One of our favorite meatless Indian dishes, this Masoor Dal is so incredibly flavor-packed, we’re confident you’ll love it as much as we do! These Indian spiced lentils can be enjoyed any time of the year. This Instant Pot Masoor Dal recipe comes together in minutes in the Instant Pot and before you know it you’ll be sitting down to a wonderfully satisfying and delicious meal!
Masoor Dal is a very traditional Indian dish that features red lentils. Lentils are a staple throughout India and particularly in those regions that are predominantly vegetarian. Lentils are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals and as another bonus, they don’t require pre-soaking and cook very quickly.
This classic Indian red lentil dish is quick to prepare, especially in the Instant Pot. You briefly cook the whole spices in oil to bring out their flavors, cook the onions, garlic and ginger, then add the remaining ingredients and let the Instant Pot do its thing. Dinner is ready in no time!
Red lentils can be found in a few varieties and they come split. Unlike green/brown lentils that retain their color and shape while cooking, red lentils turn yellow and they disintegrate completely, making for a thickened “creamy” textured dish. You can find red lentils in many well-stocked grocery stores (sometimes they’re in the health food or bulk food sections) and you can also find them here on Amazon.
Among the fragrant spices and ingredients in this dish is one you may not have used or heard of before unless you cook a lot of authentic Indian: Asafoetida. It contributes a great deal of flavor to the dish but also has the added benefit of aiding in digestion and curbing…ahem…flatulence from the lentils. A small bottle of asafoetida will last a very long time.
Masoor dal is naturally gluten free and for a vegetarian/vegan version use vegetable broth.
Serve this Masoor Dal on its own, with some naan (it’s great for dipping and scooping up the last of the lentils!), or for a low carb alternative serve it with a veggie or leafy green salad. High in fiber and protein and positively packed with flavor, I’m confident you’re going to love this Masoor Dal as much as we do!
Instant Pot Masoor Dal Recipe
Let’s get started!
Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Heat the oil in the Instant Pot and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds begin to pop, about 15-20 seconds.
Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger and chilies (if using) and cook for another minute.
Add the turmeric, chili powder, asafoetida, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon and cloves and cook for a minute.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, salt, black cardamom, and broth.
Stir to combine.
Cancel the “sauté” setting and set to pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes followed by a quick release.
Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt to taste.
Note: Masoor dal thickens over time and if serving as leftovers you can thin it out with a little more broth if you like.
For more delicious Indian dishes be sure to try our:
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Butter Chicken
- Tandoori Chicken
- Egg Curry
- Saag Gosht
- Chicken Biryani
- Chicken Xacuti
- Dosas (South Indian crepes)
- Homemade Curry Powder
- Indian Broccoli with Paneer
Instant Pot Masoor Dal
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 small yellow onion , finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1-2 green chilies , (optional) discard the seeds and, for less heat, discard the membranes as well, minced (there are a number of Indian green chilies but you can also substitute with jalapeno)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils , rinsed and drained
- 2 Roma tomatoes (OR 1/2 to 3/4 of a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes) , finely chopped
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (see Note) (vegetarian/vegan: use vegetable broth)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 black cardamom , optional but recommended
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (aka hing powder)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch of kashmiri chili powder (or cayenne) , optional (for heat)
- juice of one lime
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Heat the oil in the Instant Pot and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds begin to pop, about 15-20 seconds. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chilies (if using) and cook for another minute. Add the turmeric, chili powder, asafoetida, coriander, cinnamon and cloves and cook for a minute. Add the lentils, tomatoes, salt, black cardamom, and broth. Stir to combine.Cancel the "sauté" setting and set to pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes followed by a quick release.Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, add salt to taste, and serve immediately. Note: Masoor dal thickens over time and if serving as leftovers you can thin it out with a little more broth if you like.