Instant Pot Kali Dal
**Original blog posted March 2020. Updated March 2022**
Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with. It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them. I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least every 2 weeks.
I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories. With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up. An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish. Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family. I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal. It was A-MA-ZING! It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor. Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed. I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops. So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me. I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it. I know, I know, why? I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there. The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor. You really need to try out this recipe. It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.
Instant Pot Kali Dal
- 1 c black gram lentils
- ¼ c dry kidney beans
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 med onion, finely chopped
- 1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger
- 1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
- ½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp dry mango powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp EVOO
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp ghee (use oil to make this vegan)
- cilantro to garnish
- Mix the lentils and kidney beans together, wash them 2-3 times then leave water in to soak while you prepare the gravy.
- Set instant pot to sauté mode.
- Add oil and let heat up. Add hing and let it bloom for 30 seconds.
- Add in the onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until translucent.
- Add in 1 Tbsp each of ginger and garlic. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes, coriander powder, dry mango powder, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp of salt. Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have mostly melted and the spices have cooked through.
- Drain the water from the lentils/beans. Add them to the gravy along with remaining ½ Tbsp of ginger and garlic, and ½ tsp of salt. Mix well, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add 3 cups water and cover the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position. Turn off the instant pot and change setting to pressure cook or manual setting.
- Set time for 45 minutes. When the time is done, release the pressure, open the lid and mix the dal.
- On med heat, in a small pan, heat ghee. When it’s melted and heated, add in cumin seeds and garam masala. Let them splutter and bloom for 30 seconds then add to the dal.
- Mix everything and change setting on instant pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve hot with rice or naan. Enjoy!
Here are the tools I used for this recipe: