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Toor Dal Tadka - Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker

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This Toor Dal Tadka is a simple yet most delicious tasting wholesome and nutritious Indian lentil recipe made using yellow split pigeon peas in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

Here, Toor dal or Yellow Split Pigeon Peas are cooked with a spicy and flavourful onion tomato masala.

a hand holding a steel ladle over the bowl toor dal tadka

This bowl of flavorful and comforting spiced yellow split pigeon pea along with some piping hot rice and roti makes an ultimate comfort food.

This easy toor dal tadka makes a quick, easy, and satisfactory meal for weeknight dinner when you don’t have much time to prepare supper. It is a gluten-free dal tadka/dal fry recipe that can also be made into vegan.

Dal chawal (lentils curry + rice) is a staple in Indian homes. In the Northern parts of India, toor dal is one of the most eaten dals with steamed rice. There, the term ‘dal chawal’ always refers to toor dal and rice.

This Toor Dal Tadka can be pressure cooked either in an Instant Pot or a stovetop pressure cooker. 

On this page, you will get a fail-proof Toor Dal Tadka recipe with step-by-step photos and video instructions. 

toor dal tadka served in a copper bowl

What is Dal?

Dal is a general Indian name for lentils and dried pulses and it is also a term for cooked lentil dishes such as stews or soups. Dal is also known as Dahl, Daal, or Dhal.

The majority of the Indian population is vegetarian and Dal is one of the main protein sources for vegetarians. Thus, it is prepared almost every day in many Indian homes. 

Dal can be prepared with all kinds of lentils. The cooking methods of a dal varies from region to region and the preference of individuals. 

Many people prefer to eat it bland, or with mild spices where others prefer it spicy and hot. Many like it with fat-tempering, and others simply like to drizzle a spoon of ghee over hot dal. 

The consistency of dals can also be varied depending upon the dish and mood. This consistency can vary from soupy to really thick and stocky.

Below are some samples of Dal preparations:

a hand splashing lemon juice over the bowl toor dal tadka

What is Toor Dal?

Toor dal is a name for yellow lentil or split pigeon pea. It is also known as Arhar Dal, Toovar/Tuvar dal, or Peeli Dal in various regions. Toor Dal Tadka is a quick and easy to make dish that can be made in minutes. It is one of the easiest dals to make for a weeknight dinner.

Lentils are an integral part of Indian cooking, and toor dal is a must-have in Indian kitchens.

Toor dal is also a name for a lentil stew made using toor dal and spices. 

A simple toor dal with some rice is the ultimate comfort food for many Indians. Just pair this wholesome, delicious, and easy to make Toor Dal Tadka with roti, aloo gobi, and pulao and you are all set for the day.

What are some great features of Instant Pot Toor Dal?

This Toor Dal:

✔ is super healthy and delicious

✔ is high in is good for digestion

✔ is ready in under 30 minutes

✔ is quick and simple to make

✔ can also be served with anything

✔ can be made with or without tempering

✔ goes well with almost every flatbread or rice dish

✔ is a good source of  carbohydrates protein and fiber

✔ is suitable for diabetic people

✔ is freezer friendly so it can be made ahead of time

✔ is vegetarian, gluten-free, and can also be made into vegan

Toor Dal Tadka in a metal bowl along with some white rice and instant pot in background

What is Tadka?

Takda is also known as ‘vaghar’ or ‘baghar’, and ‘chonk’ in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Tadka is simply a tempering technique that has many uses. You can spoon a tadka over a dal preparation, curry, or even raita

The type of tadka also differs from the ingredients. A basis tadka made with some fat ghee/oil and some whole spices. A well-seasoned tadka can enhance the flavor of any dish.

In this dal, I have added a tadka of ghee, asafetida, garlic, dried red chilies, green chilies, cilantro (coriander) leaves, and Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder.

What is the difference between dal fry and dal tadka?

Dal fry is a lentil dish prepared by boiling dal, either with onion tomato masala, or the masala is added to the hot boiled dal and then they are cooked together.

Dal Tadka is a bit different from Dal Fry. In dal tadka, a sizzling hot tempering is added to the hot dal fry. So basically it has double tempering.

Tadka dal is richer and more fragrant due to the nice addition of hot sizzling tadka.

overhead image of toor dal tadka served in a copper bowl

What are the ingredients needed for Instant Pot Toor Dal Tadka?

Toor dal tadka is made with everyday kitchen ingredients. These are:

  1. Toor Dal

  2. Ghee/oil

  3. Onion

  4. Tomato

  5. Ginger

  6. Garlic 

  7. Green Chili

  8. Cilantro (coriander) leaves

  9. Whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, and cumin seeds)

  10. Powdered Spices (salt, Kashmiri or red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, and garam masala powder)

How to Make Instant Pot Toor Dal Tadka?

I have prepared Instant Pot Toor Dal Tadka recipe in the typical North Indian Dhaba Style where dal is boiled with onion tomato masala until it is soft and tender. 

