Instant Pot Mung Dal (Yellow Lentil Soup)

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If you are looking for a comforting, healthy, and easy weeknight meal, you’ll love this flavorful recipe for moong dal (yellow lentil soup). Also known as mung dhal soup, it’s a vegan-friendly lentil dish that pairs perfectly with rice, rotis, and many other popular Indian dishes. Make it in your Instant Pot or over the stovetop.

An overhead image of a bowl of Moong Dal garnished with cilantro.
Moong Dal Tadka

Pulses are a staple in Indian cooking, and for a very good reason: they are inexpensive, nutritious, and an excellent source of plant-based protein. Thanks to the addition of aromatic spices, they can easily become a flavorful and delicious experience.

This moong dal recipe includes both a stovetop and Instant Pot method so that you can master cooking this classic dish. Moong dal tadka requires several spices and aromatics, but the payoff is worth it, as the flavor is absolutely out of this world.

It is comforting, filling, and perfect when served with soft rotis and steamed Basmati rice. Best of all? I include instructions for cooking rice pot-in-pot. It does not get any easier than that!

What is mung dal

Mung dal, also known as moong dal, is a split lentil that is yellow in color. It is free from skin and, like all dals, cooks very quickly in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

Yellow moong dal is particularly well suited to soups, as it softens easily and forms a smooth yet hearty texture when cooked.

Alternate names – Mung dal, moong dal, yellow split lentils, yellow mung lentils, split yellow mung beans

To learn more about lentils and dals, read Pulses 101 – An easy guide to beans, lentils, and dals.

Mung dal benefits

Mung dal, like all lentils, is highly nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals. They are high in B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. They are also a great source of plant-based protein and are very rich in fiber.

Read More: Lentils: Nutrition, Benefits, and How to Cook Them – Healthline

Reasons to love this recipe

  • An easy one-pot recipe that is ready in 30 minutes and includes both stovetop and Instant Pot instructions.
  • Vegan-friendly and plant-based.
  • High in protein and nutrient dense.
  • Easy to digest, making it perfect even for babies.

Here’s what you need to make the recipe

Ingredient notes/swaps

  • Moong dal – Also known as split green gram dal without skin, these yellow moong lentils are easy to find at some large grocery chains or small Indian markets.
  • Avocado oil – Any neutral flavored oil works. You can also substitute it with ghee.
  • Cumin seeds – in the tempering. You can use mustard seeds as a substitute.
  • Aromatics – Garlic, ginger, and onions.
  • Green chili – Adds a bit of heat and a lot of flavors!
  • Tomatoes – You’ll need just 1/2 cup of finely diced tomatoes. Purchase the best quality you can find, seeking ripe, plump tomatoes with few seeds.
  • Spices and seasonings – You’ll need asafoetida, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and salt.
  • Garnish – A simple garnish finishing with lime or lemon juice and chopped cilantro/coriander leaves gives a beautiful presentation and adds a flavorful touch.
A bowl of Moong Dal on a blue table, garnished with cilantro.
Instant Pot Moong Dal

Notes

  • Dal will thicken as it cools down, so dilute it as needed.
  • In this recipe, you can substitute moong dal with other dals such as tuvar dal (pigeon peas), moong dal with skin, or masoor dal. Since the cooking time is the same for the lentils mentioned above, you could even mix two or three different lentils to make this dish.
  • To make gluten-free moong dahl, use gluten-free asafoetida.

Variations to try

Green Moong Dal (mung bean dal) – Use green moong dal (chilka moong dal) instead of split yellow moong beans. Follow all the instructions as outlined in the recipe, and use the pot-in-pot method to cook rice at the same time if desired.

Alternative dals – You can substitute the yellow moong dal for equal amounts of tuvar dal (pigeon peas), moong dal with skins, masoor dal, OR green moong beans. You could also do a mixture of lentils if you prefer.

Easy prep variation – Alternatively, you can temper the dal after it is cooked.

Prep ahead and storage tips

Refrigerator: Stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezer: If you want to prep ahead, you could always make a double batch and stash it in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use.

Reheat: You can reheat the dal either in the microwave or stovetop. The dal thickens in the refrigerator, so you may have to add water to get it to the consistency you desire before you reheat it.

Serve it with

While this yellow moong dal is perfectly delicious on its own, serving it with some delicious side dishes will make it even more lip-smacking. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Soft rotis or chapati – These super soft rotis are perfect for serving your favorite dishes.
  • Basmati rice – Either a stovetop or Instant Pot method will make delicious, fluffy, and foolproof basmati rice every single time. Pairs perfectly with Instant Pot moong dal.
  • Jeera rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling. 
  • Aloo methi – combines stir-fried potatoes with freshly chopped fenugreek leaves to create an aromatic and flavorful side dish that is best savored with ghee-laden rotis.
  • Aloo ki sabji – This versatile dish is easy to make and is perfect for those new to Indian cooking. 
Pink circle with light bulb

Frequently asked questions

How do you cook green moong dal in a pressure cooker?

