Langar is the sacred food served at the community kitchen of a gurudwara, the Sikh place of worship. This dal is a mix of black lentils, chickpeas and red kidney beans. The humble and comforting taste of langar wali dal is like a warm motherly hug. It is wholesome and nourishing. Instant Pot helped me perfectly re-create the gurudwara-style texture and taste of the dal at home. But if you have a chance to visit a gurudwara, try sampling the langar wali dal there and then you will understand the emotions behind it.
Reprinted with permission from The 100 Best Curries for Your Instant Pot by Hina Gujral. Page Street Publishing Co. 2022. Photo credit: Hina Gujral.
Langar Wali Dal (Sikh Gurudwara-Style Lentil Curry) [Vegan, Gluten Free]
- 1/2 cup (100 g) dried whole black lentils (sabut urad)
- 1/4 cup (50 g) dried red kidney beans (rajma)
- 1/4 cup (50 g) dried split chickpeas (chana dal)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
- 1 tablespoon (5 g) grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup (160 g) roughly chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup (90 g) chopped tomato
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
- 3 cups (720 ml) water, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) if needed
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 g) dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 2 mild green chiles, such as jalapeños, Thai green chiles or serrano peppers, thinly sliced or julienned
- 2 tablespoons (2 g) chopped fresh cilantro
- Combine the black lentils, red kidney beans and chickpeas, and rinse with water until the water runs clear. Soak them in water for 4 to 5 hours.
- Set the sauté mode of the Instant Pot for 15 minutes. Add the oil to the inner pot. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, asafetida and ginger and sauté for 30 to 40 seconds. Add the red onion and fry until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add the tomato, turmeric, red chili powder and salt; fry the masala until the tomato is mashed nicely and oil starts oozing from the sides, 2 to 3 minutes. If the masala is burning or sticking to the pot, add 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of water and stir.
- Drain all the water from the soaked legumes. Add them to the Instant Pot and sauté with the masala until the timer beeps.
- Add the 3 cups (720 ml) of water and give the dal a good stir. Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the steam valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook at the normal setting for 30 minutes.
- Once the timer beeps, let the steam release naturally. Open the lid. Check the dal for doneness—it should be soft and fully cooked.
- Add the garam masala, fenugreek leaves, green chiles and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Set the sauté mode for 5 minutes to simmer and thicken the dal before serving.
- Serve with rice and roti for a hearty gurudwara-style meal.
Note: Alternatively, you can slow cook this dal. Simply follow the recipe as written, but instead of pressure cooking the dal for 30 minutes, set your Instant Pot to slow cook mode for 5 hours or overnight.