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Nearly Instant Dal Bhat

2018 July 28

लगभग तत्काल दाल भट

Dal Bhat was a staple meal in Nepal. While trekking in the Himalayas, it was often the meal we had twice a day. Every teahouse in the mountains had their own version which was served with sautéed vegetables grown in the nearby garden. This version is much more flavorful than anything we had in Nepal and very easy since the Instant Pot shortens the cooking time by about half. If you use your Instant Pot to cook rice, be sure to do that prior to cooking the Dal Bhat. To mince the carrots and celery, I use a food processor with a standard blade for about one minute. To make this recipe gluten-free, use arrowroot or potato starch to thicken the broth.

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 55 minutes

Serves 4 as a meal, 6-8 as a side dish


2 tsp. Garam Masala 

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander 

1 tsp. turmeric 

3 Tb. unsalted butter

1 large onion, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced (about 4 tsp.)

4 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. tomato paste

1/4 cup flour, arrowroot or potato starch

7 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 medium carrots, minced

1 celery rib, minced

1 cup brown or French green lentils, rinsed 

2 Tb. cilantro, minced


1. Select Sauté on the Instant Pot and allow it to preheat. In a small dish combine the four spices. 

2. Melt the butter in the pot and when the foaming subsides, add the spices and cook about 15 seconds. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and tomato paste and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and thoroughly combine, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth. 

3. Bring to a boil, add the carrots and celery, and stir to combine. Select Cancel and then select Manual pressure cook for 7 minutes at high pressure. At the end of the cooking time, release the pressure, quickly open the lid and add the lentils. 

4. Stir to combine and immediately close the lid. Select Manual pressure cook for 15 minutes at high pressure. At the end of the cooking time, allow it sit for 10 minutes to reduce the pressure and then release the pressure. 

5. Salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the dal  over rice and sprinkle with cilantro before serving. 

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