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Instant Pot Whole Masoor Dal – Brown Lentil Curry

30 mins Cook
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Here’s an authentic complete Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry) recipe made quick and easy inside the instant Pot. this is a no-soak, dump-and-pass recipe with a simple tadka of browned onions. healthful and flavorful with handiest 15 mins of general palms-on time! obviously vegetarian and vegan non-compulsory.

What is Whole Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Dal)?

Whole Masoor Dal is a Brown Lentil Dal topped with a simple tadka (tempering) of browned onions and other spices of choice.

Though it’s not actually made with black lentils, Pakistanis often refer to it as Kaali dal (or black lentils) because of the dark hue it takes when cooked.

Whole Masoor Lentils Vs Brown Lentils

Whole masoor lentils (additionally called Sabut Masoor) are the entire version of pink lentils (Masoor dal). In different phrases, take away the skin (hull) and break up it in half of, and also you get cut up red lentils. if you appearance carefully at whole masoor, you’ll be capable of see the orange tint of purple lentils peeking thru.

There are numerous styles of lentils, and complete masoor dal is a only a form of brown lentil. For this recipe, you could use any trendy brown lentils (as an instance, Spanish Pardina) found at grocery stores and it’ll cook dinner perfectly first-class.

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Instant Pot Whole Masoor Dal - Brown Lentil Curry

Ingredients for Instant Pot Whole Masoor Dal

Basic South Asian pantry staples are all you need to make this recipe. A small onion, garlic, ghee/oil, and a handful of spices are the only non-negotiables. Other than that, this is a versatile and adaptable recipe you can make to suit whatever you have on hand.

Why Make Whole Masoor Dal (or Any Brown Lentils) in the Instant Pot?

Besides the obvious reasons (i.e. quicker and hands-off), I only cook this dal in the Instant Pot because:

  1. Unlike red lentils, brown lentils retain their shape even if overcooked, which makes them an ideal candidate for pressure cooking (no mushiness!).
  2. Pressure cooking naturally gives the dal a rich, creamy texture. Stovetop cooking would require you to manually mash it to achieve the signature creaminess.

How to Make Instant Pot Whole Masoor Dal

First, you dump the ingredients in the Instant Pot. This takes 5-7 minutes, 10 minutes on a bad day.

Once it’s cooked, get the tadka started.

While you’re sautéing the onions for the tadka (this takes a good 8-9 minutes), open up the Instant Pot, Select Sauté, and set it to Less. This allows the dal to simmer and thicken while you’re getting the onions nice and brown.

Add green chili and black pepper.

Once the onions are high-quality and deeply brown, transfer them over to the simmering dal. This simultaneous-cooking factor can also seem intricate, however believe me, the lentils don’t keep on with the bottom even in case you don’t stir them in any respect. in case you’d as an alternative no longer worry approximately it, definitely turn off the immediate Pot even as you prepare your tadka.

How to Make Whole Masoor on the Stovetop

Though I haven’t tested this particular recipe over the stovetop, here’s a hard guideline: First, soak for an hour just so it’s less complicated to cook. Then, add all of the ingredients for stress cooking to a pot with 5 cups water. deliver to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to prepare dinner for forty-50 minutes, or until the lentils are completely cooked through.

Variations of This Recipe

  1. Most traditional masoor dal recipes forego the addition of tomatoes, however I couldn’t help myself (after all, I even introduced tomatoes to korma). After trying out with and with out, I decided to maintain them due to the fact i really like the moderate tang and vibrance they add.
  2. Some variations of Sabut Masoor dal include tamarind paste. if you use tamarind paste, strive omitting the tomatoes so the tart flavor isn’t overpowering.
  3. Cream! although this isn’t similar to dal makhani, a little cream offers it a richer end.

Some Final Tips for a Pretty Self-explanatory Recipe

  • If the dal is getting too thick while you’re preparing the tadka, add (preferably boiling) water to get a thinner consistency. Adjust salt accordingly.
  • The onions for the tadka should be deeply golden brown before you add them to the dal. You know they’re done once you’re concerned that they’ll start burning
  • If you choose to soak the dal, decrease the cooking time to 18 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Whole Masoor Dal goes perfectly with plain, basmati rice, roti, paratha, or anything, really. On the side, you can serve:

  • Kachumber Salad, or fresh, crunchy vegetables chopped up with a bit of salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Yogurt or raita.
  • Achaar (mixed pickle).
  • More lemon or lime!
Instant Pot Whole Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry)

Instant Pot Whole Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry)

Here’s an authentic complete Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry) recipe made quick and easy inside the instant Pot. this is a no-soak, dump-and-pass recipe with a simple tadka of browned onions. healthful and flavorful with handiest 15 mins of general palms-on time! obviously vegetarian and vegan non-compulsory.
prep time
5 mins
cooking time
30 mins
total time
35 mins



  • To Pressure Cook

  • 1 cup (215 g) whole masoor dal (brown lentils), rinsed and drained*

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 (~75-85 g) small tomato, finely chopped (optional, but recommended)

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, leave whole – will be crushed later

  • 1/2 tbsp crushed ginger

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder, or sub kashmiri red chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • After Cooking:

  • 1 small green chili pepper (such as Serrano or Thai chili), chopped

  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

  • For the Tadka (Tempering)

  • 3 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado

  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter, or sub more oil

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 (~150-180 g) small onion, quartered and thinly sliced

  • Garnishing

  • 1/4 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice, or more to taste

  • 2 tbsp cilantro or mint leaves (or a blend of both), chopped


  • Instant Pot (for cooking Dal)

  • Small to Medium Skillet (for Tadka)



To strain cook dinner

Add all the ingredients indexed under ‘To pressure prepare dinner’ to the immediately Pot and mix to mix.
At ease the lid and set valve to Sealing. pick the manual/strain cook dinner placing and set time to twenty minutes (18 if pre-soaked) on high pressure.
As soon as dal is cooked, allow stress to release for five mins, then manually release any remaining pressure.

Tadka (Tempering)

In a medium skillet, heat oil and ghee over medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and onions and sauté until they turn deeply brown (~8-9 minutes). While onions begin sautéing, move on to the next step.
Meanwhile, uncover the lid and select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and set to Less. Crush the garlic by mashing it to the side using a wooden spoon. Add the green chili pepper and ground black pepper listed under ‘After Cooking’. Stir and allow to cook. (It's natural to stir occasionally, but don't worry, it won't stick to the bottom.)
Transfer the tadka to the dal in the Instant pot. If needed, continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until you reach the desired consistency.** Use a wooden spoon to mash dal against the edges to enhance texture.
Select Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Add the garam masala, lemon juice, and cilantro and give it a stir. Serve hot with basmati rice and chopped crunchy vegetables.


If you pre-soak the dal for one hour, pressure cook for 18 minutes or less (depending on how long you soaked it). If you’d like to thin it out, add around ¼ cup of (preferably) boiling hot water. Adjust salt accordingly. Note: Cook time includes time to build up pressure.
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