Instant Pot Punjabi-Style Black Lentils


(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s stovetop version on Smitten Kitchen)


Serves 4 – 6


2 tablespoons butter, oil, or ghee (I used butter.)

½ large yellow onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1-inch piece of peeled ginger, finely chopped (2-3 tablespoons)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1½ cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried black beluga lentils


To Finish:

1½ tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Handful of chopped fresh cilantro


1.    Chop the onion and set it aside.

2.    Chop the ginger and garlic and put them both in a small bowl.

3. Put the crushed tomatoes in a bowl, and then add the coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper to the bowl. (They all get added to the pot at the same time.)

4. Using the sauté function, heat the Instant Pot until it indicates that it’s hot. Add the butter (or oil) to the pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the chopped onions and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is starting to brown.

5. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute more.

6. Add the crushed tomatoes with the spices and cook, stirring often, for about 3 more minutes.

7. Add the water, salt, and lentils. Stir.

8. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to stop the sauté function. Put the cover on the pot, setting the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Manual button and set the time to 13 minutes.

9.    When the 13 minutes of pressure cooking is up, do nothing and let the pressure release naturally. (I didn’t time it, but it takes about 15 – 20 minutes.)

10. When the pressure has released, open the pot. Put the butter on the lentils to melt and stir in the cream.

11. Serve and top each serving with cilantro, if desire.