Instant Pot Dal Tadka ~ Pigeon Peas Dal

Delicious Instant pot dal tadka is a spicy flavorful Indian dal. It pairs well with rice and Indian flatbreads

Instant Pot Dal tadka is a flavorful dal with split yellow pigeons peas.

Delicious Instant pot dal tadka is a spicy flavorful Indian dal.  It pairs well with rice and Indian flatbreads

Dazzling Dals

Theme for this week is dazzling Dals and am going to post 3 yummy dals. The first dal recipe is a simple and mouthwatering Instant Pot dal tadka. Serve it with either rice or Indian flatbread.

Dals in Indian Cuisine

Dals are a staple in Indian cuisine and more so in Indian vegetarian diet. Dals are one of the main sources of protein in Indian vegetarian cuisine. There are slight variations in how dals are prepared from region to region. South Indian Dals vary from simple dal tadka to dals with leafy and regular vegetables.

A bowl of rice with delicious instant pot dal tadka.

What is Dal Tadka

Dal tadka is a North Indian dal where the dal is first cooked with onion tomatoes and chopped ginger, simmered to required consistency and finally topped with tempering. Chopped ginger gives a unique flavor to dal, which is different from the South Indian dal I make at home. In fact, I do not use ginger in dals.

There are many versions of dal tadka. In today’s version, onion tomato ginger garlic and uncooked toor dal are roasted in oil and then cooked. In some versions, veggies and dal are cooked without roasting in oil.

How to cook Toor Dal for Dal Tadka

There are many ways to cook toor dal; in Instant Pot, in a saucepan and in a pressure cooker on stove top.

Cooking Toor Dal in Instant Pot

  • Cook dal in manual mode for 8 minutes and do a natural pressure release.
  • If dal is soaked for at least 10 minutes, cook for 5 minutes in manual mode. I follow this setting when cooking rice and/or eggs along with dal.

Cooking Toor Dal in a Pressure Cooker

Cook dal for 7 whistles/hisses and 3 minutes on low flame. Release pressure naturally.

Cooking Toor Dal in a Saucepan on Stovetop

I never cook toor dal in a saucepan and cooking time is at least 45 minutes long.

I like very soft dal and hence follow above mentioned cooking times. Cooking time is longer with some batches of toor dal but normally these settings work. For a perfectly cooked dal, add ¼ – ½ tsp of oil to dal water mixture.

How to Cook a Simple Meal in Instant Pot

Just like in pressure cooker, cook a full meal in instant pot using pot in pot method (PIP). When I made instant pot dal tadka, I made rice and boiled an egg using pip method. I used one vessel for rice and other for egg.

  • Use main inner vessel for dal.
  • Place trivet in dal.
  • On the trivet place a container of rice with 1: 1 ½ rice to water ratio.
  • Stack another vessel or a plate on rice vessel and place an egg in it.
  • When cooking eggs, I do 5 minutes manual mode, quick release after 5 minutes.
  • Remove egg, put in cold water and peel the egg.
  • A bowl of rice with delicious instant pot dal tadka.

    Instant Pot Dal Tadka Recipe

    4.91 from 11 votes
    Delicious Instant pot dal tadka is a spicy flavorful Indian dal. It pairs well with rice and Indian flatbreads
    Instant Pot Dal Tadka
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    30 mins
    Dal tadka is a flavorful dal with split yellow pigeons peas.
    Course: Side Dish, Soup
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings: 2
    Author: MySpicyKitchen
    • ¼ cup Toor/Tuvar/Arhar Dal/Dry Pigeon Peas
    • 2-3 tsp Oil
    • 2 - 3 small Green Chilies
    • 1 tsp chopped Ginger
    • 1 tsp chopped Garlic or 2 fat Garlic Cloves
    • ½ medium sized or ⅓ cup sliced Onion
    • ½ large or ⅓ - ½ cup chopped Tomato
    • Turmeric Powder
    • ¾ tsp Salt
    • 2 tsp Ghee or Oil or combination of both
    • ¼ tsp Cumin
    • 2 fat Garlic Cloves or 1 tsp of chopped Garlic Cloves
    • ½ - ¾ Kasoori Methi
    • Pinch of Hing ~ Asafoetida
    • Pinch of Chili Powder, optional
    • Cilantro for garnish
    1. Wash dal and soak for 10 minutes or until ready to use.
    2. Plug Instant Pot and set it to saute mode.

