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed lightly with their peels on. You can also slice or chop the garlic. Fry for some seconds stirring often. The garlic can be a light golden but do not brown them or burn them.
16. Add 1 to 2 dry red chilies (broken and deseeded).
17. Add 9 to 10 curry leaves. fry for a few seconds till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.
18. Pour the entire tempering mixture in the dal.
19. Mix very well.
20. Lastly, add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
21. Stir and Serve instant pot dal tadka with steamed rice or roti. You can garnish with some coriander leaves while serving.
More instant pot recipes
The recipe is from the archives and has been updated to the instant pot version on 23 december 2019.
This post contains amazon affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
instant pot dal tadka
- ½ cup arhar dal or 100 grams arhar dal (tuvar dal or split pigeon pea lentils)
- ⅓ cup chopped onions or 1 small medium-sized onion or 50 grams onion - chopped or sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium-sized tomato or 65 grams tomatoes - chopped
- 1 to 2 green chillis or serrano peppers - sliced, slit or chopped
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional
- 1.5 cups water
- salt as required
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) - for garnish
- 2 tablespoon oil - ghee can be substituted in place of oil. use either sunflower or any neutral tasting oil
- ½ teaspoon small mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 to 5 medium-sized garlic cloves - sliced or chopped or crushed lightly with their peels on
- 1 sprig curry leaf or 9 to 10 curry leaves
- 1 to 2 dry red chilies - broken and deseeded
pressure cooking dal
- Take the lentils in a bowl or colander.
- Rinse a couple of times and add the rinsed dal in the ip steel insert.
- Add sliced onions, chopped tomatoes, green chilies (sliced, slit or chopped), turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a pinch of asafoetida.
- Pour water. Mix well. Secure the lid and position the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press the pressure cook button and set the timer for 15 minutes on high pressure.
- Give npr (natural pressure release) of 10 minutes.
- Release the pressure after 10 minutes and open the ip lid. The lentils have to be cooked very well and become soft and mushy. With a spoon lightly mash the dal mixture.
- If the dal looks thick, you can add some hot water.
- Then season with salt as per taste and mix.
- Cover the cooked dal with the ip lid and begin with the tempering.
- In a small pan or tadka pan, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds.
- Let the mustard seeds crackle. Then add the cumin seeds. The cumin seeds will also crackle and brown when you add them.
- Add 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed lightly with peels. You can also slice or chop the garlic. Fry for some seconds. Do not brown or burn the garlic.
- Add the dry red chilies (broken and deseeded), curry leaves. Fry till the red chillies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.
- Pour the entire tempering mixture in the dal. Mix very well.
- Lastly add chopped coriander leaves.
- Mix again and serve instant pot dal tadka with steamed rice or roti. You can garnish with some coriander leaves while serving.
- Depending on the quality and age of lentils, the cooking time can vary from 10 to 15 minutes. I prefer the dal to be cooked really well and mushy without any separate grains visible, so I cook the lentils for 15 minutes. Thus depending on the quality of dal, you can decide upon the timing. Even if the lentils are undercooked, you can always pressure cook for some more minutes later.
- Asaofoetida can be skipped.
- To make a spicy dal, add more green chillies.
- If the dal has a thick consistency, add some hot water to thin it.
- If the dal consistency looks thin, press the sauté button and simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the rinsed lentils, chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chilli powder in a 2-litre pressure cooker.
- Add 2 cups water.
- Pressure cook the dal for 8 to 9 whistles or 14 to 15 minutes. When the pressure comes down on its own, in the cooker, check the dal. The lentils have to be cooked very well and become soft and mushy.
- With a spoon lightly mash the dal mixture.
- Then add ½ to 1 cup water to the dal. You can add water as required depending on the consistency you want. For a thicker dal, add less water and for a thin dal, add slightly more water.
- Stir very well. Season with salt as per taste.
- Keep the dal on stove top and simmer for some minutes till you get the desired consistency. Do stir the dal at intervals so that the dal does not get browned or burnt from the base. Cover and keep aside.
- Later fry the spices and herbs in the oil and add to the dal.
- Add coriander leaves. Mix and serve.
- Soak the lentils for about 1 to 2 hours. Drain and rinse them well in water.
- In a deep pot, add 4 to 5 cups water added to the lentils. Add the rest of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Cover and cook the lentils.
- If the water begins to froth and bubble, then remove the lid or cover it partly and continue to cook the lentils till they become soft and creamy.
- If the water becomes less, then add some hot water. Once the lentils are cooked (takes from 45 mins to an hour or sometimes more. Depends on the quality of the lentils). Then follow the recipe further as mentioned above.