3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Instant Pot Magic/ Soups/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Toor Dal Tadka (Split Pigeon Peas Soup)

Toor Dal, also known as Arhar Dal or split yellow pigeon peas, is probably the most popular lentil all over India. It’s a staple for many households and is made daily in some homes. There is something about this light and flavorful lentil, that places it among the soul foods in Indian cuisine.

I love to dress it up with a tadka (tempering) made with mustard seeds, onions and curry leaves- I love the crunch and the zing this tempering adds to this creamy dal. This recipe is a combination of my mom’s, and my mother-in-law’s- best of both worlds! Have it like a soup or with steamed rice, or with a slice of toasted french bread – I bet this will become one of your go-to meals!

I have adapted this recipe for the Instant Pot here, but this can be made on a stove-top as well as a regular pressure cooker. Check out details in “notes” section.

Toor Dal Tadka (Split Pigeon Peas Soup)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 cup toor dal , rinsed and soaked in warm water (split pigeon peas)
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil/ghee/butter (I use a combination)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic crushed or ground)
  • 1 small onion sliced or chopped
  • 1 green chili (optional)
  • 6-8 curry leaves (or 2 kaffir lime leaves)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder (adjust to your spice level)
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro



Rinse and soak lentils in hot water while you prepare tempering. Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE. Wait 30 seconds for it to heat up. Add oil, asafoetida (heeng) and mustard seeds, wait for them to sizzle. Add chopped onion, curry leaves and a green chili. Sauté for 30-45 seconds, till the onion turns pink. Remove the onion mix in a bowl.


Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add diced tomato and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add salt and all dry spices and sauté for 30 seconds. Add strained lentils, 2 cups water and stir well. Close the lid. Set vent to SEALING. Hit MANUAL for 4 minutes. (If you prefer a mushy texture, set the time to 6-7 minutes)


Wait for NPR (natural pressure release). Open the lid after the pin drops. Add the tempering and the chopped cilantro and stir. Enjoy warm!


Stove top: Follow steps 1 and 2 in a sauce pan or a dutch oven. Cook the lentil for 15 minutes on Medium heat, covered. Continue with step 3. Indian Pressure Cooker: Follow steps 1 and 2. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook on high-heat till 1 whistle and then reduce to medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Wait for pressure to release naturally before opening. Continue with step 3.


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