metal bucket of red lentils with tempered oil on top with chili and garlic top half

Every Day Instant Pot Masoor (Red Lentil) Daal

This Instant Pot Masoor (Red Lentil) Daal recipe is the perfect weekday meal. It is simple to make with minimal prep work. Lentils are healthy and hearty packed with nutrients, fiber, and protein.

Like many people, I try to cut down my meat consumption and focus on trying to eat more vegetables and plant-based proteins. Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.

Daal Chawal or Lentils and Rice is a staple in every Indian household. Each household makes daal chawal differently depending on the regions and personal preferences. It is a hearty and healthy meal that takes less than 10 minutes in the Instant Pot. This recipe calls for red lentils, tomatoes, turmeric, asafetida, cumin seeds, garlic cloves, dried chilies, and paprika.

Cook red lentils with tomatoes, turmeric, and salt in the Instant Pot. Tadka is made with oil, asafetida, cumin seeds, garlic, paprika, and dried chilies. 

How to Cook Red Lentils in the Instant Pot:

Rinse the red lentils under running water a few times until the water is clear. This step is important as it removes some of the starch from the lentils that may cause indigestion.

Next, place the red lentils, tomato, turmeric, salt and water to the Instant Pot. Cook on Low Pressure for 6 minutes.

Once the lentils have cooked, release the pressure and remove the lid. Use a potato masher or spoon to mash the lentils and tomatoes.

In a separate small pot, temper oil to make the tadka and pour over cooked lentils and combine.

What is tadka? 

Tadka is a cooking technique that has been in existence for hundreds of years. Temper the spices by heating the oil slowly and allow the flavors to infuse into the oil. There are many names for tadka, including tarka, chaunk, chhonk, and baghaar.

How to make Tadka?

To make the tadka, simple temper oil in a small pot or frying pan. Add the oil to the pot and let it heat up at medium heat for about 1 minute. Then add asafetida and cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds begin to sputter add sliced garlic, paprika and dried chilies (optional).

Sliced garlic is recommended over minced garlic as the minced garlic can easily burn if your oil gets too hot. Once the sliced garlic, paprika, and dried chilies are added, remove the pot from the flame and let the pot hover over the flame. Swish the oil around the pot in order to incorporate all the ingredients. Pour the tadka or tempered oil over the lentils and mix with a spoon. (Reserve a little tadka to garnish prior to serving).


What is asafetida?

Asafetida is also known as hing (Can we please normalize calling it hing as it is easier to say and read?). Hing is available as a yellow powder and comes from Ferula perennial herbs. Hing has a pungent smell similar to boiled eggs.  The smell dissipates when heated and creates a warm and comforting aroma synonymous with Indian cooking. Hing works as a flavor enhancer.

PRO TIP: Store hing and other pungent spices in a plastic container. That way your cabinets do not emit an odor and you can easily see what spices you have available.

How to eat Instant Pot Red Lentil Daal:

As mentioned above, daal goes well with plain basmati rice, which can also be made in the Instant Pot. Additionally, daal can be eaten with a dollop of plain yogurt. I enjoy eating daal with bhindi masala and some tandoori chicken!

Other Daal Recipes:


Other Indian Recipes: 

Five Myths About Indian Cooking
#1- Indian Food is Difficult to Prepare Many people believe cooking Indian …
Easy Tandoori Chicken Tikka Bites
Tandoori Chicken Tikka Bites are easy to make by marinating chunks of chicken …
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
metal bucket of red lentils with tempered oil on top with chili and garlic top down

Everyday Instant Pot Masoor (Red Lentil) Daal

  • Author: hungrygirlinqueens
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Lentils
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian


This Instant Pot Masoor (Red Lentil) Daal recipe is the perfect weekday meal. It requires minimal prep work, delcious and healthy. 



  • 1 cup Masoor Daal (Red Lentils)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, minced (optional) 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • pinch of hing (asafetida) 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced 
  • 2 broken dried red chilies (optional) 


  1. Roughly chop tomatoes, mince green chili (optional) and slice garlic. 
  2. Rinse the masoor daal (red lentils) until the water runs clear. 
  3. Place red lentils, tomatoes, green chili, salt and turneric into the Instant Pot. 
  4. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon. Place the lid on to the Instant Pot and make sure the Release Valve is on the Seal Setting
  5. Turn the Instant Pot to Low-Pressure Mode for 6 minutes. 
  6. After the pressure builds, the lentils will cook for the set 8 minutes. Then let the pressure release manually, by moving the Release Valve from the Seal Setting to the Vent Setting
  7. Remove the lid and use a potato masher to mash the lentils and tomatoes about 10 times until tomatoes are no longer chunky. 
  8. In a small pot, heat up the oil at a medium low heat for about 1 minute. 
  9. Add the hing and cumin seeds.
  10. When the cumin seeds begin to sputter, add the sliced garlic, paprika and dried chilies (optional). 
  11. Little bubbles will begin to form and the oil infuses.
  12. Swish the oil in the pot over the flame, a few times and remove from heat. 
  13. Pour tadka, or tempered oil, over the cooked lentils (reserve a little for garnish) and mix. 
  14. Pour lentils into a serving dish and pour reserved tadka on top as a garnish and serve. 


  • When Maually releasing the pressure, use a wooden spoon as hot water or hot steam will release.
  • Lift small pot off the flame if the oil is getting too hot to ensure you do not burn the spices or garlic.
  • Tadka should take about 5-7 minutes to make as it is only a small amout of oil. 

Keywords: red lentils, instant pot, masoor daal, tadka

Magical Cranberry and Orange Pound Cake
Delicious, moist, and soft pound cake flavored with orange zest and fresh …
Instant Pot Spicy Tomato and Basil Soup
Spicy and creamy tomato and basil soup is a delicious and comforting …


  1. Daal and yogurt is one of my favorite things to eat for dinner with some raw red onions! This daal was easy to make and delicious! I added some ginger because I had a little knob left and it was great!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.