Green moong dal (split green gram with skin) takes the same time as the dhuli mung dal recipe below. Just follow the same recipe and replace yellow moong dal with green.

Does moong dal need to be soaked before cooking?

No, it cooks pretty quickly in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, so no soaking is required.

How do you cook moong sprouts in a pressure cooker?

Follow this recipe – Instant Pot moong sprouts.

Is green gram and moong dal the same?

Yes, green gram and moong dal are the same and are available in 3 different forms – Dhuli moong dal (split green gram without skin), Moong dal chilka (split green gram with skin), and Mung (green gram).

A stainless steel divided plate with Moong Dal and rice.
Instant Pot Moong Dhal

Other moong dal recipes to try

  • Moong dal khichdi – This one-pot, 5-ingredient meal is easy on your stomach and is perfect for all ages.
  • Dal fry – This recipe for Dal Fry is very close to my heart because it comes from my mom’s kitchen. A recreation of the hearty and lip-smacking dal I grew up with!
  • Ven Pongal – This South Indian breakfast recipe made from rice and lentils is a great way to start your day. 
  • Moong dal payasam – Learn how to make this traditional dessert half the time without compromising on the taste. Features both a stovetop and Instant Pot method.
  • Chilke wali mung dal curry recipe – A delicious and classic split mung bean dal featuring aromatic spices, onions, and tomatoes.

Moong dal tadka (Instant Pot + Stovetop Recipe)

An overhead image of a bowl of Moong Dal garnished with cilantro.

Moong Dal (Instant Pot + Stovetop)

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Moong dal (Yellow lentil soup) is a flavorful and delicious lentil dish that makes for an easy weeknight meal. Best of all? It's healthy too!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Course : Lunch/Dinner
Method: Instant Pot, Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

Stovetop method

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds and as they begin to sizzle add asafoetida.
  • After 10 seconds or so add onions along with garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Fry until the onions turn soft and translucent.
  • Add cut tomatoes along with turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and salt. Fry it for a few minutes till tomatoes soften.
  • Wash the dal well and add it to the cooker and add 2.5 cups of water. Close cooker and wait till the vent goes off 4 times [ Note: Every cooker works differently and mine takes that long to get the dal nicely cooked]
  • Shut the gas off and allow to cool naturally.
  • Open cooker and mix well and then garnish it with lime juice and coriander leaves.

Instant Pot method

  • Add oil to the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function and set it to “medium” and wait till the display reads “Hot.” Add cumin seeds and as they begin to sizzle add asafoetida.
    2 tablespoons avocado oil, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/8 a pinch of asafoetida
  • After 10 seconds or so add onions along with garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Fry until the onions turn soft and translucent.
    2 garlic cloves, 1 inch ginger, 2 Indian or Thai green chilies (Bird's eye), 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • Add cut tomatoes along with turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and salt. Fry it for a few minutes till the tomatoes soften.
    1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, salt to taste
  • Wash the dal and add it to the steel insert along with 2.5 cups of water. 
    1 cup moong dal
  • [Optional Step] – You can cook Basmati rice along with dal. Place a trivet over the dal.
  • Place the bowl with rice and water over the trivet. For 1 cup of rice, add 1.25 cups of water.
  • Press the “Warm / Cancel” button and then select “Pressure Cook.”  Adjust the time to 10 minutes and set the pressure selection to high.
  • Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position.
  • Once the cooking cycle is complete allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Carefully remove the rice using tongs.
  • Dilute the dal if required. Add lime juice and cilantro. Mix well.
    1 tablespoon lime juice, 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing
  • Serve it hot with rice and a veggie side dish.

Notes

Variations to try

Green Moong Dal (mung bean dal) – Use green moong dal (chilka moong dal) instead of split yellow moong beans. Follow all the instructions as outlined in the recipe, and use the pot-in-pot method to cook rice at the same time if desired.
Alternative dals – You can substitute the yellow moong dal for equal amounts of tuvar dal (pigeon peas), moong dal with skins, masoor dal, OR green moong beans. You could also do a mixture of lentils if you prefer.
Easy prep variation – Alternatively, you can temper the dal after it is cooked.
Recipe Notes
  • Dal will thicken as it cools down, so dilute it as needed.
  • In this recipe, you can substitute moong dal with other dals such as tuvar dal (pigeon peas), moong dal with skin, or masoor dal. Since the cooking time is the same for the lentils mentioned above, you could even mix two or three different lentils to make this dish.
  • To make gluten-free moong dahl, use gluten-free asafoetida.

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 14gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 94mgPotassium: 123mgFiber: 7gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 291IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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