Instant pot dal & rice recipe with video & step by step photos – A step by step beginners guide to cook dal & rice together in Instant pot, an electric pressure cooker & multicooker. Dal & rice is a staple combo in most Indian homes. It is eaten in almost every region of India and is the main source of protein for majority of Indians. Dal & rice is the first food that most Indians learn to cook. Since several decades pressure cooker has been immensely used to cook them.
Instant Pot Dal
In the recent years, many of us are switching over to Instant pot from the traditional cookers due to ease of use and cleaning. If you are a beginner learning to cook Indian food in Instant pot, this detailed post is something to start with.
A Dal recipe can be made in so many ways and each region has their own way of tempering the dal and spicing it up. I have shared the simplest way to cook delicious dal and plain rice both together at one time in your instant pot.
I have also shared a few variations you can make to the dal and a few variations to make flavored rice.
2 Methods to Cook Dal in Instant Pot
There are 2 ways dal & rice can be cooked in an Instant pot.
First method: This is the most common method followed for the traditional cookers too. First pour water at the bottom of the steel insert and then place a steam rack or trivet that comes with the IP. Then place the rice bowl at the bottom and then the dal on top.
Pressure cook for 10 mins and wait for the pressure to drop naturally. Then make a tempering with spices & ghee in a separate small pan and pour it over the dal. I prefer this method when I cook less dal & rice as the large steel insert doesn’t need cleaning.
Second method is to cook dal at the bottom in the steel insert directly and then place a trivet and then the rice bowl over it. I have shown this method below.
Most of my lentil and curry recipe posts which I shared earlier were made on the stovetop using a regular pot. In the last few years I have updated the Instant pot versions for the same. You may take a look at the recipes here – Instant Pot Recipes
How to Make Instant Pot Dal (Stepwise Photos)
1. Press the saute button on the Instant pot. By default it is set to 30 mins. Just ignore this. The display will show you as “ON” when the inner pot turns hot.
Pour oil to the inner steel pot. Add mustard, cumin, red chili and green chilli. When the mustards pop, add curry leaves, ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute.
2. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Saute for a minute.
3. Then add the rinsed dal and pour water. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with the spatula. This releases any food bits stuck at the bottom.
4. Place a long legged trivet.
5. Place the rice bowl and pour water. Cover the rice bowl with a plate.
6. Press cancel. Secure the Instant pot with the lid. Position the steam release handle to sealing. Press pressure cook or manual (on old IPs) button. Set the timer to 9 mins. Use the + or – buttons to increase and decrease the timings.
The pot will take time to come to pressure and then cook.
7. When the IP finishes, press cancel. Let the pressure release naturally. The pin drops when the IP is depressurized. Open the lid. Remove the rice bowl carefully.
8. Stir well. Check the consistency and salt. If needed add more salt and lemon juice. If the consistency is too thick then add little water. I prefer to add 1/4 cup hot water at this stage. Sprinkle coriander leaves.
Serve hot rice & dal with some ghee topped over it. We usually eat with some pickle, pappads or salad. I had set aside some curry leaves and red chilli for garnishing.
Dal: I always use a mix of toor dal and moong dal. You may use any one or both. You can also use them in any ratio. Moong dal adds a creamy texture to the dal so I use at least a few tbsps while making a dal recipe. You may replace it with toor dal or masoor dal.
Onions: I try to avoid onions while pressure cooking dal. If you wish, you can chop one small onion and saute it first until transparent and then add the tomatoes.
Veggies: We usually make dal with veggies and leafy greens. Bottle gourd, curry cucumber, carrots, ridge gourd and golden pumpkin are the veggies I use in my dal. You can add any one of these to your dal. I usually use 1 cup of gourds, cucumber, pumpkin or 1 small carrot.
The veggies do get mushy but the dal tastes very good and is healthy.
Leafy greens like spinach, amaranth & methi leaves (fenugreek leaves) can also be added.
Rice: You can make jeera rice by simply adding some cumin or jeera to your rice bowl along with some salt and ghee. For deeper flavor, toast them in a small pan and add it to the rice.
You can also add spices like 1 star anise, 1 strand of mace, 1 tsp cumin, 2 cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon and 2 cloves to the rice bowl.
Type of rice: I have used basmati rice here. But we also eat sona masoori & ponni rice. I increase the cook time to 10 mins with these 2 kinds. If using handpound then I soak them for about 1 hour and cook for 10 mins.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup dal (¼ cup moong dal & ¼ cup toor dal)
- 1¾ cups water (to add later ¼ cup hot water if needed)
- ½ cup tomatoes chopped (2 medium)
- 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 sprig curry leaves (or small bay leaf)
- 1 green chili slit or chopped
- 1 red chili (optional)
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- ½ inch ginger chopped (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice or amchur powder (dry mango powder)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped or ½ tsp kasuri methi
- 1 cup rice (basmati or any )
- 1¼ cup water (for basmati, refer notes)
- Add rice to a steel bowl and rinse it well a few times. Then soak it until you prepare the rest.
- Rinse and chop tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Set them aside.
- Add dal to a bowl or strainer and rinse it well a few times under running water. Drain the water completely.
How to Make Instant Pot Dal
- Press the saute button on your IP and pour oil to the steel insert.
- Add the mustard, cumin, red chilli & green chilli.
- Wait for the mustards to pop, then add curry leaves, ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute.
- Then add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.
- Saute all of them just for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the rinsed dal and pour water. Deglaze by scraping the bottom of the pot with the spatula to release any food bits stuck.
- Place a long legged trivet inside the pot and then place the rice bowl. Pour water to the rice bowl.
- Cover the rice bowl. Secure the instant pot with the lid.
- Position the steam release handle to sealing. Press cancel and then press pressure cook. Set the timer to 9 mins.
- Let the pressure release naturally. Then remove the rice bowl carefully & then the trivet.
- Stir the dal and check the salt. If needed add more and squeeze in lemon juice and sprinkle coriander leaves.
- If the dal is too thick then add ¼ cup water to bring it to consistency.
- Serve dal with rice or roti. Drizzle some ghee over hot dal.
- Dal: I have used moong dal and toor dal in equal quantities. You can swap in one for the other.
- Curry leaves: I always have a stock of fresh curry leaves so I have used it. You can instead use a small piece of bay leaf or skip completely.
- Texture: If you like your dal to have a texture then reduce the cook time to 8 minutes. For a softer & creamy dal cook for 10 minutes.
- Water: The amount of water to use depends on the dal used. Moong dal soaks up more water. If using only toor dal or masoor dal, reduce the water by 1/4 cup.
- Nutritional values are for both dal & rice.
- Moong dal/ toor dal & basmati rice: 8 to 9 mins
- Moong dal/ toor dal / masoor dal & short rice: 10 mins
- Masoor dal & basmati: 7 mins
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
Follow Swasthi’s Recipes