After 32 years in clinical practice, I’m still on a neverending quest to create a foundational human optimization protocol. One that provides the best epigenetic influence for most humans, and helps optimize mitochondrial biogenesis and function. Basically, what can we do on a routine basis to live longer, healthier, with more vitality. This is my latest addition to my dietary component; my version of dal makhani – Dr. Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe.

Nearly 2500 years ago Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, promoted two profound ideas that even today are being validated on a daily basis. “All disease begins in the gut” and “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Now maybe not every disease begins in the colon, but dysbiosis of the microbiome surely does play a part in either its genesis and/or severity. I created Dr. Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe to help restore and maintain gut health in my patients after their dysbiosis has been handled. There is rarely ever a need for supplemental probiotics when your diet can modulate diversity and abundance.

Note: this is not a recommendation for you to eat my dal makhani. Pulses, beans, peas, and lentils may be reactive to some people, and/or you may not tolerate them due to undiagnosed or unresolved dysbiosis.

Background Data

Lentil, a moderate-energy high-protein pulse crop, provides significant amounts of essential nutrients for healthy living. The objective of this study was to determine if a lentil-based diet affects food and energy intake, body weight, percent body fat, liver weight, and body plasma triglycerides (TGs) as well as the composition of fecal microbiota in rats. A total of 36 Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with either a standard diet, a 3.5% high amylose corn starch diet, or a 70.8% red lentil diet for 6 weeks. By week 6, rats fed the lentil diet had significantly lower mean body weight (443 ± 47 g/rat) than those fed the control (511 ± 51 g/rat) or corn (502 ± 38 g/rat) diets. Further, mean percent body fat and TG concentration were lower, and lean body mass was higher in rats fed the lentil diet than those fed the corn diet. Fecal abundance of Actinobacteria and Bacteriodetes were greater in rats fed the lentil or corn starch diets than those fed the control diet. Fecal abundance of Firmicutes, a bacterial phylum comprising multiple pathogenic species, decreased in rats fed the lentil and high-amylose corn starch diets vs the control diet. The lentil-based diet decreased bodyweight, percent body fat, and plasma triglycerides in rats and suppressed intestinal colonization by pathogens.

Dr. Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe – No Kidney Beans

  • 1 cup urad dal (Vigna mungo)
  • 1 medium brown onion – diced.
  • 1-2 serrano peppers – finely diced
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes – as is or use an immersion (stick) blender to puree.
  • 3 -4 large garlic cloves – finely diced or pressed.
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger (leave the skin on) – finely diced.
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 tsp each: coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder, curry powder, turmeric powder, and Baja Gold Sea Salt.
  • 4 cups water.


Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Step 1: Soak the urad dal for 12 hours. Rinse them in a mesh strainer and soak them again in fresh water for another 12 hours. When ready to prepare the dish, drain and rinse the dal. Set them in the Instant Pot.

Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Step 2: Dice 1 onion, 1-2 serrano chili, 3-4 garlic cloves, and 2 tsp of ginger w/peel.

Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Step 3: Add 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and all of the spices to a pot. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Do not burn the spices.

Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Step 4: Add in the onions, chilies, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the onions have softened, about 10 minutes.

Ettinger Dal Makhani Easy Instant Pot Recipe - Breaking down the onion-garlic-peppers-ginger

Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Step 5: Please the can of diced tomatoes into the Instant Pot, inset immersion (stick) blender, and puree.

Ettinger Dal Makhani Easy Instant Pot Recipe - diced tomatoes and immersion blender

Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Step 6: Pour the tomato puree into the vegetable and spice mixture. Deglaze the pot and then pour the entire mixture into the Instant Pot. Add 3-4 cups of water. The more water the more broth (runny consistency). Set the lid, and use the automatic pressure cooker setting (make sure to allow the lid to vent). In a little over an hour’s time, it will be done.

Ettinger Dal Makhani Easy Instant Pot Recipe - Done
Ettinger’s Instant Pot Dal Makhani – Optional Step: You can do as many of the below as you like or don’t do any.

  • Add 1-3 tsp coriander powder to the entire pot of finished dal, for a more vibrant flavor.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of whole fat sour cream or heavy whipping cream to your bowl of dal, stir.
  • Add chopped cilantro to your bowl of dal.

Dal Makhani (Dr. E’s Easy Peasy Version)

Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) with Tomatoes and Cilantro

The Small Intestine – Part 4 of the 5 Phases of Digestion