Instant Pot,  Vegetarian Mains

Instant Pot Chana Dal

This post may contain affiliate links.

We recently found a small Indian grocery store in a town not too far from us. I am fairly new to Indian cooking, and was simultaneously excited and intimidated by all the new ingredients lining the shelves. I picked out a few kinds of spices, as well as a bag of chana dal, which I had heard of, but not tried. Chana dal are a kind of split, dried chickpea, and are used widely in Indian cooking.

This Instant Pot Chana Dal recipe has made me fall in love with them.

The chana dal have the most perfect texture when cooked. They are soft but hold their shape, unlike some kinds of lentils which cook down to mush. This recipe only needs to pressure cook for 12 minutes in the Instant Pot, and is packed with enough flavour to really spice up your life.

Tempering the Spices

The first step in building flavour is to temper the whole spices. To do this, turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode, and heat a couple teaspoons of oil. Saute the cumin seeds and mustard seeds (I used black, but either variety is fine) until you hear them crackle. Add the dried chili pepper(s) and garlic, and cook stirring until the garlic starts to brown. Breaking your chili peppers will result in a spicier dish, so if you are cooking for this for anyone that cannot tolerate spice, just use one chili and do not break it.

Making the Rest of the Dal

Add the tomatoes to the pot. You can use one fresh tomato diced, but I usually do not keep tomatoes in the house, so I opted to used canned. I used half a 14oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, which I thought helped further enhance the flavours.

Turn off the Saute mode, and add the water, chana dal, and remaining spices. Stir to combine and make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Put on the lid, make sure the knob is turned to Sealing, and set it for High Pressure for 12 minutes.


When the time is up, allow the Instant Pot to naturally pressure release for at least 10 minutes (or completely if you wish), before turning the knob to Venting.

Remove the lid and stir. I found that when I first looked, it appeared that it was not cooked, but as I stirred it took on the texture I was expecting.

I also made Basmati rice in the Instant Pot. Use a 1:1 ratio and cook on High Pressure for six minutes.

Serve the Instant¬† Pot Chana Dal with the rice, topped with fresh coriander/cilantro and a squeeze of lemon. I also had naan with mine, because, well, it’s delicious.



Instant Pot Chana Dal

This flavourful Indian dish made from split chickpeas is sure to spice up your life
Prep Time10 mins
Pressure Cook Time12 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chana dal, Indian, Instant Pot, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2


  • Instant Pot


  • 3/4 cup chana dal (split chickpeas/garbanzo beans)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1-2 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 7 oz fire roasted tomatoes (or one fresh tomato, diced)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if want milder)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

For Serving (Optional)

  • fresh coriander/cilantro
  • lemon juice
  • Basmati rice
  • naan bread


  • Turn Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat 2 tsp of oil
  • Saute the cumin seeds and mustard seeds until they begin to crackle
  • Add minced garlic and dried chilies, cook until garlic starts to brown
  • Stir in tomatoes and turn off Saute function
  • Add water, dried spices, and chana masala to the pot. Stir well.
  • Put on the lid, turn the knob to Sealing, and set to High Pressure for 12 minutes
  • At the end of the time, allow to naturally pressure release for at least 10 minutes before venting
  • Stir well before serving over rice. Top with squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander/cilantro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *