Tag: Pantry Essentials

Instant Pot Dhal

Instant Pot Dhal

This warm, comforting Dhal is the perfect recipe for a pick me up. We are definitely in a time of uncertainly, and while a large portion of South Africans have already started to “social distance” themselves, the reality is that this hasn’t even started to hit us yet! The main of social distancing is to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading, so if that means us not going into the grocery store, so be it. We’ve stocked up on pantry essentials, but are we used to cooking with them?

I bet my husband is secretly thanking my “Zimbabwe ways” now. You see my parents grew up in a war situation. Commodities were hard to come by and you had to learn to do what you could with the basics. So I grew up with frozen butter in the freezer and the pantry was always stocked with the basics, every item of food was saved and rehashed into another meal, so nothing was wasted. It just makes you realise how much food is typically wasted.

Together with Instant Pot, I’ll be focusing on some pantry essential meals over this next month.

Lets start by looking at my one go to. Lentils. Dried lentils can keep for years in a packet and are rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. Dhal used to take a good hour or so to cook on the stove, with constant supervision to make sure it doesn’t burn. Cooking Dhal in my Instant Pot had honestly revolutionised the way I make it, and I will never do stove top again!

You can choose to add meat, or cook them plain, but very few ingredients are needed for a good dhaal. Some onion, grated tomato and spices are your core base.

When cooking in the Instant Pot, just remember to add enough water, otherwise the “burn” function will kick in.

Let me know your thoughts, but I guarantee once you try Dhal in your IP, you’ll never cook it any other way!

Instant Pot Dhal

In times when we are relying more on pantry essentials, this Dhal made in an Instant Pot, is quicker then ever to cook.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dhal, dhal and rice, instant pot, instant pot dhal, pantry essentials
Servings: 4 people


  • Instant Pot
  • Pressure Cooker


  • 1 medium Onion finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups red lentils (oil dhal)
  • 1 Medium chicken (cut into pieces)
  • 1 cinnamon Stick
  • 2 cardamom Pods
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 3 grated tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 whole green chilli (slit)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cumin/coriander mix


  • Marinade chicken with ginger/garlic masala
  • Switch your Instant Pot onto Saute mode.
  • Braise your sliced onion in oil, with cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and whole slit chilli, cardamom pods
  • Add in your 1.5 cups red lentils
  • Add in your spices : salt, red chilli powder, cumin/coriander mix, tumeric
  • Add in your grated tomatoes
  • Add in your chicken pieces
  • Pour over approx 2.5 cups of water, and make sure there is no dhal stuck on the bottom, otherwise the "burn" function will come up.
  • Set to pressure cook for 25 minutes, with a 5 minute natural release.
  • Open the lid and de-bone any chicken if need be. If you prefer your dhal smoother (we do), you can blend it a little with a hand blender.
  • Serve with some thin sliced, cripsy potatoes (aloo fry), rice and some kachumber (cucumber, onion, tomato and coriander)