My instant pot spinach dal is a simple, almost dump and go recipe. Perfect for an easy midweek meal. Served with pot in pot rice.
How do I make spinach dal in the instant pot?
This recipe is really easy to make and should be ready start to finish in less than 30 minutes.
If your doing pot in pot rice, first rinse the rice with cold water for a couple of minutes until the water begins to run clear. Now add it to a container which will fit in the instant pot. Add the salt and cold water. Leave on the side until needed.
Set the pot to saute and when it's hot add the ghee. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds and fry for around 1 minute to release the flavours - the smell will be absolutely amazing!
Now add the garlic, chili and turmeric before seasoning to taste. Add the lentils and boiling water. Stir well together.
Add a tall trivet to the pot and then put the pot in pot rice on top. Put the lid on the instant pot and set to 9 minutes at high pressure. When the time is up, leave it under pressure for another 9 minutes before doing a quick release. Once the pin has dropped remove the lid followed by the perfectly cooked rice and the trivet.
Stir through the spinach and garam masala and then put the lid back on until the spinach has wilted (this should take around 2 minutes).
Remove the lid, stir and serve over the rice garnished with coriander (cilantro) if desired.
What are the ingredients in spinach dal?
This really is a simple list with all the ingredients except coriander (cilantro) generally being from the store cupboard.
- Ghee or coconut oil.
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Salt and pepper
- Red lentils
- Garam masala
- Coriander (cilantro)
- Basmati rice
Of all the curries I have made, this must be the simplest list to give such a great taste.
Can I do any substitutions if all the ingredients are not available?
To give the authentic taste of dal it is not easy to make too many changes to this recipe, however the following should be OK without changing the taste too much.
- Instead of ghee, you could use coconut oil or even vegetable oils like rape seed (canola).
- You could use powdered garlic and chili instead of fresh
- Brown, green or puy lentils will also work fine in this recipe.
Not too many options, but at least it gives the dish some flexibility.
What should I serve with spinach dal?
I served mine garnished with coriander (cilantro) and with a side serving of broccoli, but any leafy green vegetable would be good. You could also serve with naan bread, chapatis and some Indian snacks like onion bhajis.
Can instant pot spinach dal be made vegan?
It is very easy to turn the recipe into one suitable for vegan's. Simply replace the ghee with vegetable ghee or with coconut oil or any suitable vegetable oil.
Is this spinach dal recipe healthy?
Absolutely. With a great range of all natural ingredients and being low in fat, this recipe is suitable for any well balanced diet. If you want to further cut back on saturated fat, just substitute coconut or vegetable oil for the ghee.
Can this recipe be scaled up or down?
You could easily double the recipe in all pots 6l (6qt) and above and the recipe would half well in all size pots. In either case, all timings should remain exactly the same. Pot in pot rice will not, however fit in the 3l (3qt) pot and so you would have to make it separately.
Instant pot spinach dal
- 3 tbsp Ghee Coconut oil or vegetable ghee if vegan.
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 5 Cloves Garlic (roughly chopped)
- 1 Whole Chili (roughly chopped)
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- Season to taste
- 200 g Red lentils
- 600 ml Water (boiling)
- 200 g Spinach
- ½ tsp Garam masala
- 1 Bunch Coriander (cilantro) To garnish
Pot in pot rice
- 500 g Basmati rice (rinsed and drained)
- 750 ml Cold water
- 1 tsp Salt
- Add the oil to the instant pot and set to saute. When the oil is hot put the cumin and mustard seeds into the oil and fry for around 1 minute.
- Add the garlic, chili and turmeric. Season to taste.
- Now add the lentils and boiling water.
- Put a tall trivet in the instant pot and add the rinsed rice, salt and cold water in a bowl which will fit below the pot lid (you can omit this step and cook the rice traditionally if desired).
- Put the lid on the instant pot and set on high pressure for 9 minutes. Leave under pressure for a further 9 minutes and then do a quick release.
- Remove the lid and the trivet with the cooked rice.
- Stir through the spinach and garam masala. Put the lid back on and leave until the spinach wilts (around 2 minutes).
- Serve with the rice garnished with fresh coriander.
I made mine using an 8l (8qt) instant pot and I have also made it in the 6l (6qt) pot. I haven’t made it in the 3l (3qt) pot, but I’m sure it would work just as well with the same timings.
Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and will freeze well for around 6 months. Dal will reheat really well and will almost certainly taste even better when warmed up as the flavours have more time to develop.
For some interesting information about dal, please click here.
If you have enjoyed my recipe for instant pot spinach dal, please check out some of my other great curry and vegetarian recipes:
- Instant pot chicken tikka masala recipe
- Instant pot spaghetti aglio e olio
- Instant pot broccoli and cheese soup
- Instant pot chicken dopiaza
- Instant pot kedgeree
For any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them in the box below and I would be delighted to help.