Instant Pot Black Dal (Dishoom-Inspired Dal Makhani)

You will love in love with this creamy and buttery Instant Pot black dal recipe inspired by the famous signature Dal Makhani from London’s Indian restaurant chain Dishoom. Made in a fraction of the time compared to the original (which is cooked for 24 hours in the restaurant), this incredible lentil dish will delight with its complex flavors and heavenly texture. It’s gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.


Black dal or Dal Makhani is one of India’s most loved dishes and one that is worth mastering. It is originally from the Punjab region and the primary ingredients are whole black lentils – also known as ural dal – butter and cream (sometimes beans are also used). The dish gets its richness from the use of cream or butter, but it can also be prepared with yogurt, milk or no dairy. The name dal makhani literally means “buttery lentils”.

One of the most delicious black dal recipes we’ve tried comes from London’s Dishoom restaurant. Black lentils are slowly cooked in buttery, spiced sauce for almost 24 hours until incredibly rich, thick and creamy. The homemade version featured in Dishoom’s cookbook is reduced down to about 4 hours of cooking, which is still quite long for most cooks until you enlist the help of the Instant Pot.

We have adapted Dishoom’s recipe for the pressure cooker and simplified a few steps while staying as true to the original as possible. Using our method, you can enjoy this creamy Instant Pot dal in about 1 hour. Plus, it keeps really well in the fridge for 4-5 days and only gets better with time.

Black Dal Instant Pot Recipe, Dishoom-Style

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT BLACK DAL

There are three parts to this simplified dal recipe:

  • Pressure cooking the lentils – this is pretty hands-free and quick with the Instant Pot.
  • Braising the pre-cooked lentils in the spiced buttery sauce – requires more attention as you need to stir the dal frequently while it’s cooking down on Saute function. However, this is only 15-20 minutes versus 2-3 hours in the original stovetop method.
  • Final thickening with cream – you have to continue to stir frequently so this last part also requires your presence but only for 5 more minutes.

You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and nutritional profile for this dish in the recipe below. Here is a handy video showing how to make dal in the Instant Pot. 

 

WHAT TO SERVE BLACK DAL WITH

Black dal Makhani is a nutritious dish full of plant-based protein, fibre and minerals. To achieve a complete protein profile (all essential amino acids), lentils and beans are best paired with grains so you can serve this dal with Basmati or brown rice or chapati or naan bread. You can also try our turmeric rice recipe here.

It can also be served as part of a larger Indian feast alongside other curry dishes. Being so rich, hearty and full of flavor, black dal is always a favorite both with vegetarians and omnivores so it’s a great dinner party dish.

Creamy black dal in the Instant Pot recipe

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Instant Pot Dal Makhani Black Recipe

Instant Pot Black Dal Makhani

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Inspired by the famous black dal at Dishoom restaurant in London, this Instant Pot dal makhani recipe is incredibly rich and creamy yet it takes a fraction of the time of the original. It’s nutritious, gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly. Serve with rice, chapati or naan bread.


Ingredients

Scale

PART 1
1.5 cups / about 300 g dry black dal lentils  (known as Ural dal)

1 litre water

1/2 teaspoon salt

PART 2
1.5 tablespoon butter

1/2 medium onion, finely diced

1 tbsp garlic paste (minced or grated garlic)

1 tbsp ginger paste (minced or grated)

2/3 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

4 tablespoons tomato paste (80 g)

1.5 teaspoons salt

3 cups water

TO FINISH
1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves (optional)

3 tablespoons butter (90 g)

1/3 cup heavy cream (double cream)


Instructions

  • Add the dry black dal lentils to a large bowl and fill with cold water. Using your hands, rub the lentils in the water a few times and strain. Fill with clean cold water and repeat, strain again. Rinse the lentils this way 4 times.
  • PART 1. Add the rinsed, drained lentils to the Instant Pot and pour in about 1 litre (4-4.5 cups) of water, add salt and stir. Pop the lid on top, lock and set to Manual/Pressure Cook for 5 minutes at HIGH pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and the timer will begin. Once the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally. Note, the cooking continues during the release at a slower rate.
  • Once the pressure is released, open the lid and strain the pre-cooked lentils. Leave in a sieve.
  • PART 2. Rinse and wipe the inner pot and return to the pressure cooker. Press the Saute function and once the pot is hot, add about 1.5 tablespoons of butter or ghee (25 grams) and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.
  • Then add the garlic and ginger paste and stir through. Now add the chilli powder and garam masala spices, stir through and add the pre-cooked lentils, tomato paste, and salt. Stir through and cover with cold water, about 3 cups. Stir through really well, making sure the scrape the bottom from any stuck bits.
  • Cook on Sauté for 15 minutes, stirring frequently! The lentils will slow integrated into the cooking broth, thickening it along the way. Some of the water will also evaporate.
  • PART 3. After about 15 minutes, add 3 more tablespoons of butter and fenugreek leaves, if using. Cook on Saute for 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently once again. Then add the cream and stir for 5 more minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2/3 to 1 cup of cooked dal
  • Calories: 295
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 797.1 mg
  • Fat: 11.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36 g
  • Fiber: 6.2 g
  • Protein: 13.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 30.4 mg

