Moong Masoor Dal or Yellow and Red Lentil Soup made using the instant pot. It's nutritious, flavorsome, and toddler approved. A staple in many Indian homes and its effortless to make.
There are so many reasons to love moong masoor dal -- it’s completely plant-based, gluten-free, protein-packed, full of flavor, and easy to make. It's the dish you want to make on those hectic days, so there is minimal cooking required. Plus, it's the ultimate comfort food in the Indian cuisine.
Moong Masoor dal is a thick, soup-like dish that combines two kinds of dals or lentils: yellow lentils (moong dal) and red lentils (masoor dal). It's warm and thick like curry. It's, especially, recommend on days we want to eat lighter because it’s easier for digestion. And it's a great meal for kids!
What is Tarka (Tempering)?
Tarka is made by tempering spices in oil. The process is almost similar to sautéing. The goal is to bring out the essential oils from the spices and create a paste. For this recipe, we temper the spices and sauté them with some onions and tomato paste.
How To Cook Moong Masoor Dal Using Instant Pot
Nothing could be simpler than cooking Moong Masoor Dal because it's as simple as turning the spices into a tarka and tossing everything into an instant pot to cook.
- Set instant pot on sauté mode. Add oil and temper the spices starting with mustard seeds. Then add the onions, other spices, garlic, ginger and tomato paste. Add a splash of water, if tempering dries up.
- Add washed lentils, water, salt and dried chili.
- Seal the lid to the Instant pot.
- Set to pressure cooker option with a 10 minute timer.
- After 10 minutes, vent the air to the Instant Pot and open it.
- If the Moong Masoor Dal is too thick, you can add a little extra water to change the consistency.
See recipe card for full details.
Moong Dal vs. Masoor Dal
Yellow lentils or moong dal are whole mung beans that have been hulled and split. This makes it quick to cook, easy to digest, and mixes well with almost any flavor. On the other hand, red lentils or masoor dal has a pleasant earthy flavor and is very common in Northern India. It is commonly used to make dal, soups and stews.
Some people ask which of the dals is better. Here’s the thing: they are all fantastic! Each dal has its own nutritional value so choose whichever serves your needs best. It just so happens that moong and masoor are the most popular because they are lowest in calories and the highest in protein. If you are looking for a way to increase protein in your vegan diet, dal is the way! Moreover, moong dal can help lower cholesterol, while masoor dal is packed with B-vitamins and minerals. Together, they are quite the powerhouse.
There is some concern about masoor causing kidney issues. However, this occurs if it is eaten in excess. Keep in mind that too much of anything can be bad for you, even when trying to eat healthy.
- Dal (Lentils) - You can use any variety of dal to make this recipe. If you only have one kind of dal, then use it for the whole quantity of the required amount of dal. Moong Dal (yellow lentils) are know to be one of the healthiest for digestion, it's okay to make this recipe using only yellow lentils (or any other kind you prefer). Another option is to add a 1:1 ratio of dal (lentils) and rice; which makes Kichari (a popular Ayurvedic healing food).
- Cooking Oil - Use any oil of your choice. I try using oils with a high smoking point for tempering. (Avocado Oil is a great choice too).
- Spices & Herbs - The Indian cuisine can be synonymous with the amount of spices used. If you want to know how you can sub for any of the spices, then check out this Spice & Herb Substitute Chart without compromising taste.
- Dalmakanki Seasoning - This is a spice blend that you purchase at the local Indian grocery store or Amazon. Or can use Garam Masala powder (much spicier) instead.
- Onions - Shallots is always a great alternative.
- Tomato Paste - If you don't have tomato paste on hand, then don't hesitate to use marinara sauce or ketch-up.
Follow the ingredient order in the recipe card when tempering spices. The taste varies depending on when and with what the seasoning ingredients are added. It, also, prevents burning of some of the ground spices.
You can find them at any grocery store near the grains or soups. Or try Amazon for convenience.
It's not required to soak before cooking. But rinse the lentils in cold water before cooking. Either way, life is easy with an instant pot.
Traditionally, Moong Masoor Dal is served with the grains, like rice, on the side. It also pairs well with roti or naan; which are known as Indian flat breads.
Personally, we ditch the rice in favor of quinoa as a healthier, less carb-y option; also for better protein in-take.
Moong dal is said to be the most enriched in protein compared to other dals. However all dals are incomplete protein foods unless they are paired with whole grain rice. Having lentils (dal) with brown rice will form a complete protein.
More Nutritious Soups & Curry Recipes
Moong Masoor Dal (Instant Pot) - Lentil Soup
- ½ cup yellow lentils (moong dal) split
- ½ cup red lentils (masoor dal)
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil unrefined
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon anise seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ cup onion diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste (or minced)
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or grated)
- ½ cup tomatoes diced
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon dalmakanki powder you can also substitute it with garam masala powder for more spice
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves dried or fresh
- 10 leafs curry fresh
- 1 whole chili dried
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups water
- Wash and drain lentils (dal). Set aside.
- Set Instapot on sauté mode, and let it heat. Heat oil and then add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start popping, then add the anise, cumin seeds and asafoetida (hing). Add the oil and temper the spices starting with mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard seeds to start popping before you add anything else.
- Next add onions and cook until translucent and fragrant. Then add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining spices: curry powder, paprika, coriander powder, cumin powder, dalmakanki powder, fenugreek leafs, and curry leafs. Note: If the tempering seems to dry up at anytime, then add a splash of water to avoid spices from burning.
- Add the washed lentils (dal), water, salt and dried chili and stir to blend the tempering with the lentils. Change the Instapot mode to pressure cook. Pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- If you find the cooked dal too thick for your liking, you can add extra water to thin the consistency.
- Season with more salt, if needed.
- Serve it hot with a side of rice, quinoa or any Indian flat bread (naan or roti).
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