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Holding a plate of chana dal with a spoon in it

Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Dal

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This is an easy Pakistani Chana Dal made in the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker). Chana Dal (or Split Chickpeas) are cooked with spices and given a simple tadka for an easy dinner. Naturally gluten-free and Vegan optional.
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Dal, Pakistani Chana Dal
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Tadka 10 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 238



To Pressure Cook

  • 3/4 cup chana dal – yellow split chickpeas rinsed several times and then drained (See Note 1)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small to medium tomato finely chopped
  • 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder or more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

For the Tadka (Tempering)

  • 2 tbsp ghee or sub butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small yellow onion (or ½ medium onion) thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 small green chili pepper (or sub 4-5 whole red chili pepper) chopped


  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 inch ginger julienned
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped


To Pressure Cook

  • Add all the ingredients listed under ‘To Pressure Cook’ to the Instant Pot and mix to combine.
  • Secure the lid and set valve to Sealing. Select the Manual/Pressure Cook setting and set time to 22 minutes (See Note 2) on High Pressure.
  • Once dal is cooked, allow pressure to release for 5 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.


  • In a medium sauté pan, heat oil and ghee over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds. Add the onions and sauté until they turn golden (~5-6 minutes).
  • Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and set to Less to heat the dal.
  • Add the garlic to the tarka and sauté until the raw smell disappears, about a minute. Add the green chili pepper and sauté for another minute.
    Black skillet with onions, cumin seeds, garlic and green chili pepper for the tadka.
  • Transfer the tadka to the dal in the Instant pot. Continue to simmer on low Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until you reach the desired consistency. Use a wooden spoon to mash dal against the edges to enhance texture.
  • Cancel Sauté. Add the garam masala and lemon juice and give it a stir. Top with the cilantro and ginger. Serve alongside achaar and chopped crunchy vegetables.


Note 1: If you pre-soak the dal, pressure cook for 18-20 minutes depending on how long you soaked it.
Note 2: Timing varies depending on the type/age of chana dal. If your dal is new, you may need to decrease pressure cook time by 8-10 minutes. If, after 22 minutes, the chana dal is still tough, cover and pressure cook again for 3-4 minutes.


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 705mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg