This Lentils Curry is super easy to make & very flavorful. Instructions to cook LENTILS for salads & side are also included in notes.

 CourseMain Course, Side Dish


 KeywordBrown Lentils, Dal, instant pot vegetarian recipes, Lentils Curry

 Prep Time5 minutes

 Cook Time20 minutes




  • Measuring Spoons, Measuring Cups, Stirring Spoon,
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Instant Pot 6 quart or Mealthy Multipot
  • Inner Pot
  • Kitchen Spatula


  • 1 cup Brown Lentils whole, dry
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger finely chopped
  • 1 small Green Chili finely chopped (optional) skip to reduce heat. May use 1 jalapeno (de seeded and membranes removed) too.
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro / Coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Red Chili powder or Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala you can use 1/2 tsp to make it milder
  • 1 piece Black Cardamom optional (it adds smoky flavor to the lentils)
  • 1&1/2 tsp Salt or to taste

Dal Tempering (optional)

  • 1 tbsp Ghee or Cooking Oil (for vegans)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder or Paprika skip it for mildly flavored dal


Always read the whole recipe first then start prepping. Gather the ingredients. ALWAYS READ THE NOTES for tips, storage, substitutes and more options.

  • First and foremost, wash the Whole Brown Lentils(dry) under running water 3-4 times. Set aside. Finely chop ginger, green chili & cilantro leaves and set aside.
  • Now put the Stainless Steel Inner Pot inside the Instant Pot and plug it in. 
  • Add washed washed Brown Lentils, Water, Turmeric powder, Red chili powder or Paprika, Garam Masala, Salt, Black Cardamom (optional), finely chopped ginger, & green chili. Give it a good stir. NOTE – You may add any seasoning of your choice at this point (see notes for more options). Or you can also choose to add 1 tbsp of good quality CURRY POWDER in case you want to avoid the list of spices mentioned.
  • Why Black Cardamom? – Although black cardamom is not commonly used in this recipe, but I love to add it because of its smoky flavor. It adds so much flavor and aroma to the lentil curry while cooking. You can skip it if you do not like it.
  • Place the lid and secure it. Set the valve to SEALING. Press the PRESSURE COOK BUTTON and set it on high for 14 minutes. Once the timer goes off, follow NPR (natural pressure release). This will yield nice thick, creamy & soft Dal.
  • If you do not want the dal to be very soft, then pressure cook for 12 minutes and follow QPR after 10 minutes. 
  • Open the lid. Give it a good stir with the Kitchen Cooking Spoon. Your Brown Lentil Curry or Sabut Masoor Dal is Ready. Add chopped Cilantro leaves & Squeeze about 1 -2 tsp of lemon juice on top and mix. Serve it hot.

EMPERING (optional) – Adds so much flavor to the Dal

  • Heat 1 tbsp Ghee or Oil for Vegans in a small pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tsp Cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add 1/4-1/2 tsp Red chili powder or Paprik to it and switch off the heat. Add this hot on top of the dal. You can skip red chili powder in case you want to keep it mild. Also if you do not want to make the tempering, just add 1 tbsp of Pure Ghee on top and mix.

Serving Suggestion

  • You can serve these with RICE or Naan/Pita with some cut salad on the side.


  • Follow the same recipe and ingredients above. Add all of the ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan with 5 cups of water/broth. Bring it to a boil and simmer on low heat till the lentils are soft and cooked. It might take 25-30 minutes on stove top. If the water gets less, then add some more warm water and cook further.


What kind of Lentils can I use for this recipe?

I normally cook with Brown Lentils. But you can use Black Lentils or Green Lentils also for this recipe. Red lentils are split so they will cook faster. Therefore this time and water ratio wouldn’t work for red lentils. Check out our Red Lentils Dal Recipe for the right measurements and timings. Dry lentils cook really well in Instant Pot. 

Is it necessary to soak lentils before cooking?

Brown Lentils are easy to cook. Although you can choose to soak them for 10 minutes, but you can cook them without soaking too. 

What is the right ratio of water to Brown lentils? For how long should I cook Lentils in Instant Pot?

Since we are talking about the right ratio and time, then it can vary depending upon how you intend to use the lentils in your recipe. This does not apply to red lentils.

Instant Pot Lentils for Soups and Curries

The ratio  is 1:3, where 1 is for dry brown lentils and 3 is for water or broth. Remember, the lentils swell up and thicken as they sit longer.

For more creamy & comforting texture that means slightly mushed lentils, you will cook it for 14 minutes with NPR (natural pressure release). This is our family favorite way of eating lentils.

Instant Pot Lentils for Salads

The ratio is 1:1.5 (1&half), where 1 is for dry lentils and 1.5 is for water or broth. You will cook it for 8 minutes and then do QPR (quick pressure release) for firm bite that is required for the salads.

Instant Pot Lentils as Side

The ratio is 1:2, where 1 is for dry lentils and 2 is for water or broth. You will cook it for 12 minutes and then do NPR (natural pressure release) for just the right bite that is soft and not mushy.

How can I flavor Brown Lentils?

Brown lentils have an amazing flavor profile that is meaty, tender and intense. You can use it in salads, soups, curries, and much more. Here are some flavoring options if you do not like Indian Curry or want more options.

  • Spice these up with Cajun seasoning. 
  • Italian seasoning works very well too.
  • You can add salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder & oregano.
  • Middle Eastern Spices will work very well with the lentils.
  • Tex Mex Taco seasoning will work wonders.
  • Salt, Pepper, & lemon juice with fresh herbs make a simple yet delicious addition.

Can I make it ahead of time?

That’s the beauty of lentils that you can make it ahead of time. These are great for MEAL PREPS and can add as a delicious side or a full meal in itself. 

How to store the leftovers?

The leftover lentils can easily be refrigerated. These will stay good for up to a week when stored in an air-tight container.

Can I freeze the cooked lentils?

Although I have never frozen the lentils, but most of the cooked beans & lentils can stay good when frozen for 6 months.

How do you eat the cooked lentils?

If you are making a dal or curry with the dry lentils, then you can serve these with RICE or Naan/Pita.

When you prepare it as a soup, then a good loaf of bread and salad on the side is super.

Kitchen Gadget for the Recipe

Instant Pot

Stainless Steel Inner Pot

Chopping board and Knife

Measuring Cups & Spoon

Kitchen Cooking Spoon


Serving: 4people | Calories: 10kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3236mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg