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Instant Pot Shahi Dal / Instant Pot Royal Lentil Soup

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Instant Pot Shahi Dal / Instant Pot Royal Lentil Soup

What is shahi dal?
Shahi dal is a creamy lentil soup made with spices, tomatoes, milk, and almonds. It a very popular North Indian dish. The dal typically used to make shahi dal is urad dal (split black lentils). The dal needs to be soaked overnight or for at least 6 hours. I attempted to make a simplified version of this recipe in the instant pot and it turned out great!
How did I make shahi dal and what dal did I use?
I used split chickpeas/ split bengal gram lentils (chana dal) instead of urad dal. Chana dal is a yellow lentil, rounded on one side and flat on the other. Chana dal is protein-rich and is considered as a popular alternative for animal or meat protein. I soaked the chana dal for about 2 hours before cooking it.
This recipe uses a few spices, milk, cardamoms, and almonds soaked overnight, and blanched. The cooked dal has a very creamy texture.
In the traditional recipe the dal is cooked separately and the spices are sautéed in ghee and then added to the boiled dal.
I have simplified this recipe to make it quick and easy! I sautéed the onions, tomatoes, and spices and then pressure cooked the dal in the instant pot. In the end, I added the milk and cooked the dal for about 2 minutes to finish it off. Done and done! Simple, great tasting, and quick!
Prep Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Dal soaking time (included in prep time) 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4




  • Rinse the chana dal a few times and discard the water. 
  • Soak the chana dal  in 2 cups water for two hours. Discard the water once you are ready to cook.
  • Soak the almonds overnight in 1/4 cup water. Peel off the skin before cooking.
  • Wash and finely chop the onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. 


  • Select sauté on the instant pot and adjust to normal.
  • Add ghee to the pot.
  • When the ghee is hot add the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds begin to splutter in about 30 seconds add onions. Stir.
  • When the onions turn golden in roughly 2 to 4 minutes add the ginger garlic paste. Stir.
  • Add all the cardamoms and almonds.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, and let them  sauté until they get mushy. 
  • Add the red chili powder, 1/4 cup water, and stir.
  • Then add turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Stir and sauté for one to two minutes. Keep stirring.
  • Add the chana dal and stir.
  • Add the remaining 1 and 1/2 cup water and stir well. Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot well.
  • Press cancel.
  • Secure the lid on the pot and close the pressure-release valve.
  • Select manual and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • When cooking is complete, use quick pressure release to depressurize.
  • Open the lid. Select sauté again and add the milk.
  • Keep stirring until the desired consistency is reached. It should take about 2 minutes. The dal doesn’t need to be watery and is slightly thick.
  • Transfer into a serving bowl immediately.
  •  Garnish with the finely chopped fresh cilantro.


  • Enjoy with steamed rice or roti.


  • This recipe has been tried on a 6-quart instant pot. The proportions may vary depending on the size of the instant pot you choose to use.
  • Dal tends to thicken up if you refrigerate it overnight or if you reheat it. In that case add about 1/4 cup boiling water and stir.
  • Ground cayenne pepper and red chili powder can be used interchangeably as both of them make the dish spicy. So if you don’t have red chili powder you can use cayenne pepper instead.
  • The whole spices (cardamom pods can be discarded, they don’t need to be consumed).
Keyword Instant Pot Creamy Lentil Soup, Instant Pot Dal, Instant Pot Shahi Dal
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My name is Shilpa Tiku. I am a foodie and love experimenting with different cuisines. Originally a Kashmiri, born in Mumbai and currently live in Dallas.

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