What is Sultani dal?
Sultani dal is a type of a Mughlai dal. This dal recipe originated from the nawabs of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is a rich and creamy dal with a smoky flavor to it.
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.
Sultani dal is made from toovar dal (split pigeon peas). This dal is very easy to make. Yogurt, milk, 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.
This is a smoked dal. There is an interesting way to make it. In order to give the dal a smoky flavor a piece of burning charcoal needs to be be placed in a bowl on the top of the dal. Then, a tablespoon of ghee is added to the burning coal. That enables the coal to burn further and give out smoke. The pot is then covered with a lid so that the smoke can penetrate the dal. The lid needs to be left on for about a minute or two.
The dal is then garnished with saffron water, to give it a Mughlai touch.
Sultani dal is a very popular North Indian dish and found in restaurants all over India. I have created a one pot Sultani dal recipe in the instant pot. Quick, fast, and easy. #fastcurries
In the actual recipe the dal is boiled and the onions, 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 sultani dal recipe in the instant pot. It totally worked!
Instant Pot Sultani Dal / Instant Pot Lentil Soup Made with Yogurt and Cream
- 4 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 whole black cardamom pods (kali elaichi)
- 2 whole dried red chili peppers
- 1 finely chopped small red onion (roughly 1.5 cups chopped)
- 1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste (freshly minced or packaged)
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder (ground cayenne pepper)
- 1 and 3/4 cups water (divided)
- 1 and 1/4 tsp salt (you can add more later if needed)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (haldi powder)
- 1 cup toovar dal/toor dal (split pigeon peas)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt whisked with a fork
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
- 7 saffron strands soaked in 1 tablespoon water (for garnish) (kesar)
- 1 piece fast light charcoal
- Rinse the dal a few times and discard the water.
- Wash and finely chop the onion and cilantro.
- 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 3 tablespoons ghee to the pot. Leave 1 tablespoon aside for the coal.
- When the ghee is hot add the cumin seeds.
- When the cumin seeds splutter, add the cardamoms and whole dried red chili peppers.
- Then add the finely chopped onions.
- When the onions turn golden in roughly 2 to 4 minutes add the ginger garlic paste. Stir
- Then add red chili powder, 1/2 cup water, salt, and turmeric. Stir and sauté for one minute.
- Add the dal and stir.
- Add the remaining 1 and 1/4 cup water and give it a good stir. 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.
- 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 and add the milk and give it a stir.
- Add the yogurt slowly mixing it gradually one spoon at a time.
- Then add the heavy whipping cream, stir, and continue to sauté for about 30 seconds.
- Press cancel.
- Burn a coal on the gas flame. Let the smell out for a minute.
- Add the burning coal in stainless steel bowl. Put the bowl in the dal.
- Add ghee to the burning coal. That enables the smoke to increase.
- Cover the pot with a lid and let the dal soak some smoke from the charcoal for about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dal in a serving bowl right away.
- Garnish with saffron water and and fresh cilantro leaves.
- 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.
- I use the fast light charcoal. It is easy and quick to burn. They are called charcoal tablets or hookah coals and are available on amazon or any hookah store. They can be found in some Indian grocery stores as well.
- 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, and whole dried red chili peppers, can be discarded, they don’t need to be consumed).