Easy Dal Tadka Instant Pot Recipe: Quick, Delicious, and Authentic

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a comforting bowl of dal tadka but short on time? Your Instant Pot can be your best friend in whipping up this classic Indian dish quickly and effortlessly. Dal tadka, with its rich blend of lentils and aromatic spices, offers a burst of flavors that’s both hearty and satisfying.


For a delicious and aromatic Dal Tadka made in your Instant Pot, gather these essential ingredients. Divided into main components and spices, each plays a vital role in crafting this beloved dish.

Main Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow split lentils (toor dal), rinsed well
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Required Equipment

To prepare a delightful Dal Tadka in your Instant Pot, gather the following essential equipment:

  • Instant Pot: The star of this recipe. An electric pressure cooker that simplifies cooking and enhances flavors.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensure precise measurements for consistent results.
  • Mixing Bowls: Use these to rinse and soak lentils before cooking.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: For chopping onions, tomatoes, and green chilies efficiently.
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: Ideal for stirring ingredients without scratching your Instant Pot’s surface.
  • Ladle: Perfect for serving the dal once it’s cooked.

Each tool plays a crucial role in making the process smooth and efficient.


In this section, we will guide you through the essential steps to prepare your Dal Tadka using the Instant Pot. Follow these instructions closely for a delicious and aromatic dish.

Rinse and Soak the Lentils

  1. Measure 1 cup of yellow split lentils (toor dal) using a measuring cup.
  2. Place the lentils in a mixing bowl.
  3. Fill the bowl with water and gently swish the lentils around with your hand to remove any dirt or debris.
  4. Drain the water using a fine-mesh sieve.
  5. Repeat rinsing two more times until the water runs clear.
  6. After rinsing, soak the lentils in enough water to cover them by about an inch for 15-20 minutes.

Chopping Vegetables and Preparing Spices

  1. Finely chop 1 medium onion.
  2. Dice 2 medium tomatoes into small pieces.
  3. Slice 2 green chilies lengthwise; adjust according to your spice preference.
  4. Prepare 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste; you can use store-bought or make it fresh by blending equal parts of ginger and garlic.
  5. Measure out spices:
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  1. Have salt ready as per taste—approximately 1 teaspoon is recommended.

Cooking Instructions

Follow these steps to create a flavorful Dal Tadka using your Instant Pot.

Pressure Cooking the Lentils

  1. Rinse and Soak: Rinse 1 cup of toor dal (split pigeon peas) under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the dal in warm water for 15 minutes, then drain.
  2. Add to Instant Pot: Place the soaked and drained dal into the Instant Pot. Add 3 cups of water, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, and salt to taste.
  3. Pressure Cook: Secure the lid on your Instant Pot, ensuring the valve is set to sealing position. Select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode on high pressure for 8 minutes.
  4. Natural Release: Allow a natural pressure release (NPR) for about 10 minutes before turning the valve to venting position to release any remaining steam.

Adding Tadka to Lentils

  1. Heat Oil/Ghee: Once you have released all steam from the lentils in the Instant Pot, switch it back to ‘Sauté’ mode and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil.
  2. Add Aromatics: Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and let them sizzle until they turn golden brown. Then add a pinch of asafoetida (hing), followed by finely chopped onions from one medium-sized onion.
  3. Sauté Onions & Spices: Sauté onions until they become light brown. Add minced garlic from four cloves, grated ginger from a one-inch piece, and two finely chopped green chilies; sauté for another minute.
  4. Tomatoes & Spices Mix: Add two diced tomatoes along with spices – ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, and salt as needed – cook until tomatoes soften and oil starts separating from mixture.
  5. Combine Tadka with Dal: Pour this tadka mixture into cooked dal in Instant Pot; mix well ensuring even distribution of flavors.

Your aromatic Dal Tadka is now ready! Serve hot with steamed rice or roti for an authentic Indian dining experience.

Assembling the Dal Tadka

  1. Combine Cooked Lentils and Tadka
    Once your lentils are perfectly cooked in the Instant Pot, carefully release any remaining pressure. Open the lid and give the lentils a gentle stir. Now, pour the prepared tadka mixture over the cooked dal. Use a spatula to mix everything together thoroughly.
  2. Adjust Consistency and Seasoning
    If you prefer a thinner consistency for your dal, add some warm water gradually until you reach your desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt or spices as needed.
  3. Simmer Together
    Set your Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode again and let the combined dal and tadka simmer for about 5 minutes. This allows all flavors to meld beautifully together.
  4. Garnish with Fresh Herbs
    Turn off the Instant Pot after simmering is complete. Garnish your Dal Tadka with freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves).
  5. Serve Hot
    Serve this delicious Dal Tadka hot alongside steamed rice or roti for an authentic Indian meal experience.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your Dal Tadka hot for the best flavor experience. Pair it with steamed basmati rice or fluffy jeera rice to complement its rich taste and creamy texture. If you prefer bread, freshly made roti or naan are excellent choices to scoop up the dal.


  • Fresh Cilantro: Sprinkle finely chopped cilantro on top for a burst of freshness.
  • Lemon Wedges: Serve with lemon wedges on the side for an optional tangy twist.
  • Ghee Drizzle: Add a teaspoon of melted ghee just before serving to enhance its richness.


Enhance your meal by serving Dal Tadka alongside:

  • Papadums: Crispy papadums add a delightful crunch.
  • Pickles: Spicy Indian pickles provide a contrasting flavor profile.
  • Yogurt or Raita: A cooling yogurt-based raita helps balance the spices.
  • Lassi: A sweet or salty lassi can be refreshing and soothing.
  • Masala Chai: Finish off with a cup of spiced masala chai for an authentic Indian dining experience.


Using the Instant Pot to make Dal Tadka not only saves time but also ensures a flavorful and authentic dish. With the right ingredients and equipment, you can effortlessly bring this Indian classic to your table. Whether you’re enjoying it with steamed rice, roti, or naan, don’t forget to garnish with fresh cilantro and a drizzle of ghee for that extra touch of authenticity.

Pairing your Dal Tadka with accompaniments like papadums yogurt or lassi elevates the meal even further. Embrace the simplicity and rich flavors of this beloved Indian dish by making it part of your regular cooking routine. Your taste buds will thank you!

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