Pressure Cooker Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentils) with Spinach

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Every time I have made an Indian dal, I tell myself that I really need to make it in a pressure cooker to save time. Spotting several dal recipes in a pressure cooker cookbook made me take the plunge. Such a time saver! This dish cooks on high pressure for only ONE minute… What have I (or you!) been waiting for? 🙂

This dal is super creamy and thick. I loved that it was loaded with fresh spinach. We ate it served over brown Basmati rice, but because we love scooping it up with naan or roti, bread was an essential add-on to this meal as well. This recipe was adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia. I think this will wrap up my recent pressure cooker frenzy- for now, at least! 🙂

For the Dal Base:

  • 4 cups dried masoor (red split lentils)
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 T vegetable oil
  • 4 to 6 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 T peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 T pressed garlic
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp amchoor (mango powder) (I omitted this)
  • 2 to 4 tsp coarse salt, to taste
  • boiling water, to adjust texture to taste

For the Tadka:

  • 6 T ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 strips of lemon zest
  1. Rinse and drain the red split lentils. Pour into a medium bowl, cover with water and let soak for about 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse, drain, and then add to the base of the pressure cooker.
  2. Add the water, oil, spinach, ginger, garlic, garam masala, turmeric, and amchoor (if using).
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker; cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally as the pot lowers in temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes. (The dal will continue to cook.)
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the tadka: Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, stir in the bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and the paprika.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest. Stir well.
  7. When the cooker is open, mix the dal well and add the salt. Adjust the consistency with boiling water as you desire.
  8. Pour the tadka over the dal just before serving. Stir to incorporate, if desired.

Note: Leftover dal can be made into fritters, pan-fried, and served with tzatziki or tahini sauce. Great!!

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