This Instant Pot Split Red Lentil (Masoor) Dal curry is a quick, easy, and authentic Pakistani/North Indian-style dal recipe. It's naturally gluten-free, vegetarian (or optional vegan), and cooks within minutes!
Place lentils in a small bowl and fill with water. Use your hand to swirl the dal around until the water becomes murky. Tip the bowl to take out the excess water and repeat until the water runs clear. Remove any debris, strain the dal, and set aside.
Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add the oil, cumin seeds, and onions.
Sauté until the onions turn lightly golden, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and green chili pepper and continue to sauté for another minute until the raw smell disappears and the color of the onion deepens. Add the tomato and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Add the spice powders (red chili, turmeric, cumin, coriander) and stir. Add in the rinsed dal and 1 ½ cups of water.
Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 6 minutes at high pressure.
Let the venting naturally release for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam.
Open the pot and turn to Sauté mode again. Add the salt and ghee and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to smooth out and thicken the dal. Press Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot.
Add chopped cilantro, lemon juice, and garam masala (if using). Give it a stir.
Serve dal hot with rice, roti, naan or other bread. I like to serve it with some chopped onions, carrots or cucumber on the side.