Dal Fry (Spiced Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot)

dal fry in a black bowl

A simple and quick dal fry recipe. Serve with warm naan or white rice for an easy, no-fuss meal.





  1. Wash and soak the dal in 2 cups water.
  2. Mince the ginger and garlic.
  3. Dice the onion.
  4. Chop the tomato.


  1. Turn on the instant pot and press the saute button. Wait for the display to show HOT. Add the ghee and cumin seeds.
  2. After a few seconds, add the diced onion. Fry for 2 minutes or until the onions soften.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, tomato, powdered spices (red chilli, turmeric and coriander) and salt. Roast this masala for 2 minutes, adding splashes of water to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cancel the saute mode.
  4. Add the lentils along with the water in which they were soaked. Close the lid, make sure the steam valve is set to sealing, press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 5 minutes. When the timer beeps, wait for 10 minutes, then release the rest of the steam by turning the steam valve to venting. Open the lid.
  5. If the lentils are too thick, add 1/4 cup water and mash with the back of a spoon. Press the saute button again and simmer for 2 minutes so that the lentils get incorporated into the liquid.
  6. Take it out in a bowl and garnish with parsley or cilantro. Serve hot with naan or white rice.


  1. If you want a vegan dal fry, use corn oil instead of ghee.
  2. For a non-spicy dal, substitute the red chilli powder with paprika.
  3. If you don’t have pigeon pea lentils, make this dal with red lentils. In this case, wash the lentils but don’t soak them, reduce the pressure cooking time to 3 minutes, and release pressure after 5 minutes.
  4. Look at the body of the post to cook the dal and rice together in the instant pot.


Keywords: dal fry, Indian lentil soup, toor dal, instant pot lentils