Once the dal is boiled, then tempering is added on top to bring out more delicious and rich flavors. This is how it is done in simple 5 steps:

Step 1: Saute bay leaf, cloves, and Cinnamon in hot ghee/oil.

Step 2: Add onion and green chili, and saute 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Add tomato, ginger, and garlic and cook.

Step 4: Add dry spices, water, and pressure cook.

Step 5: Add coriander leaves and garam masala. Mix and boil for 5 minute

Dal fry is ready. You can serve it as it is. Or you can make tadka to intensify flavors.

**This is how tadka is made for toor dal: **

Step 1: Saute cumin seeds and asafetida in ghee.

Step 2: Add chopped garlic, cilantro (coriander) leaves, green chilies, and dried chilies. Saute.

Step 3: Add Kashmiri red chili powder and saute for a second. Tadka is ready to be drizzled over hot dal fry.

For a full list of Toor Dal Tadka recipe ingredients and step-by-step photo and video instructions, please see the recipe box on this page. 

Image of Toor Dal Tadka in a copper bowl

How to make Toor Dal Tadka in a Stove Top Pressure Cooker?

In India, most of the dals are cooked in a Stove top pressure cooker. There are two ways of making dal In Stove top pressure cooker. 

First way: Here you only boil the dal with salt, turmeric, and water. And you prepare onion tomato masala separately and add it to the cooked dal. 

Second way: Onion tomato masala is prepared in the pressure cooker and then dal is boiled with this onion tomato masala.

In this recipe, I am showing you the second way. 

This is how to Make Toor Dal Tadka in Stove Top Pressure Cooker is done in simple 5 steps:

Step 1: Add ghee bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon to a stovetop pressure cooker and saute.

Step 2: Add onion and green chili, and saute 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Add tomato, ginger, and garlic and cook.

Step 4: Add dry spices, water, and pressure cook for 3 whistles on high heat. Let the pressure cool off before opening the lid.

Step 5: Open the lid and add cilantro (coriander) leaves and garam masala. Mix well and boil for 5 minutes. Toor Dal fry is ready. 

Add tadka (tempering) to make Toor Dal Tadka. Done! 

You will find the detailed recipe in the recipe box on this page.

How to make Toor Dal Vegan?

To make Toor Dal Tadka vegan, you need to replace ghee with the same amount of vegetable oil of your choice.

Can I freeze Toor Dal Tadka?

Yes, this toor dal recipe is completely freezable. To freeze, let the dal come to room temperature and then freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. 

When you want to serve, simply thaw it at room temperature and then reheat it in a pan or in a microwave. You can also thin it out by adding some hot water if the dal is too thick. 

Make the fresh tempering and then drizzle is over re-heated dal. Toor Dal Tadka is ready to serve.

How to serve Toor Dal Tadka?

Toor Dal Tadka can be paired with almost everything. You can serve it with any of Indian flatbreads or rice dishes. You can also serve it as a soup.

Below are some meal ideas that go well with Toor Dal Tadka:

Meal idea 1: Toor Dal Tadka + Jeera Rice or Steamed Rice.

Meal idea 2: Toor Dal Tadka + Roti + Aloo Baingan + Onion Tomato raita

Meal idea 3: Toor Dal Tadka + Lachha Paratha + Cucumber raita 

Meal idea 4: Toor Dal Tadka + Mushroom Pulao Recipe +  Tandoori Garlic roti

Meal idea 5: Toor Dal Tadka + Onion Capsicum Pulao + Duppad roti - Pad Wali roti

What are the Pro tips and variations to make the best Instant Pot Toor Dal Tadka?

  1. This dal thickens as it cools, I have made this dal semi-thin. You can easily change the consistency of Toor Dal by adding more or less water according to your taste and preference.

  2. I prefer to add Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder to this day as it is mildly spicy and adds a nice color to the dal. You can also use regular hot chili powder for this recipe. 

  3. If you want onion garlic free dal, then remove onion and garlic from the recipe and follow the same recipe.

  4. If you want to make Toor Dal Fry then skip the tadka part.

  5. I love cooking Toor Dal in ghee because it lends a delicious aroma and enhances the taste of this dal. But if you don’t like adding ghee then you can also use vegetable oil. 

  6. This dal can be made without any soaking. But if you are not comfortable making it without soaking, then soak it for 30 minutes and then pressure cook for about 6 minutes.

