Pressure Cooker Garlic Dal
A one-pot Indian-inspired lentil soup.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or ghee)
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1.5 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 green chili (Serrano pepper), minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, plus more as required
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 pinch of asafetida (hing)
- 1 cup toor dal (tuvar dal, arhar dal, split pigeon peas)
- 3 cups water, add water as required for consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- salt as required
- coriander leaves, as garnish
- lemon juice, as required
- Rinse toor dal under cool water, picking out any debris present. Set aside.
- Mix turmeric powder, red chili powder, and asafetida (spice mixture) and set aside.
- In your preheated Instant Pot (set to Saute on Normal), add oil or ghee. When heated, add mustard seeds and let them sizzle until they begin to pop, about one minute.
- Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for about one minute, stirring often. Do not let them burn.
- Add minced onion and sauté until golden, about five minutes.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for about one minute.
- Add the dal and the minced green chili (remove seeds if you want a milder spice) and stir well.
- Add spice mixture and mix well.
- Add water, stirring well. Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to Manual (high pressure) for 12 minutes. Make sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position.
- When finished, release pressure via natural release method. Remove lid.
- Using a wire whisk, vigorously stir the dal, breaking up the pigeon peas until dal is smooth. Add water as needed for consistency.
- Taste-test the dal. Add salt and a pinch of red chili powder as needed.
- Add kasuri methi and a few splashes of lemon juice, and stir well.
- Serve over rice or with roti or parathas, garnished with coriander leaves.
Welcome to my fourth installment of my Discovering Food series. Today’s ingredient? Split pigeon peas, or toor dal. I have these peas, along with many other types of lentils and dried beans currently sitting in my pantry, due to a love of cooking Indian food. Much of the inspiration for this blog comes from my adventures into cooking different sorts of vegetarian Indian food, and many of my go-to recipes come from Dassana Amit’s Veg Recipes Of India. Dassana is an amazing cook and blogger, and every time I have asked her a question on one of her recipes, she has been incredibly gracious in her answers.
Today’s recipe is a Garlic (Lasooni/Lahsun) Dal. I’m serious on the garlic in this–this recipe would terrify Dracula (so basically, it’s amazing). I first made Dassana’s Lasooni Dal Tadka recipe a few years ago, and it has been a staple of my frozen lunches. Linked to this recipe is her one-pot Garlic/Lahsun Dal, a similar recipe but lacking the spice-infused oil (or tadka) at the end of the recipe. What I have done here is combine to the two recipes, tweaking here and there to better serve the Instant Pot. By adding a bit of red chili powder and kasuri methi at the end, along with the lemon juice, you get some of the little burst of the flavor that would come from the tadka without having to use a second pot.
This is a pretty quick and easy recipe, perfect for any day you want a warm-you-from-the inside sort of meal. Warm pigeon peas and chilies create a spicy dish that pairs so well with rice or roti/parathas. You’ll want to prep your ingredients before you begin, simply because it goes together so quickly. Rinse your toor dal and make sure to pick out any debris. Take all of your dry spices and combine in a small ramekin so you can just add them simultaneously. Mince your onion and garlic. Mince the green chili, deseeding if you don’t prefer your dal to be terribly spicy. Black mustard seeds, asafetida, and kasuri methi can be difficult to find in your garden variety American grocery store; check your local world market or Indian groceries if you’re having problems finding these ingredients.
Now the fun part beings. If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, you can do this set of steps directly in the pot. If your electric pressure cooker does not have a Sauté setting, you will have to cook this part of the recipe in a separate pan on your stovetop. For the purposes of this recipes, I am using an Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Heat your Instant Pot on the Sauté setting (set to Normal). Add your oil and heat thoroughly. Add your mustard seeds and let them sizzle until they begin to pop, about one minute. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for about one minute, stirring often. Do not let them burn. Add your minced onion and sauté until golden, roughly five minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about one minute.
In quick succession, add dal, minced chili, spice mixture, stirring well between each addition. Dribble in a little of the water, allowing the heat of the pan to deglaze any cooked on bits of onion and garlic. Add the rest of the water, stirring well. lose the lid and set the Instant Pot to Manual (high pressure) for 12 minutes. Make sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position.
When your dal has cooked for twelve minutes, release the pressure via the Natural Release Method (about two minutes). Remove the lid and, using a wire whisk, vigorously stir the dal, breaking up the pigeon peas until dal is smooth. Add water as needed for consistency (you’ll want this dal to be smooth but not terribly watery).
Taste-test the dal. Add salt and a pinch of red chili powder as needed. Add the kasuri methi and a few splashes of lemon juice (quite honestly, the not-so-secret magic ingredient of this recipe), mixing well.
And now you’re done! Serve, garnishing with coriander leaves.
I find that this is a great recipe to use for pre-made lunches. This recipe freezes very well, and I’ve found the best rice-to-dal ratio is 1 part rice to 2 parts dal. This also goes well with whole wheat roti or parathas.
If you make this recipe, let me know what you think! Ask me any questions you might have in the comments.