Fennel, coriander, turmeric, and mustard add flavor to our Instant Pot masoor dal. Lentils combine with creamy coconut, spinach, and lime juice for a protein-rich meal that’s ready and on your table in 30 minutes!
We serve ours with vegetable pakora and basmati rice.
WHAT IS MASOOR DAL?
Masoor dal is the same as red lentils; they’re super affordable, high in protein and fiber, and they cook quickly, making them perfect for lunch or a weeknight meal.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Coconut Oil: Coconut is central to Goan cuisine; they use every part of the coconut in their cooking- the oil, milk, and meat are all featured. I use coconut oil and coconut milk in this dal recipe. Be sure the coconut milk you use is full-fat, as it contributes to the texture of the dish.
- Onion: Onions cook with the lentils for maximum flavor.
- Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
- Ginger: Ginger cooks with the dal, and we stir it in at the very end for brightness.
- Boriya Chillies (Gol Lal Mirch): Boriya chilies are spicy and add a decadent flavor to any dish. Leave them whole for heat that is subtle and not overwhelming.
- Spices: Salt, black mustard seed, turmeric, coriander powder, and ground fennel season the dal.
- Red Lentils (Masoor Dal): Dal, otherwise spelled daal or dahl, means ‘lentil’ in Hindi and Urdu. Dry masoor dal is orange or red dry and turns bright yellow after cooking. Each variety of dal breaks down differently during the cooking process. Unlike other dal, red lentils are split, so they don’t need to soak before cooking.
- Spinach: Add freshness and color with spinach.
- Lime: Lime juice cuts the richness of the lentils in the best way.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS
- Use methi leaves, lime wedges, and onion and ginger tardka to garnish the dal.
SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS?
If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one of these Indian-inspired meals!
- Basmati Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Fried Fish
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an air-tight container; it will keep for 3-4 days.
- FREEZE – Allow the dal to cool and prepare several freezer-safe bags or containers. Scoop a small amount into each one, making sure to leave a few inches of space so the dal can expand if needed. Masoor Dal will freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
- REHEAT – To serve, warm it on the stovetop and prepare your sides.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Rinse 1 cup of masoor dal in a colander and set aside.
2. In a saute pan, warm coconut oil, and onion; cook on low-medium heat until the onions brown and caramelize.
3. Add the garlic, one tablespoon of ginger, chilies, and kosher salt; cook for 1 minute.
4. Stir in the mustard seed, turmeric, coriander, and fennel until fully incorporated.
5. Add the water and then whisk in the coconut milk. Stir in the lentils and bring the mixture to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat and cover the pan with a lid; cook on medium heat for about 25-30 minutes.
7. Stir in spinach and return to a simmer, about 3-4 minutes.
8. Off heat, add the last 1 tbsp of ginger, lime juice, and kosher salt to taste. Stir well.
9. Garnish with lime wedges and serve with long-grain basmati rice.
This meal is naturally vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:
Masoor Dal in the Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, minced, divided
- 3-5 boriya chilies (gol lal mirch), depending on the desired spice level
- kosher salt, to taste
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seed
- 2 teaspoons turmeric, ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel, ground
- 3½ cups water
- 1 can coconut milk, full-fat
- 1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
- 6 cups fresh spinach
- 4 limes, divided, sliced, and juiced
- Rinse 1 cup of masoor dal in a colander and set aside.
- In an Instant Pot, add coconut oil and onion. Cook in saute mode until the onions brown and caramelize.
- Add garlic, one tablespoon of ginger, chilies, and kosher salt; cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the mustard seed, turmeric, coriander, and fennel until fully incorporated.
- Pour in the water and whisk in the coconut milk. Then, add the lentils and bring the mixture to a boil on saute mode.
- Secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes with quick release.
- Remove the Instant Pot lid. Stir in the spinach, and simmer on saute mode for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the last one tablespoon of ginger, lime juice, and kosher salt. Stir well.
- Garnish with lime wedges and serve with long-grain basmati rice.