Instant Pot Dal tadka is a flavorful dal with split yellow pigeons peas.
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.
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.
Instant Pot Dal Tadka Recipe
- 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
- Wash dal and soak for 10 minutes or until ready to use.
Plug Instant Pot and set it to saute mode.
- When the inner vessel is hot, add oil and saute green chilies, ginger and garlic for few seconds.
Throw in onions and continue to saute for a minute or two until onions are soft.
Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and continue sauteing until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
Cover the inner pot to speed up cooking of tomatoes. This step is optional
- Discard water from the dal, add to Instant Pot and continue to saute for a minute or two until dal is roasted.
Hit cancel button, add ¾ cup of water and give a good stir.
- At this point, if one wants to cook other items along with dal, insert the containers for pot in pot cooking.
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.
Basically it is 5 minutes in manual setting and quick release after 5 minutes.
I cooked eggs along with dal hence quick release. Else do natural pressure release.
Open instant pot, remove vessels if you did pip.
Press saute mode, stir dal, add about ¾ cup of water, salt and bring to a boil.
When desired consistency is reached, hit cancel button. Mind you, dal thickens as it cools.
Meantime, on stove top, do a tempering by heating oil/ghee mentioned in tadka ingredient list.
When oil is hot, add cumin and let the seeds change color.
Add chopped garlic, hing and let garlic roast.
Turn off the flame, add kasuri methi, turmeric and chili powder if using.
Pour the tadka over dal, add cilantro, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes until flavors infuse into dal.
Serve dal with roti, paratha or rice.
- 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.