Toor Dal / Arhar Dal {Instant Pot}

  • on 18 January 2021
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Punjabi toor dal recipe – bursting with flavor and always sure to satisfy! This Punjabi arhar dal is made with yellow split pigeon peas, onion, tomato and basic Indian spices. 

It’s healthy, it’s comforting and makes a cozy meal when served with piping hot steamed rice or pulao with a side of papad, kachumber salad or carrot pickle.

toor dal in a bowl with cilantro served with pulao.

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❤️About This Recipe

  • I have shared two methods: (1) Stovetop version (2) Instant pot toor dal recipe
  • It’s simple, easy and quick to make.
  • Toor dal or arhar dal is the most commonly used lentil type in India. Every region has its own way of making it. E.g. Gujarati dal, Varan bhaat (Maharashtrian), Pappu recipe (Andhra), Sambar (South Indian). Today’s recipe is Punjabi style arhar dal recipe.
  • The consistency of the dal: it has medium consistency (not too thin or not too thick). This is perfect for serving with paratha or naan. Also, perfect for rice or pulao. But some prefer a little thinner dal for rice. If so adjust it by adding some water.

🧾Ingredient Notes

Here is the pic of the ingredients used in making this delicious instant pot toor dal. All of them are basic and easily available. 

Ingredients used in toor dal includes yellow lentils, spices, onion, tomato, ghee, butter, cilantro, ginger, garlic, chili.

Toor dal (Arhar dal): You’ll find two kinds of toor dal in the grocery store. One is dry as shown in the pic above. And second is coated with oil. You can use any, there is no difference in the taste. 

The oily dal: the lentils are coated with castor oil to increase the shelf life and prevent insects. In India, most families stock up their lentils, rice, spices, etc. in bulk for an entire year. So they used to massage the dals with oil and store them in a large container. 

But here in the USA, I do not stock up for a year. I mostly buy enough for 2-3 months only. So I buy the dry, non-oily type. 

Ghee & Butter: You know that Punjabi food is known for its rich flavors. These two ingredients will give a nice rich flavor to the dal. If making on a day-to-day basis then I would skip the butter (not ghee). 

Amchur: When it comes to the lentil dishes most of the time lime or lemon juice is added at the end. But here amchur is added which gives a nice and different flavor to the toor dal recipe.

🎥Video (Toor Dal In Instant Pot)

👩‍🍳Step By Step Photos (StoveTop)

1) Wash toor dal under running cold water until water runs clear or rinse 2-3 times in a bowl until water is not cloudy anymore. Then take into the pressure cooker, add water and turmeric powder.

2) Cover the cooker with the lid, put the weight on. Cook on medium heat for 5-6 whistles. Let the pressure go down by itself and open the lid. As you stir the dal, it should have an almost mushy consistency. 

Collage of 2 steps showing toor dal with water and boiled dal.

3) Heat the ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add bay leaf and cloves. Saute for 30-40 seconds or until you get a nice aroma of the spices. Then add cumin seeds and let them sizzle a bit.

4) Then add sliced onions, sprinkle a little salt.

5) Cook until onions are soft and light pink in color.

6) Then add ginger garlic paste and cook for 40-60 seconds or until the raw smell of ginger-garlic goes away. 

Collage of 4 steps showing tempering spices, cooking onions and ginger garlic.

7) Then add tomatoes and continue cooking until they are soft and almost mushy kind.

8) Then add red chili powder and remaining salt. Mix and saute for a minute.

9) Then add boiled dal, plus more water. Also, add slit green chili.

10) Mix and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.

11) Then add amchur powder, garam masala and butter. Mix and let the butter melt.

12) Turn off the stove and lastly, sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro. 

collage of 6 steps showing cooking tomato, adding spices, boiled dal, simmering and adding cilantro.

This stove top arhar dal recipe was first shared in Aug 2015. But nowadays Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) is the trend. So I have now updated it with instant pot method as well.

Toor dal in a bowl with side of rice and paneer sabzi.

👩‍🍳Step By Step Photos (Instant Pot) 

1) Turn on the instant pot with saute mode. Once it is hot, add ghee and let it melt.

2) Now add bay leaf and cloves, saute for 30-40 seconds. Then add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.

