Moong Dal Instant Pot Recipe – Sit down with a piping hot bowl of our moong dal Instant Pot recipe and basmati rice; it’s soothing, filling, tasty, and ready in about an hour. The flavorful dish features yellow lentils with sautéed garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and warm, fragrant spices for an easy dinner idea you will love.
INSTANT POT MOONG DAL
Growing up, my husband ate moong dal and basmati rice (dal chawal) almost every day for lunch or dinner when the temperature rose in Pakistan, and at the time, he was not a fan! Isn’t it funny how everything changes when we become adults? Instant Pot moong dal and rice are on the regular rotation in our home.
WHAT ARE LENTILS?
Lentils or dal are considered a legume, and they come in varieties such as yellow (moong and toor), green (whole moong), red (masoor), brown (whole masoor), and black (urad).
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
For the Tadka:
- Ghee: Ghee develops a deep, nutty flavor to set the stage for the dish
- Boriya Chillies (Gol Lal Mirch): Boriya chilies are very spicy and add a rich flavor to any dish. I leave them whole for subtle heat.
- Cumin Seed and Black Mustard Seed: The cumin and black mustard seeds are toasted in ghee to pronounce the flavor.
- Curry Leaves: Sautéed in oil to draw out the flavor, the aroma of curry leaves alone adds a unique essence to the dal. Curry leaves can be hard to locate in the United States; your best bet is a local Asian or Indian market. If you’re unable to find them, do not substitute them with anything else. No other ingredient comes close to the taste and smell of a curry leaf!
- Onion: Caramelized onion provide intricate flavor for the dish and serves as a garnish called tarka or baghaar. I use red or yellow onion in this recipe depending on what I have on hand.
- Green Chilies: Slit lengthwise, Thai green chilies add heat that doesn’t overwhelm the masala.
For the Moong Dal:
- Ginger: Ginger cooks along with the dal for a boost of flavor.
- Garlic: I suggest using three cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
- Spices: I use turmeric, Kashmiri chili powder, and our Garam Masala to season the dal.
- Roma Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes flavor the dal. I use Roma tomatoes because they have less moisture than other varieties and easily cook down. I choose to puree the tomatoes beforehand using a blender or food processor because my family doesn’t have an affinity for large bites of tomato. You can also chop the tomatoes and cook them down naturally if you prefer.
- Yellow Lentils (Moong Dal): Moong dal or split mung bean are the most common lentils used in India, featured in many recipes and popular dishes.
- Salt: Salt added flavor.
- Cilantro: Cilantro garnishes the dal.
HOW TO MAKE OUR MOONG DAL INSTANT POT RECIPE
The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Set an Instant Pot to saute mode and warm ghee. Then, add boriya chili, curry leaves, cumin seed, and mustard seed. Cook until the ingredients sputter.
Next, add the onion and green chilies. Cook until onions brown and caramelize. Reserve half of the onion mixture and set it aside at room temperature.
Stir ginger, garlic, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala into the Instant Pot, give it a quick stir, then deglaze with the pureed tomatoes. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
Pour the rinsed moong dal, salt, and water into the Instant Pot. Stir well. Secure the lid, and set it to manual high pressure for 20 minutes.
Allow the Instant Pot to release naturally for 5 minutes, and then do a quick release.
Stir the dal to check the consistency. If thicker than desired, add ½ cup hot water before serving.
Garnish with the reserved onion mixture, cilantro, and extra green chilies. Serve with long-grained basmati rice.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- Refrigerate – Store leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep for 3-4 days.
- Freeze – Let the dish cool and prepare several freezer-safe bags or containers. Scoop a small amount of dal into each one, leaving a few inches of space so the dal can expand if needed. Our moong dal Instant Pot recipe freezes for 2 months.
- Thaw – Defrost the frozen lentils in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat – Warm leftovers on the stovetop and prepare your sides.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where can I buy moong dal?
Your local Asian or Indian market should carry it, but you can sometimes find them in a larger grocery store; Amazon has them too. Often they are labeled yellow split gram and split yellow mung bean, so be on the lookout for that.
Is moong dal healthy?
Is moong dal vegetarian? Is it vegan?
As long as you fry the onions in mustard or grapeseed oil instead of ghee, this recipe is vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
Can I make this recipe on the stovetop?
1. Warm ghee in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Then, add the boriya chilies, curry leaves, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. Saute until the ingredients sputter.
2. Next, add the onion and green chilies. Cook until onions brown and caramelize for 20-30 minutes. Reserve half of the onion mixture and set it aside.
3. Stir the ginger, garlic, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala into the Dutch oven. Then, deglaze with the pureed tomatoes.
4. Simmer for 2 minutes and pour the rinsed moong dal, salt, and water into the pan.
5. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
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Moong Dal Instant Pot Recipe
- Warm ghee in an Instant Pot on saute mode in the less setting. Then, add boriya chilies, curry leaves, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. Saute until the ingredients sputter.
- Next, add the onion and green chilies. Cook until onions brown and caramelize, for 20-30 minutes. Reserve half of the onion mixture and set it aside.
- Stir ginger, garlic, turmeric, Kashmiri chili powder, and garam masala into the Instant Pot. Then, deglaze the pot with pureed tomatoes – careful to scrape up any brown bits left over from sautéing the onions. Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Pour the rinsed moong dal, salt, and water into the Instant Pot; stir to combine. Secure the lid and set it to manual high pressure for 20 minutes. Let the Instant Pot release naturally for 5 minutes, followed by a quick release.
- Stir the dal to check the consistency. If they are thicker than desired, add ½ cup hot water before serving. Then, garnish with the reserved onions, chopped cilantro, and extra green chilies
- The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.