  7. You can also make it khatti-mithi dal by adding jaggery and dried mango powder like I added in this Gujarati Dal Dhokli.

action shot of pouring Toor Dal Tadka from a ladle into a toor dal bowl

Toor Dal Tadka - Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker [Recipe]

This Toor Dal Tadka is a simple yet most delicious and nutritious Indian lentil recipe made using yellow split pigeon peas.
★★★★✰
(Rating: 4.2 from 21 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
30 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Side Indian 4
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
135 calories 1

INGREDIENTS

For Toor Dal Fry:
  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • water 3 cups or as needed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 4 cloves (laung)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 green chili, slit
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri or regular red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (coriander) leaves
For Tadka (Tempering):
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 pinch of asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon cumin jeera
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1/4 green chili, slit
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri or regular red chili powder
For serving:
  • 1/2 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS:

How to Make Toor Dal In Instant Pot:
  1. Rinse Toor dal 3-4 times and set it aside.
    Image of the cooking step-1-1 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  2. Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat ghee in it.
    Image of the cooking step-1-2 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  3. Once the ghee is hot, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves to it.
    Image of the cooking step-1-3 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  4. Saute for a few seconds and add the onions and green chili.
    Image of the cooking step-1-4 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  5. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-5 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  6. Add chopped tomatoes, chopped ginger, and chopped garlic to it.
    Image of the cooking step-1-6 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  7. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till mushy.
    Image of the cooking step-1-7 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  8. Now add rinsed dal and give it a mix.
    Image of the cooking step-1-8 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  9. Add the red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix everything well.
    Image of the cooking step-1-9 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  10. Add 3 cups of water and mix well.
    Image of the cooking step-1-10 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  11. Cancel the SAUTE mode. Close the lid, and set the valve to sealing.
    Image of the cooking step-1-11 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  12. Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 8 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-12 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  13. NPR (Natural pressure release). Once the pin drops, open the lid.
    Image of the cooking step-1-13 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  14. Press the cancel button and then press the saute button. Mix well and mash dal lightly using the back of a spoon.
    Image of the cooking step-1-14 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  15. Add 1 tablespoon of coriander leaves and garam masala powder.
    Image of the cooking step-1-15 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  16. Mix well and boil for 5 minutes. Toor Dal Fry is ready.
    Image of the cooking step-1-16 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
How to make Toor Dal in Stovetop Pressure Cooker:
  1. Rinse Toor dal 3-4 times and set it aside.
    Image of the cooking step-2-1 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  2. Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker over medium heat.
    Image of the cooking step-2-2 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  3. Once the ghee is hot, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves to it.
    Image of the cooking step-2-3 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  4. Saute for a few seconds and add the onions and green chili.
    Image of the cooking step-2-4 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  5. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-2-5 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  6. Add chopped tomatoes, chopped ginger, and chopped garlic to it.
    Image of the cooking step-2-6 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  7. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till soft.
    Image of the cooking step-2-7 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  8. Now add rinsed dal and give it a mix.
    Image of the cooking step-2-8 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  9. Add the red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix everything well.
    Image of the cooking step-2-9 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  10. Add 3 cups of water and mix well.
    Image of the cooking step-2-10 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  11. Close the lid, and pressure cook on high for 3 whistles. Let the pressure go down completely before opening the lid.
    Image of the cooking step-2-11 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  12. Once the pin drops, open the lid. Mix well and mash dal lightly using with the back of a spoon.
    Image of the cooking step-2-12 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  13. Add 1 tablespoon of coriander leaves and garam masala powder. Mix well and boil for 5 minutes. Toor Dal Fry is ready.
    Image of the cooking step-2-13 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
How To Make Tadka (Tempering) For Toor Dal:
  1. Heat ghee in a tadka pan over medium heat.
    Image of the cooking step-3-1 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  2. Add asafetida, and cumin seeds and let them crackle.
    Image of the cooking step-3-2 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  3. Add chopped garlic cloves saute until garlic turns light brown.
    Image of the cooking step-3-3 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  4. Add dried red chilies, green chilies and cook for a few seconds.
    Image of the cooking step-3-4 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  5. Add coriander leaves, Kashmiri red chili powder and stir it.
    Image of the cooking step-3-5 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  6. Fry for few seconds and remove from heat.
    Image of the cooking step-3-6 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
How To Serve Toor Dal Tadka:
  1. Transfer cooked toor dal fry to a serving bowl.
    Image of the cooking step-4-1 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker
  2. Pour the prepared tadka and garnish with coriander leaves. Drizzle with some lemon juice. Serve toor dal hot with chapati and rice.
    Image of the cooking step-4-2 for Toor Dal Tadka -  Instant Pot + Pressure Cooker

WATCH VIDEO:


NOTES:

  1. This dal thickens as it cools, I have made this dal semi-thin. You can easily change the consistency of Toor Dal by adding more or less water according to your taste and preference.
  2. I prefer to add Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder to this day as it is mildly spicy and adds a nice color to the dal. You can also use regular hot chili powder for this recipe.
  3. If you want onion garlic free dal, then remove onion and garlic from the recipe and follow the same recipe.
  4. If you want to make Toor Dal Fry then skip the tadka part.
  5. I love cooking Toor Dal in ghee because it lends a delicious aroma and enhances the taste of this dal. But if you don't like adding ghee then you can also use vegetable oil.
  6. This dal can be made without any soaking. But if you are not comfortable making it without soaking, then soak it for 30 minutes and then pressure cook for about 6 minutes.

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