    3. When the inner vessel is hot, add oil and saute green chilies, ginger and garlic for few seconds.
    4. Throw in onions and continue to saute for a minute or two until onions are soft.

    5. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and continue sauteing until tomatoes are soft and mushy. 

    6. Cover the inner pot to speed up cooking of tomatoes.  This step is optional

    7. Discard water from the dal, add to Instant Pot  and continue to saute for a minute or two until dal is roasted.
    8. Hit cancel button, add ¾ cup of water and give a good stir.

    9. At this point, if one wants to cook other items along with dal, insert the containers for pot in pot cooking. 
    10. Close Instant Pot and press Manual/Pressure Cook. Adjust the time to 5 minutes, make sure the pressure is set to high and vent sealed.

    11. Basically it is 5 minutes in manual setting and quick release after 5 minutes. 

    12. I cooked eggs along with dal hence quick release.  Else do natural pressure release.

    13. Open instant pot, remove vessels if you did pip.

    14. Press saute mode, stir dal, add about ¾ cup of water, salt and bring to a boil.

    15. When desired consistency is reached, hit cancel button.  Mind you,  dal thickens as it cools.

    16. Meantime, on stove top, do a tempering by heating oil/ghee mentioned in tadka ingredient list.  

    17. When oil is hot, add cumin and let the seeds change color.

    18. Add chopped garlic, hing and let garlic roast.

    19. Turn off the flame, add kasuri methi, turmeric and chili powder if using.

    20. Pour the tadka over dal, add cilantro, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes until flavors infuse into dal.  

    21. Serve dal with roti, paratha or rice.

    Recipe Notes
    • I use vine ripe tomatoes but any variety will work
    • 5 minutes manual setting - Contents in the Instant pot will cook for 5 minutes on high pressure once the pressure is built.
    • It will take about 8 minutes for the pressure to build up.

    Like the recipe, Pin It.

    This day in:
    in 2014 – Mango Shrikand
    in 2016 – Spaghetti ai Gamberi

    Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#88

    25 thoughts on “Instant Pot Dal Tadka ~ Pigeon Peas Dal

    1. Daal Tadka is a much ordered daal in any restaurant , even though it is a simple daal it has a lovely flavor and that bowl is surely very inviting. Add just 1/4 tsp of kasoori methi and it will be a perfect restaurant daal!

    2. I love the Instant Pot to cook dal rice too. Set it all up and forget it until it is done. Perfect for busy mornings or evenings. Everything looks perfectly done.

    3. Wow, what a stunning clicks, havent seen dal clicks this much clear and crisp. Pigeon peas dals is definitely my kind of comforting food. Lipsmacking here already Usha.

    4. So many tips to use the Instant pot! Here it is just slowly catching up and was wondering if it is worth investing in one, since I use my pressure cookers a lot – in fact the most used and battered pots in my kitchen… hehe… Dal Tadka sounds simple and delicious, like Vaishali mentioned, I love them with some kasuri methi, takes it to another level….

      1. Rafeeda, to be honest, I am not as head over heals as most of them are. I use it becuase I have it. It is basically a pressure cooker. The only advantage is, it is an electric pressure cooker hence you don’t have to baby sit. Also it has a delay timer, so especially for working women, it comes really handy. Put everything in the pot, set delay timer and by the time you com home in the evening from work, food is ready.

    5. Usha, I enjoyed reading your post. The pictures are out of the world and those Pinterest cards are so nicely done! Even if this is a simple dal, nothing can beat the taste right..awesome post overall!

    6. Such a comforting dal recipe. The pics are very catchy and inviting as usual, Usha. Atleast twice i make this kind of dals, love it with some hot rice & dollop of ghee. Guess IP makes the whole process lot more easier.

    7. I love this North Indian style toor dal Usha. I make it some times to break south Indian food monotony. Also it is great to serve with rice or roti. Never made dal in insta opt, will have to try it out some time.

      1. I bought a mini insta pot past Thanksgiving and since then using it a lot to cook dal. But yes, there are times when I find it lot easy to just grab a pressure cooker to cook dal.

    8. Instant pot sounds like a total bliss and the IP dal tadka looks just perfectly cooked. Nothing beats the perfect combo of dal and rice.

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