3) Then add sliced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they get soft and light pink in color.

4) Now add ginger garlic and saute for a minute or until the raw smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

Collage of 4 steps showing tempering spices, cooking onion, ginger, garlic in instant pot.

5) Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.

6) Then add red chili powder, turmeric powder and slit green chili. Mix well.

7) Add rinsed toor dal and salt.

8) Add water, stir well. Cover the instant pot with a lid. Cancel the saute mode. Pressure cook on manual (high pressure) for 5 minutes.

Collage of 4 steps showing cooking tomato, adding spices, toor dal and water in instant pot.

9) Let it NPR (natural pressure release) and when the pin drops open the lid. NOTE: as you open the lid, you feel that the dal is too watery. But it will thicken up within 5-10 minutes of resting time.

10) Add garam masala, amchur powder and butter. 

11) Mix really well. If needed you can turn on the saute mode to make it piping hot.

12) Lastly, garnish with chopped cilantro. 

Collage of 4 steps showing cooked dal, adding amchur, butter, garam masala and cilantro.

Serve this toor dal with rice or peas pulao. Or enjoy with lachha paratha or garlic naan.

Toor dal garnished with cilantro leaf in a bowl with napkin underneath and 2 spoons on side.

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📋 Recipe Card

Step by Step Photos AboveWant to make it perfect first time? Don’t forget to check out Step-by-Step photo instructions and helpful Tips & Tricks !!

Toor Dal / Arhar Dal {Instant Pot}

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Punjabi toor dal recipe – bursting with flavor and always sure to satisfy! It’s healthy, it’s comforting and makes a cozy meal when served with piping hot steamed rice or pulao.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian

Calories: 210kcal

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

US measuring cups are used (1 cup = 240 ml) See details

Instructions 

  • Wash toor dal under running cold water until water runs clear or rinse 2-3 times in a bowl until water is not cloudy anymore.

  • If you have some time and if you want to then soak in the water for 15-20 minutes and then discard the soaking water. You can skip the soaking step like me, it’s perfectly fine.

StoveTop Method:

  • Take rinsed toor dal into the pressure cooker, add 3 cups water and turmeric powder. Cover the cooker with the lid, put the weight on. Cook on medium heat for 5-6 whistles. Let the pressure go down by itself and open the lid. As you stir the dal, it should have an almost mushy consistency.

  • Heat the ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add bay leaf and cloves. Saute for 30-40 seconds or until you get a nice aroma of the spices.

  • Then add cumin seeds and let them sizzle a bit.

  • Then add sliced onions, sprinkle a little salt. Cook until onions are soft and light pink in color.

  • Then add ginger garlic paste and cook for 40-60 seconds or until the raw smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

  • Then add tomatoes and continue cooking until they are soft and almost mushy kind.

  • Then add red chili powder and remaining salt. Mix and saute for a minute.

  • Then add boiled dal, plus 1 cup of water. Also, add slit green chili. Mix and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.

  • Then add amchur powder, garam masala and butter. Mix and let the butter melt.

  • Turn off the stove and lastly, sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro.

Instant Pot Toor Dal:

  • Turn on the instant pot with saute mode. Once it is hot, add ghee and let it melt.

  • Now add bay leaf and cloves, saute for 30-40 seconds. Then add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.

  • Then add sliced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they get soft and light pink in color.

  • Now add ginger garlic and saute for a minute or until the raw smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.

  • Then add red chili powder, turmeric powder and slit green chili. Mix well.

  • Add rinsed toor dal, salt and water, stir well.

  • Cover the instant pot with a lid. Cancel the saute mode. Pressure cook on manual (high pressure) for 5 minutes.

  • Let it NPR (natural pressure release) and when the pin drops open the lid. NOTE: as you open the lid, you feel that the dal is too watery. But it will thicken up within 5-10 minutes of resting time.

  • Add garam masala, amchur powder and butter. Mix really well. If needed you can turn on the saute mode to make it piping hot.

  • Lastly, garnish with chopped cilantro.

Notes

  • If making on a day-to-day basis then I would skip the butter (not ghee).
  • If making it vegan, then use oil instead of ghee and skip the butter.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 391mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 742IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 serving




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