Instant Pot: Dhansak (Lentils with meat) or Masala Dal (Lentils without meat)

By 8 comments

Instant Pot (IP) Recipe of the Parsi Dhansak  by Rita Kapadia

(Also spelt as  Dhansaak, Dhanshak,  Dhunsak, Thansak)

This dhansak was made in an instant pot which is a pressure cooker with souped up button controls. Gives you the flexibility of walking away and setting it on a timer.

As you may already know dhansak is a difficult dish to make, however, I have simplified the instant pot steps, so do give it a try.

Vegetarians can leave the meat out and make the masala dal, it comes out very good. Dhansak dal without the meat is referred by indian parsis as “Masala Dal”.

Also, this author has read and used the Vividh Vani cookbook by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia and found that chicken (marghi) dhansak is a very a traditional dish made by parsis in Mumbai (Bombay) in the 1800s.

 Step 1: Place all these tempering (Vaghar) ingredients in your instant pot and saute using the “Brown” function for 5 minutes

  • 1 small onion finely chopped.

  • 2 tbsp oil.

  • 2 tsp Ginger/Garlic/Chili Paste. Make paste by grinding 1 inch piece of gingerroot, 4 cloves garlic and 2 hot Jalapeno chilies.

  • 2 tsp Badshah Dhansak Masala.

  • 2 tsp Dhana (coriander seeds) and Jeera (Cumin seeds) powder.

  • Salt and Black Pepper powder to taste.

     Immediately add step 2 dhansak ingredients to this tempering (Vaghar).

Step 2

For the Dhansak dal: place all the following in the Instant Pot and cook on “Pressure” mode for 5 minutes (no more)  Use “Beans” function button:


  • 1 lb Chicken skinned and washed. ( Lamb, Goat can be substituted )

  • 1 1/2 cups Tuvar Dal washed and soaked for 30 minutes.

  • 1 large onion chopped.

  • 1 Tomato chopped.

  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped.(optional)

  • 1/2 cup fresh methi leaves chopped.(optional)

  • 5 leaves of fresh mint.

  • 3 inch piece of yellow/orange pumpkin.

  • 2 Potatoes peeled and quartered.

  • 2 tsp salt.

  • 1 tsp Turmeric.

  • Water enough to cover the contents.

Step 3

  1. In the Instant Pot (IP) do the step 1 and 2.

  2. Open  IP and remove meat and potatoes. Set aside in serving container.

  3. Mash the dal in the IP with electric blender or by hand. Add water if needed.

  4. Close IP cover

  5. Press IP button to simmer (Slow cook) and set for 3 minutes.

  6. Open IP by using the Stop button and setting the valve on “Steam”.

  7. Taste and add salt/spices to your taste.

  8. Add the meat and potatoes and simmer 5 more minutes in a serving bowl.

 Dhansak is served with Hot Brown Rice and Kachumber.

Paperback or eBook on Parsi Dhansak by Rita Kapadia

Includes step-by-step instructions for the Regular pressure cooker process and Instant Pot process.

Books available on Amazon Manna of the 21st Century: Parsi Cuisine Paperback Hardcover Indian Parsi Kitchen Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions Dhansak: Parsi Cuisine



Jan 1, 2019, 10:55 pm

I love dhanshak and winter is the perfect time to make it. thanks for sharing the recipe


Jan 1, 2019, 5:20 pm

Sandhya, Hope you make the dhansak dal one fine day. Ping me if you have questions.


Jan 1, 2019, 9:34 am

Sure will. Thanks Rita!


Apr 4, 2019, 1:24 pm

not able to print any of your recipes.


Apr 4, 2019, 2:18 pm

Yasmin – I was able to print right now. Please try again, it may be your connection to the printer.

Use the PRINT Icon.

“Instant Pot: Dhansak (Lentils with meat) or Masala Dal (Lentils without meat)”

The NY Times Style Magazine article on the famous Parsi Ripon Club –

May 5, 2019, 10:45 pm

[…] traditions; and goat brain cutlets sheathed in prickly bread crumbs, insides creamy as custard. The dhansak awaits at the far end of the room, where a waiter stands stoically blank behind three silver-domed […]


Feb 2, 2023, 10:46 am

Have to try this Rita, sounds so good. Do you need to add eggplant to the dhansak ?

Feb 2, 2023, 12:54 pm

Hi Judy, yes indeed adding eggplant will make the flavor and nurtrion enhanced. But if you have allergies, or don’t like it, you can omit eggplant. Same for pumpkin and squash.

Ask Rita