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Instant Pot Mughlai Dal / Instant Pot Darbari Dal / Instant Pot Lentil Soup Made with Yogurt and Saffron

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Instant Pot Mughlai Dal / Instant Pot Darbari Dal / Instant Pot Lentil Soup Made with Yogurt and Saffron

What is Mughlai food?
Mughlai food consists of recipes / food developed in Medieval India during the Mughal Empire. Mughlai food is very popular in the Northern part of India. Mughlai cuisine is flavorful, rich, and creamy.
What is Mughlai dal?
Darbari / Mughlai dal is a mix of two lentils / dals. The two dals used in this recipe include toovar dal (split pigeon peas) and masoor dal (split red lentil). This dal is very easy to make. Yogurt and heavy whipping cream are added to the dal once it is boiled. The yogurt adds a tangy flavor and the heavy whipping cream makes it thick, rich, and creamy. The dal is then garnished with golden sautéed onions and saffron to give it a Mughlai touch.
Mughlai dal is a very popular North Indian dish and is found in restaurants all over India. I have created a one pot Mughlai dal recipe in the Instant Pot. Quick, fast, and easy. #fastcurries
In the actual recipe the dal is boiled and the onions, tomatoes, and spices are sautéed separately and are then added to the boiled dal along with the yogurt and heavy whipping cream.
I attempted to create a gourmet one pot easy, quick, and delicious Mughlai dal recipe in the instant pot. It totally worked!
So here is the recipe. Please leave your comments and feedback after you make it.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Dal soaking time (included in prep time) 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

  • 2 whole black cardamom pods

    (kali elaichi)
  • 1/2 cup toovar dal / toor dal

    (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
    (split pigeon peas)
  • 1/2 cup masoor dal

    (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
    (red lentils)
  • 3/4 finely chopped red onion (roughly 3/4 cup chopped)
  • 1/4 red onion chopped into thin long slices for garnish
  • 1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste

    (freshly minced or packaged)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 whole serrano pepper (for garnish) (green chili pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder

    (ground cayenne pepper)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups water (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

    (dhaniya powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

    (jeera powder)
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp salt (you can add more later if you need to)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt whisked with a fork
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped (for garnish) (dhainya ke patte)
  • 7 saffron strands

    soaked in 1 tablespoon water (for garnish)



  • Rinse both the dals a few times and discard the water. 
  • Soak the dals for 20 minutes in 1.5 cups water. Discard the water before cooking.
  • Wash and finely chop 3/4 of an onion, tomato, and cilantro.
  • Chop the remaining 1/4 onion into thin long slices.
  • Soak the saffron strands in water.
  • Whisk the yogurt with a fork for 30 seconds and keep it in a bowl at room temperature.


  • Select sauté on the instant pot and adjust to normal.
  • Add ghee to the pot.
  • When the ghee is hot add the finely chopped onions and cardamoms.
  • When the onions turn golden in roughly 2 to 4 minutes add the ginger garlic paste.
  • Stir and after about 30 seconds add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Sauté for a few minutes until the tomatoes get mushy. Keep stirring.
  • Then add red chili powder, 1/4 cup water, garam masala, coriander, cumin, salt, and turmeric. Stir and sauté for one minute.
  • Add both the dals and stir.
  • Add the remaining one and half 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 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a pan add one tablespoon of ghee and sauté the long onions and serrano pepper until the onions are golden. Set them aside.
  • When cooking is complete, use quick pressure release to depressurize.
  • Open the lid.
  • Select sauté again and add the yogurt slowly mixing it gradually one spoon at a time.
  • Then add the heavy whipping cream, stir, and continue to sauté for a minute .
  • Transfer the cooked dal into a serving bowl immediately.
  • Garnish with saffron water, sautéed onions, serrano pepper, and fresh cilantro.


  • Serve with steamed rice or naan (Indian flatbread).


  • 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.
  • If you like your food spicy then you can add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • 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 Darbari Dal, Instant Pot Mughlai Dal, Mughlai 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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