Gujarati cuisine is the 'kissed with sweet' cuisine of India. Just about everything has a touch of sugar to it. And, because of religious reasons, they don't use onion or garlic in their cooking. So different from the fiery curries laden with onions in the Punjabi world. But, you'll see how in this recipe the flavor comes from the layers and layers of spices and sweet-sour mix with the sugar playing against the lime juice. Some recipes for this dal make it all in the Instant Pot - creating the tarka in the beginning on the saute setting. I didn't do that here and urge you to take the extra few steps of blending the cooked lentils down and then adding the warm tarka. The consistency feels more authentic to me. Oh, and did I mention the peanuts? I found myself actually fishing for them when I ate this over my plain, boiled rice. Most mainstream grocers don't sell raw peanuts, but you can get them from an Indian grocer. Alternatively, just use unsalted peanuts if available. Also, if you don't have curry leaves just leave them out for now. Please make this recipe and let me know what you think. Post a photo and use the hashtag #IndianInstantPot so that I see your beautiful creations.
Gujarati Pigeon Pea Dal
Pressure Cooker Size: 3Q or larger
Warm Up: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Cool Down: Natural release
TOTAL: 23 minutes plus natural release time and sauté time
Makes: 6 cups
1 cup duhli toor dal (dried, split, and skinned pigeon peas)), picked over and washed
2 tablespoons raw, unsalted peanuts (optional)
4 cups water
1 – 2 tablespoons gur (jaggery) or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
For Tarka (Tempering)
2 teaspoons oil or ghee
1 pinch hing (asafoetida) (optional)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cassia leaves or bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
4 whole dried red chiles, broken in pieces
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, minced
1-3 Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and sliced lengthwise
1 small tomato, finely diced
10 fresh curry leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
1. Soak the toor dal in boiled, hot water for at least 10 minutes. Drain and discard the water.
2. In a separate bowl, soak the peanuts in boiled, hot water. Let them sit until you are ready to use them.
3. Place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot and add the dal and water. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button until the panel indicates MORE and adjust the time to pressure cook on HIGH for 8 minutes.
4. Once the cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally. Once complete, press CANCEL and open the lid. With an immersion blender, process the cooked dal until it is completely smooth. You can also use a whisk or transfer the dal to a blender.
5. Add drained peanuts, sugar, and salt. Stir well. Set the dal aside.
6. On your stovetop warm oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the hing, turmeric, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, dried red chiles, mustard, cumin, and fenugreek seeds. Cook about 40 seconds until the seeds sizzle.
7. Add ginger, fresh chiles, and tomato. Stir well and cook 1 minute.
8. Add curry leaves and stir until wilted.
9. Carefully transfer this mixture to the cooked dal in the Instant Pot. Stir well.
10. Press the SAUTE button and from the moment the dal starts to simmer, cook for 5 minutes with the lid off. This step helps the dal and tarka come together.
11. Press CANCEL. Add the cilantro and lemon or lime juice. Stir again and serve piping hot over plain basmati rice. You can remove the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick or leave them in for flavor and eat around them – all the other spices are edible.