This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Instant Pot Toor Dal Tadka is split pigeon peas cooked with ginger, garlic, and tomatoes, and topped with a tempering of Indian spices. These yellow lentils are quick & easy to make and provide a nourishing, healthy, and delicious weeknight meal.

A serving dish with toor dal with tadka on the top and a large spoon with dal, in the background you'll find green chilies and cilantro.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Growing Up… I Hated Dal

Growing up I hated dal. I found it flavorless since my mom never added tadka (tempering of spices) to lentils. Why? It was due to my dad’s health issues that she minimized oil and spices in her cooking.

Yellow Dal Tadka is popular in Indian households, but to be honest, I didn’t even know dal was supposed to be made with tadka. Lol. I know right? Once I discovered tadka, I fell in love with dal. It’s my comfort food on days when I don’t feel like cooking, after a vacation, or when I’m sick. Needless to say, nowadays, my mom only makes me dal with tadka.

Toor Dal Tadka – inspired by my mother-in-law

Toor Dal in English is split pigeon peas, also known as tuvar dal and arhar dal. This Toor Dal Tadka is an easy Instant Pot recipe that’s inspired by my mother-in-law. When she makes dal, she cooks the ginger, garlic, lentils, and water together. In addition to these ingredients, I also added one green chili and tomatoes. Cook the dal on high pressure and top off the cooked dal with a tempering of spices resulting in the most flavorful dal. Enjoy with Jeera Rice, papad, and achaar.

If you love lentils, make sure to check out my Instant Pot Masoor Dal, Green Moong Dal (Sabut Moong Dal), Andhra-style Tomato Dal (Tomato Pappu), and of course, hearty & delicious Dal Makhani without cream.


Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Healthy – Split Pigeon Peas are a rich source of protein and fiber.
  • Easy To Make – Add all the main ingredients to the Instant Pot and high pressure. Once done, pour over the tadka (tempering) and enjoy with hot basmati rice. A perfect meal for weekdays.
  • Comfort Food – Toor Dal is a comforting dish that’s perfect any time of the year. Its creamy texture with a mild spiciness is warming and satisfying.
  • Makes Great Leftovers – Toor Dal Tadka tastes even better the next day making it ideal for leftovers since the flavors will continue to develop. Enjoy leftovers with rice, or pair with roti and sabzi such as Aloo Palak, Bhindi Fry, or Jeera Aloo.
  • Vegan – This dish is completely vegan and so satisfying. Feel free to substitute oil for ghee and you’ve got yourself a delicious vegetarian meal.

Ingredients

Ingredients for toor dal tadka.
  • Toor Dal / Split Pigeon Peas – Wash the lentils well, about 5-6 times. Then soak the lentils in water for 30 minutes before rinsing and draining them.
  • Ginger & Garlic – You will need lots of freshly chopped ginger and garlic. I know it seems like a lot, but they will add a ton of flavor to the dal.
  • Oil – When tempering spices, use a high-heat oil such as avocado oil. The oil should be very hot before adding the whole spices otherwise your dal won’t be as flavorful.

*See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.*


Substitutions & Variations

  • Dal Variation – This recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of toor dal. You can use 1/2 toor dal and 1/2 yellow moong dal in this recipe. Alternatively, you may use 1/3 toor dal, 1/3 moong dal, and 1/3 masoor dal. Both these combinations work well. Adjust water consistency as needed.
  • More Spicy – You may add extra green chili to the uncooked dal for more spice. You may also increase the dry red chilies quantity as needed. Lastly, you may add red chili powder (cayenne) before cooking.
  • Ghee instead of Oil – If you prefer ghee, substitute oil for ghee, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of ghee for the tadka. This dish is no longer vegan if you use ghee.
  • Gluten-free Option – Use gluten-free asafoetida (hing) or skip it.

How To Make Toor Dal Tadka Recipe In The Instant Pot?

STEP 1 – Cook Soaked Dal in an Instant Pot

1. Wash Dal – Add washed, soaked, rinsed, and drained dal to the Instant Pot along with 4 cups of water. (Image 1)

2. Add Flavors – Add chopped ginger and garlic, along with slit green chili. (Image 2)

3. Now add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir. (Image 3)

4. High Pressure – Close the Instant Pot and HIGH PRESSURE for 8 minutes. Allow the dal to naturally release before opening. (Image 4)

Cook dal with ginger, garlic, green chilies, and tomatoes in the Instant pot.

5. Dal is cooked, this is what you should have. (Image 5)

6. Remove the saponins, a white foam that forms over the dal. You can use a spoon to remove them. (Image 6)

Remove the white foam on top of the dal.

7. Once done, whisk the dal well. (Image 7)

Whisk the dal.

STEP 2 – Prepare the Tadka

8. Prepare Tadka – Heat a tadka pot (or small pan) over medium heat and add oil. (Image 8)

9. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and wait for them to sizzle. Then add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle as well. (Image 9)

10. Next add asafoetida and dry red chilies. Saute for a minute. (Image 10)

11. Now add Kashmiri chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you can smell the aroma of the tadka. (Image 11)

Prepare the tadka with Indian spices.

