Instant Pot Brown Lentils Curry Recipe | Whole Masoor Dal


1 tablespoon Oil use neutral flavor oil

½ tsp Cumin Seeds or Jeera

2 Onions small size – finely chopped, 3/4 cup

2 Tomatoes small size – finely chopped, 3/4 cup

1 Green Chili finely chopped (Optional)

1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste

½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder or Haldi Powder

½ teaspoon Kashmiri Red chili powder Substitute with Paprika

1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder

½ teaspoon Ground Coriander

½ teaspoon Roasted Cumin Powder

1 cup Brown Lentils Whole Masoor Dal, Sabut Masoor Dal

2 ½ cups Water

Finely Chopped Cilantro or coriander leaves

Tempering (Optional)

1 teaspoon Ghee or Clarified Butter Use Oil for Vegan Recipe

¼ teaspoon Cumin Seeds or Jeera

A pinch of Kashmiri Red Chili Powder optional


Wash and Soak Brown Lentils for 15 minutes. After 15 mins, drain the water used for soaking and keep aside. Note – Soaking lentils is not mandatory.

Switch on the Instant Pot and Press Sauté Mode. Add oil and cumin seeds (jeera).

Once the cumin has roasted, add finely chopped onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Now add chopped tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and green chilies (optional)

Add the spices – Red chili, turmeric, ground coriander and roasted cumin powder. Sauté and add few tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning.

Now add the Soaked and drained brown lentils. Cancel Sauté Mode.

Add 2 & 1/2 cups of water for cooking and salt to taste.

Close the Instant Pot with Lid, secure vent to sealing and Pressure Cook on High for 15 minutes. Allow Natural Pressure Release up to 10 minutes and release the balance pressure manually.

Once the pin moves down, open the Instant Pot and mix using a ladle. The dal is ready to serve garnished with some cilantro.

The dal will thicken as it cools down slightly and it will be even more thicker the next day. The consistency can be easily adjusted by reheating the dal with some hot water.


Soaking the Brown Lentils, Whole Masoor Dal or Sabut Masoor Ki Dal – I prefer washing and soaking the lentils for atleast 15 minutes before cooking. This step is optional and you can just wash and drain the lentils, add to the IP. However, soaking has its own benefits – easy to digest, no flatulence etc.

Substitutes for Ingredients

Spices – Garam Masala can be substituted with Curry Powder. Kashmiri Red Chili (gives good color, low heat) can be substituted with paprika. The quantities, again, can be altered based on your family’s preferences.

Green Chilies – Optional or you can deseed and use jalapeno peppers, if you like.

Making ginger garlic paste at home is easy – Just crush equal parts of ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle or a mixer grinder jar. This can be frozen for months and used as curry base, for soups etc.

Brown Lentils to Water Ratio – For a cup of Brown Lentils, I use 2 and 1/2 cups of water. You can use vegetarian stock but plain water is perfectly fine considering we are using so many spices for the curry base.

Tempering – This step is optional. The tempering or the final touches is done using ghee but can be easily substituted with oil. If you skip the tempering, the lentil curry recipe is Vegan.

Instructions for cooking Whole Masoor Dal in Stove Top Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cook the washed and soaked lentils with salt for 3-4 whistles on high flame. (Water to Dal ratio is same as IP)

Once the pressure releases naturally, remove the weight and open the lid.

Heat a pan, add oil and cook the onion tomato base with spices. Now add the cooked brown lentils and mix. Reduce the flame and allow the dal to simmer for couple of minutes until it thickens and turns creamy. Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). Add the tempering with ghee just before serving.

Storage / Freezing Instructions –

Once the curry or dal has cooled down, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

This curry thickens with time, especially after it has cooled down. You can add some hot water and adjust the consistency of the curry while re-heating either on stove top or microwave.

You can freeze the curry upto 2 months or longer. Once you thaw the curry, do not re-freeze as it comprises the shelf life.