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.
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.
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.
1.5 cups / about 300 g dry black dal lentils (known as Ural dal)
1 litre water
1/2 teaspoon salt
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
1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves (optional)
3 tablespoons butter (90 g)
1/3 cup heavy cream (double cream)
- 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.
Keywords: Gluten-Free, Lentils, Curry
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