Lentils are my go-to for quick and easy comfort food. With the varieties of dals, spices and veggies, along with the style of preparation, there are infinite variations; and this is my easy one-pot weekday recipe.
Whether an instant-pot, or other pressure cookers, just dump ingredients in one by one, no prep necessary!
Whole moong (whole green gram with the skin on) is probably my favorite dal to cook with. It lends to a creamy yet fiber packed dish, and I added more masoor to up some nutrition. With the aromatics of garlic, ginger and specific combination of indian spices; this masala dal is surely one to keep in your recipe book.
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder (raw mango powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green chillies, with seeds, chopped (I used the jalapenos I had in my fridge)
1 large red onion, diced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, rough chopped
2 tsp coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup whole moong dal (whole green gram with skin on)
3/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Wash both dals together in warm water until the water runs clear. It removes any packaging impurities, and drastically removes the starchiness sticking to the outside of the lentils.
Let the dal sit in warm water while you are prepping and getting the dal masala ready; about 15 minutes.
Hit the ‘Saute’ button, and adjust to normal heat; then add the canola oil and cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds start slightly frying, you know the oil is heated and ready, so add in the measured spice powders: turmeric, asafoetida, coriander, amchur powders, and garam masala.
Saute this for about 10 seconds, and add in garlic, ginger and chillies. Continue sauteing for a couple of minutes.
Add in chopped onions, saute for 7-8 minutes until slightly golden. Then drop in the chopped tomatoes. Saute for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes soften and start to form a gravy.
Sprinkle in the measured salt, and add the lentils that are soaking (drain them completely out of the soaking water).
Toss this mixture together thoroughly and let cook for 5 minutes, keep stirring occasionally.
Measure 5 cups of water, and pour into the dal/veggie/spice mixture.
Turn off Saute mode by hitting the Keep warm/Cancel button.
Cover the instant pot, set the vent to Sealing. Hit the Manual button, adjust time to 13 minutes and let go. You will hear a beep and see an ‘On’ indicator.
Once cooking has completed, you will hear another series of beeps, and you will see a ‘Keep warm’ indicator with L0:00 counter. I usually let this sit in this keep warm mode for at least 15 minutes to let some of the built up pressure settle.
Carefully turn the vent to ‘Venting’ mode to release pressure. Make sure your hands and body are away from the vent!
Once all the pressure is vented and you’re able to open the lid; uncover add in chopped cilantro, and mix well.
Serve hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Dal is traditionally served hot with another companion stir fried vegetable, along with chapathi/roti, or rice along with fresh crispy salad and a cup of yogurt. Now that is a wholesome thali.
My recent obsession has been eating this with cauli-rice; and this is how my lunch plates often look :)