Keywords: Gluten-Free, Lentils, Curry

MORE INDIAN INSTANT POT RECIPES

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Instant Pot Dal Makhani (Buttery Black Dal)

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

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23 Comments
  1. I made it exactly as you suggested and loved it, ( I had only friends word that Dishoom ‘s was fabulous,) ..It is a good and it freezes well. I had it in Dishoom Covent Garden on Wednesday and I could not tell the difference. I now will try it with coconut oil, coconut cream and yogurt. Thanks for your recipe.
    I live in Scotland and have wanted to go to Dishoom’s in Edinburgh for ages unfortunately the day I booked the lift was out of order and my daughter in law told me three flights of steep stairs was too much for my knackered knees.

  2. Would soaking the urad dal overnight contribute anything or is that simply unnecessary in this preparation?
    Thank you–great to include this recipe.
    (PS I think you mean urad not Ural in Step 1 line 1.)

  3. This looks sooooo yummy! Planning to make it sometime in the next week or so. One question: black lentils may be difficult to find in my area, although I think there is a store that carries them. If I can’t find them, though, can you advise on substituting maybe red lentils, or French green lentils? Would the cooking time be the same?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Melinda, you can substitute with either of those. I find that red and green lentils take just a little bit less time to cook, so I would reduce the Part 1 cooking time to 3 minutes for red and 4 minutes for green. The rest is the same.

  4. We had Black Dal in Dishoom Edinburgh last Saturday night. I thought it was one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted. I desperately wanted to try it out myself but the thought of a pan bubbling for 5 hours in high summer turned me off. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this recipe. It is bang on 100% Absolutely delicious. Measurements and timings are perfect. I reduced cream and butter slightly but it did not detract from the finished dish. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Martina. I am so glad that you thought it was close to the original, or at least equally delicious. We appreciate your kind feedback!

  5. Thank you! I had this in London and it was easily my favourite restaurant. I loved this recipe. For my personal taste, the additional butter at the end was not necessary.

  6. I made this and it was wonderful. I had this at an Indian wedding many years ago and never found out what it was. Now I know it was dal malhini. I made it with olive oil spread and plantlea double cream and although maybe not quite as nice as the butter version or was still fantastic. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I shall be making it regularly.

  7. Tastes great! Followed the recipe except that I used 18% cream because that is what I have in my fridge :). Will make this again for sure, it is worth the bit of extra time it takes to prepare.

    1. The authentic version calls for those two ingredients but you can use a dairy-free butter alternative or a lighter type of butter, and light cream would also help to cut down on calories here. You could add coconut cream or milk instead of dairy one but the flavor will be a little more tropical/Sri Lankan, which is still super nice so you might want to try that instead.

  8. Hi I’ve made this before and it is really tasty, but I’m not sure if I am getting the correct consistency.

    Please clarify this part:
    “stir through and add the pre-cooked lentils, tomato paste, butter and salt. ”
    Which butter is this because I used 1.5 T of butter that was mentioned in the ingredients part of the recipe when I cooked the onions. Am I to add more here, if so how much?
    Also when instructed to “Stir through and cover with cold water, about 3 cups,” is that correct, because the ingredients say to add just one cup of water?

    1. Hey Brenda,

      I clarified which Part of the ingredients to use through the recipes. Butter – that was mentioned twice, you’re right. In that part of cooking just 1.5 tbsp of butter you use to saute the onions. 3 cups of water is correct, I think that’s what it says in Ingredients as well. Not sure where you saw 1 cup but I will double-check.

      Consistency-wise – are you straining the pre-cooked lentils before returning them back to the pot? Another reason, you may just need to cook on Saute uncovered for a little longer to evaporate a bit more liquid if it feels too thin. It’s also fine to reduce the water to 2 or 2.5 cups if you prefer it thicker.

      Hope it helps!

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