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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. 

A single serving of Moong Dal with long-grained basmati rice.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

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).

Ingredients You’ll Need

For the Tadka:

  • Ghee: Ghee is a staple in Indian and Pakistani cuisine and develops a deep, nutty base 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 a more subtle heat. 
  • Whole Spices: 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 garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Spices: I use turmeric powder, Kashmiri chili powder (paprika), and homemade 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 puree the tomatoes beforehand using a blender or food processor because my family isn’t a huge fan of chunky tomatoes. In a pinch, include a ½ can of diced tomatoes or chop the fresh tomatoes and sweat them down over low heat. However, the process may increase the cooking time.
  • 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: Taste and season the dish with salt.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro garnishes the dal.

How to Make my Moong Dal Instant Pot Recipe

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: 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.

Whole spices toasted in oil and caramelized onion create the base of flavor for Moong Dal.

Step 2: 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.

Spices are added to the leftover onion and cooked until aromatic. This process flavors the moong dal.

Step 3: 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.

Add the dal to the Instant Pot, along with water, and cook for 20 minutes.

Step 4: 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.

Moong dal cooked in the Instant Pot and ready to serve.

If you enjoy this meal, try one of these Indian recipes!  

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store leftovers in an airtight container 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 2-3 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?

Dal is high in protein and fiber, and a healthy part of a well-balanced diet. It’s naturally gluten-free and serves a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. If you’re counting carbs, moong dal is higher on the glycemic index. Otherwise, moong dal is a healthy addition to your lunch or dinner rotation.

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.

More Indian Recipes:

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A single serving of Moong Dal with long-grained basmati rice.

Moong Dal Instant Pot Recipe

Tressa Jamil
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.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 40 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
For the Tadka:
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 3 boriya chilies dried
  • 3-5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seed
  • 1 ½ large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, slit lengthwise
For the Dal:
Instructions
 
  • 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
Notes
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. 
 

 

Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 40 kcal | Carbohydrates: 5 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 2 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 5 mg | Sodium: 312 mg | Potassium: 122 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 458 IU | Vitamin C: 13 mg | Calcium: 20 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Shelby

Sunday 18th of September 2022

I have never made lentils before, but I came across this Instant Pot recipe and wanted to try it. Wow! We will be including this in our regular rotation.

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 18th of September 2022

I didn't grow up eating lentils either, but I am so glad I know about them now.