Punjabi dhabas have long been popular roadside stops for travelers looking for a bite to eat. Wooden cots laid under starry skies provide a place to rest and eat, often while Bollywood songs play in the background. My favorite way to end a meal at a dhaba is with an order of daal fry. Simple yellow daal with a smoky, nutty tadka of generous amounts of ghee and whole spices served with jeera rice is comfort food at its best. —Food52
Kashmiri red chile powder or another mild red chile powder
tablespoon ghee or neutral vegetable oil
yellow onion, finely diced
grated fresh ginger
minced hot green chiles
plum tomato, cored and diced
masoor daal, rinsed
moong daal, rinsed
uncooked basmati rice
1 1/2 cups
water (for the rice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
In This Recipe
To make the tadka: Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and hing directly to the hot ghee at the bottom edges of the pot and cook until the cumin seeds start to sizzle, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until it starts to turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the red chiles and chile powder and stir to mix well. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Wearing heat-resistant mitts, lift out the inner pot and transfer the tadka to a bowl. Set aside. Return the inner pot to the housing.
To make the daal: Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee. Stir in the onion, ginger, green chiles, and turmeric and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato, masoor daal, moong daal, and salt; pour in the water; and stir.
To make the rice: In a 1 1/2-quart stainless-steel bowl that will fit in the Instant Pot, stir together the rice, water, and salt. Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure its legs are resting on the bottom. Place the bowl of rice on the rack.
Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 6 minutes at high pressure.
Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot. Using heat-resistant mitts, place the bowl of rice on a trivet and remove the tall steam rack. Stir the daal with a spatula. Sprinkle the daal with cilantro, pour the reserved tadka over the top, then ladle the daal into bowls and serve with the rice.
Vegan variation: Substitute neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil for the ghee in the tadka. Use neutral vegetable oil in the daal.