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Dhaba Style Dal Fry – Instant Pot Version

This Dhaba Style Dal Fry – Instant Pot Version makes the perfect lazy weeknight dinner. This recipe is naturally vegetarian, and gluten-free. Easy to make in the Instant Pot and packed with taste, This recipe is sure to warm you up.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Servings 4


For Dal




  • Finely rinse and dice the onion.
  • Rinse and chop the tomato and slit the green chili verticallybut keep it still intact. Rinse and chop the cilantro finely and set it aside.
  • Rinse the dal with water a couple of times and set aside.


  • Select sauté on the Instant Pot. Add ghee to the pot. Then add in cumin seeds. After the cumin seeds splutter add in onions and ginger garlic paste. Stir well.
  • After the onions turn golden brown, add in tomatoes, salt, Kashmiri chili powder, ground coriander, garam masala, serrano pepper, and ground turmeric.
  • Sauté the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes until mushy. Keep stirring intermittently. Further add the rinsed dal and water. Stir it all up.
  • Press cancel. Close the lid and select manual for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then quick release the pressure. Finally open the lid and garnish with lemon juice.


  • Once the dal has been cooked and the lemon juice has been added, in a pan on medium-heat, add in 2 tablespoons ghee.
  • Once the ghee is warm add in cumin seeds, asafoetida, minced garlic finely, and whole dried chili pepper.
  • Let is sauté for a minute until the cumin seeds splutter and garlic becomes fragrant. Watch it or else the garlic can burn. Further add in Kashmiri chili powder and stir for a few seconds. Transfer to the dal right away or else the garlic and chili can burn. Mix the dal well. Finally, top the dal with cilantro.


This dal tends to thicken if kept in the refrigerator for the next day. You can add a little boiling water to thin it as needed. You can reduce the red chili powder or eliminate the serrano pepper as per your spice tolerance. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would place this dal at 3 in terms of spice levels, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.
Keyword Arhar Dal, Dal Fry, Dhaba Dal, Dhaba Style Dal Fry, Easy Instant Pot Lentil Soup, Easy Lentil Soup, Instant Pot Arhar Dal, Instant Pot Dal, Instant pot Dal Fry, Instant Pot Dal Tadka, Instant Pot Toor Dal