Instant Pot Red lentil Zucchini dal aka squash and orange masoor dal makes a protein packed easy meal under 20 minutes. Serve this lentil curry with warm rotis or rice for a wholesome meal . You can even pair it with cooked quinoa for a high protein meal.
Lentil in any form especially dal is a staple in my household. I like to alternate between lentil and beans and sometimes combine them for certain meals. Our favorite being this lentil chili , chana masala , body cleansing lentil soup . The list is never-ending!! We are vegetarians and find it very easy to add protein to our diet in form of lentil . I like that most lentils doesn’t require pre soaking except whole urad dal. You can pretty much cook them unplanned . Lentil is delicious and the easiest to cook . Some lentils like this Red lentil or yellow moong dal cook within minutes even without a pressure cooker .
The recipe that I am sharing with you today is inspired from an Indian lentil curry that my mom made . It is called lauki ( bottle gourd aka Ghia aka Dudhi chana dal . She sometimes made lauki yellow moong dal as well. It looked quiet boring but she made it so delicious that we ate it without fuss . In today’s lentil recipe I am replacing lauki with zucchini and chana dal with red lentil . The spices and the method used is same as my mom did.
Back in those days we didn’t even know what zucchini is. Though it is readily available now in India , it wasn’t back then . Once I moved to USA a decade back I started experimenting with veggies found locally here . Zucchini, kale , bok choy, swiss chard , Brussels sprouts were all new to me. I was pretty intimidated by them before . I am always up for trying new recipes. And slowly these veggies became staple in my house.
Why eat lentil and zucchini?
Zucchini is a low-calorie vegetable and that’s why you see zucchini zoodles become such a craze!! It has some impressive benefits too. Zucchini is great for hair and skin . It is good in lowering blood sugar levels. I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy and ate a lot of zucchini in soups , salad , grilled and even this red lentil zucchini dal . Zucchini will keep your energy up too.
Because zucchini is a low-calorie vegetable it even promotes weight loss . It’s like all you can eat food .
Pairing zucchini with lentils meaning a substantial meal that is balanced with carbs , protein , fiber and flavor. Red lentil is high in fiber and no fat too. This lentil curry will leave you full and satisfied for a long time. If you are carb conscious you can skip roti , rice and eat this curry on its own . You can even thin it down and enjoy it like a soup .
This lentil recipe is not very mushy or soupy like dal is. Meaning red lentil isn’t mushy but has a bite to it. Same goes with zucchini , it holds it’s shape very well. Red lentil and zucchini is pressure cooked in the Instant Pot along with Indian spices , ginger , garlic and onions , tomatoes until it’s just done.
I have even thrown in some cherry tomatoes after cooking the lentil curry . I like how it gives little burst of sweetness . It is totally optional. A generous squeeze of lemon is a must just before eating.
Instant Pot Red lentil Zucchini dal recipe –
Instant Pot Red lentil Zucchini dal
- 1 Zucchini 2 cups chopped in ½ “ chunks.
- 1 thai green chili deseeded and chopped optional
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
- 1.5 teaspoon minced garlic or paste
- 1 cup red lentil
- 1.5 cups water
- ½ cup fresh tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil ghee if not vegan
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Pinch of hing /asafoetida *
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder *
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Lemon juice
- Fistful of cilantro
- Chopped tomatoes optional
- Rinse lentil in a fine mesh colander 3 times and drain excess water.
- Switch Instant Pot on Saute mode.
- Add in oil .
- Once warm add in hing & cumin.
- Once it starts to splutter add in green chilies and onion.
- Let the onion sweat for 30 seconds .
- Add in ginger and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds .
- Stir it often to avoid burnt bottom.
- Press CANCEL to get out of sautee mode .
- Now add in red chili powder or cayenne , turmeric , coriander powder , garam masala and water.
- Add in the rinsed lentil .
- Add in tomato puree.
- Add in cubed zucchini
- Add in salt and give it a quick mix.
- Secure the instant pot lid , black knob on SEALING position.
- Now you have 2 options-
- Press MANUAL HIGH 1 minute.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps let the pressure come down naturally for 5 minutes then perform QR for any additional steam .
- Press MANUAL HIGH 3 minute.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps perform a QUICK RELEASE.
- Always place a kitchen towel on the knob and then with a spoon turn the knob to venting for quick release.
- It will take about a minute for steam to completely come off and the silver pin to drop.
- Once the pin drops it is safe to open the Instant Pot.
- Open and give it a quick stir. Check for doneness of the lentil.
- It should have a bite to it but should smash well if pressed.
- With a spoon just give a taste test and adjust seasoning if needed.
- If there is some water still there in the pot. Don’t worry the lentil will soak it in a minute.
- Using silicone mitts or kitchen towel carefully remove the inner steel pot and place on a pot holder or heat safe surface.
- This is done to avoid over cooking of the lentil and be mushy.
- Add in cilantro.
- Just before serving add in generous squeeze of lemon and chopped tomatoes on top.
- Enjoy as is or with roti or steamed rice.
Share this recipe on Pinterest too!
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