Wash and soak the black urad for at least 8 hours.
Coarsely grind the onion, tomato, green chilies, cilantro, and ginger garlic paste without adding any water.
Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add 2 tsps of oil. When the oil is hot, add the 1 tsp of cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp asafoetida. Fry it for 30 seconds.
Now add the ground onion-tomato paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1.5 tsp salt, and cook.
Cook the masala until all the moisture is absorbed. This step is significant. Make sure to stir the paste continuously and do not let the masala burn. It might turn brown if you are using 8 quart Instant Pot, but it is ok. Just scrape and bring them together.
Now add the drained black lentils and 2 cups of water. Mix thoroughly. Make sure to scrape the bottom to avoid the burn notifications.
Press the cancel button and close the Instant Pot with the lid. Ensure the sealing ring is on and also make sure the vent is in the sealing position.
Cook the beans at high pressure for 30 minutes. After the cooking is done, allow the pressure to release naturally. Then carefully open the lid. Mash the lentils with a back of the spoon.
Add 2 tbsp of cream and mix. Press the saute button and simmer it for just two minutes.
Then turn off the heat transfer the lentils from the Instant Pot to a serving bowl and serve hot with rice or flatbread.
Make it vegan - You can skip the cream to make it vegan or add almond milk or cashew milk too.
Make it gluten-free. You can skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida. Asafoetida helps in digestion, and it is one of the common ingredients in Indian cooking.
I went with ginger-garlic paste for this recipe and even though it is a paste, I grinding it along with the onion. But you can use 2 garlic cloves and 1/2 inch ginger and grind it with onion for this recipe.
Any onion variety should work. I used red onion.
I would prefer Roma tomato for this recipe. Make sure you are using non-sour tomato for this dal.
You can use fresh cilantro stems as well for this recipe. In fact, I would recommend cilantro stems.
If you can't source garam masala, you can use the curry powder that you find in the Asian aisle of the grocery stores.
Also, you can use any lentils or legumes instead of black lentils. Pinto beans, red kidney beans, green lentils work well.