12. Add tadka to the dal. Mix well. (Image 12)

13. Add lots of chopped cilantro. Adjust salt as needed. (Image 13)

Add tadka and cilantro to the dal, and mix well.

Recipe Tips

Oil for Tadka – Use a high-heat oil such as avocado oil. Heat the oil until it’s very hot before adding the spices. This results in a more flavorful dal.

Dal Consistency – The longer the dal sits, the thicker it gets. Feel free to add more water as needed and press saute on the Instant Pot when ready to heat the dal.

Natural Release – Let the dal naturally release in the Instant Pot, there is no need for a manual release.

Remove White Foam from Dal – Once the dal is cooked, white foam may form which is referred to as saponins. Use a spoon to remove the white foam. This will help achieve a smoother consistency and cleaner taste. Then proceed to whisk the dal.

How to Serve?

→ Toor Dal Tadka goes best with Jeera Rice, yogurt/raita, kachumber salad, papad, or achaar. Any combination works, but rice is a must!

→ Serve with roti and any dry sabzi such as Bhindi Fry, Jeera Aloo, Aloo Shimla Mirch, Kadai Aloo Baingan, or Aloo Palak.

→ For a healthier option, opt for brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice.

Dal and rice mixed together served with a side of aloo palak (spinach and potatoes fry) with a spoon.

More Dal Recipes!

5 from 2 votes

Toor Dal Tadka (Instant Pot)

By: Nisha
Instant Pot Toor Dal Tadka is split pigeon peas cooked with ginger, garlic, and tomatoes, and topped with a tempering of Indian spices. These lentils are quick & easy to make and provide a nourishing, healthy, and delicious weeknight meal.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
High Pressure Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients 

FOR INSTANT POT DAL

  • 1 1/2 cups toor dal
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ginger, chopped, about 2 inches
  • 3 tbsp garlic, chopped, about 6 large cloves
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green chili, slit in half
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt

FOR TADKA (TEMPERING)

  • 2 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida/hing
  • 3 dry red chilies, broken
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder

FOR GARNISH

  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Save this recipe!
Get this recipe sent to your inbox! Plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

STEP 1 – Cook Soaked Dal in an Instant Pot

  • Wash the dal several times and soak for 30 minutes. Add rinsed and drained dal to the Instant Pot along with 4 cups of water. Also add chopped ginger and garlic, slit green chili, chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir.
  • High Pressure – Close the Instant Pot and HIGH PRESSURE for 8 minutes. Allow the dal to naturally release before opening.
  • Remove White Foam – Once dal is cooked, remove the saponins, a white foam that forms over the dal. You can use a spoon to remove them. Then whisk the dal well.

STEP 2 – Prepare the Tadka

  • Prepare Tadka – Heat a tadka pot over medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and wait for them to sizzle. Then add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle as well. Next add asafoetida and dry red chilies. Saute for a minute. Now add Kashmiri chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you can smell the aroma of the tadka.
  • Add tadka to the dal. Mix well. Then add lots of chopped cilantro. Adjust salt as needed.

Notes

This recipe was first published on September 24, 2019, and has been modified and updated since.
  • Oil for Tadka – Use a high-heat oil such as avocado oil. Heat the oil until it’s very hot before adding the spices. This results in a more flavorful dal.
  • Dal Consistency – The longer the dal sits, the thicker it gets. Feel free to add more water as needed and press saute on the Instant Pot when ready to heat the dal.
  • Remove White Foam from Dal – Once the dal is cooked, white foam may form which is referred to as saponins. Use a spoon to remove the white foam. This will help achieve a smoother consistency and cleaner taste. Then proceed to whisk the dal.
  • More Spicy – You may add extra green chili to the uncooked dal for more spice. You may also increase the dry red chilies quantity as needed. Lastly, you may add red chili powder (cayenne) before cooking.
  • Gluten-free Option – Use gluten-free asafoetida (hing) or skip it.
  • Ghee instead of Oil – If you prefer ghee, substitute oil for ghee, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of ghee for the tadka. This dish is no longer vegan if you use ghee.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 515mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @honeywhatscooking or tag #honeywhatscooking!

Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.


Subscribe to get my latest recipes!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

You May Also Like

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




10 Comments

    1. HI Jon. Sorry for the late response (my site had a makeover). This recipe makes 5 servings. 1 serving is most likely 1 cup – however this is just an estimate. Note – this recipe will be updated soon – version 2.0 coming soon!

    1. HI Gauri. No. I don’t so the dal gets nice and soft. I wait about 15 minutes once the IP starts the timer.

    1. Hi Ria. If you have a pressure cooker, you can use that. I’m not sure how many whistles you need. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I would Google to find out how to make dal in a regular pot. Once that’s done, you can add this tadka on top. Hope that helps.

  1. You have thoroughly explained to make this dish, will try to make this dish according to your method.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. HI Ritesh. So glad to hear that. Send me a picture on Instagram once you make it, would love to share. 🙂