This sweet and creamy Instant Pot mung bean pudding is a popular Indian dessert called moong dal payasam and my vegan version gets its amazing texture and creaminess from coconut milk! This recipe is also gluten free and refined sugar free!
Happy Sankranti, Uttarayan, Lohri, Pongal and Bihu to everyone celebrating! ❤
Flavors in this moong dal payasam
This moong dal payasam is a popular recipe in the south of India, especially in the coastal states where coconuts are grown in abundance and coconut based desserts are quite common. This delicious dessert is called 'Vorn' in Konkani, the language that I grew up speaking and is quite often made during festivals and special occasions in Mangalore (where my family is from)!
The coconut milk adds the most luxurious creaminess to this pudding and when you taste it, you will definitely be surprised that no dairy is used in this recipe. Apart from coconut milk, the other flavors traditionally used in this recipe are jaggery (unrefined sweetener made from sugarcane juice), ground cardamom and ghee. The jaggery adds a rich sweetness with a deep molasses like flavor and color to this pudding while the ground cardamom adds an amazing floral aroma. I wanted to make a vegan version, so I've replaced the ghee with coconut oil instead. Feel free to use either of these options.
Using the Instant Pot to make this moong dal payasam super quick and easy
Traditionally, this payasam is made by slowly cooking the lentils in simmering coconut milk until it turns soft and creamy Although, I love the traditional version, I don’t always have the time to slowly cook the lentils, which led me to develop an easy hands off recipe that takes very little time to make and doesn’t require a lot of stirring!
I absolutely loved how quickly this moong dal paysam comes together in the Instant Pot and I didn’t need to stir it often. I first pressure cooked the lentils and tapioca in the instant pot and then added all the other ingredients to this pudding. It only takes about 5 minutes of stirring to bring this dish together.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this dish in either a regular pressure cooker or in a pot over the stove. I have provided the instructions for both in the recipe card below.
Additions/substitutions to this recipe
Using full-fat coconut milk in the moong dal payasam means that you don’t need to slowly cook the lentils in milk for it to thicken and cuts down the recipe time considerably. If you would rather using dairy milk in the recipe, you can absolutely replace the coconut milk + water with full fat dairy milk in this recipe. The rest of the instructions will remain the same.
Cardamom is the primary flavoring spice in this creamy pudding. If you don’t like cardamom, I think both cinnamon and nutmeg would be nice replacements for cardamom in this recipe. You definitely need a spice that can compete with the strong flavor of the lentils.
I love the crunch from the cashews and coconut slices and pops of flavor from the juicy raisins in this recipe. If you are allergic to nuts, you could replace them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds in this recipe.
The tapioca (sabudana) helps in thickening the pudding and adding a lovely chewiness that is a fun contrast to the crunchy nuts and juicy raisins. If you don’t like tapioca/can’t find it, you can replace it with extra lentils instead.
Storage and reheating instructions
This moong dal payasam can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Both the lentils and the fat in the coconut milk will cause it to thicken considerably when chilled, so loosen it with a splash of water and then serve it either cold or warm. You can re-heat it either in the microwave or on the stove top until it gets warm before serving.
More Indian dessert recipes!
Vegan moong dal payasam (Indian mung bean pudding)
- 1 cup moong dal (split yellow mung beans)
- ¼ cup sabudana/small tapioca pearls
- 2.5 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 can coconut milk (400ml, full fat)
- 1.5 cups jaggery powder or brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup cashews
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons dried coconut slices
- Rinse the moong dal and tapioca, changing water 3-4 times or until the water is clear.
Instant pot instructions
- Add the washed dal and tapioca along with 2.5 cups of water and salt to the instant pot and pressure cook it on high for 8 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally before opening.
Manual pressure cooker instructions
- Add the washed dal and tapioca along with 2.5 cups of water and salt to the pressure cooker and pressure cook it on high until the first whistle. Reduce the flame to low and cook it on low for 13 minutes before turning off the heat. Let the pressure release naturally before opening.
Stove top instructions
- Add the washed dal and tapioca along with 2.5 cups of water and salt to a heavy bottomed pot on the stove and let it come up to a boil on high heat. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 25 minutes or until the lentils are almost mushy with still some bite left.
Making the pudding/payasam
- Add in the can of coconut milk into the cooked dal and tapioca and mix well to combine. Cook this mixture on medium heat (either in the instant pot or stove top) for about 3 minutes, stirring every minute.
- Add in the jaggery and mix everything well to combine. Cook the pudding for about 2 more minutes or until the jaggery dissolves and mixes well.
- Pour in 1 cup of water into the payasam and stir well to combine. Cook it for another 2-3 minutes or until it is heated through. If you find that the pudding is too thick at this point, you can add an additional ¼-1/2 cup of water.
- Taste and adjust sweetness if desired. Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the ground cardamom.
Making the toasted cashews and raisins
- In a frying pan on medium low heat, heat the coconut oil until it melts and add in the cashews and coconut pieces. Cook them until they are lightly browned and then add in the golden raisins. Mix and cook the raisins until they puff up in the coconut oil and are rehydrated. Turn off the heat and transfer the cashews and raisins along with any excess coconut oil into the warm pudding.
- Serve the pudding in bowls, while it is still warm.
- Using full-fat coconut milk in the recipe means that you don't need to slowly cook the dal in milk for it to thicken and cuts down the recipe time considerably. If you would rather using dairy milk in the recipe, you can absolutely replace the coconut milk + water with full fat dairy milk in this recipe. The rest of the instructions will remain the same.
- If you don't like cardamom, I think both cinnamon and nutmeg would be nice replacements for cardamom in this recipe.
- I love the crunch from the nuts and pops of flavor from the juicy raisins in this recipe. If you are allergic to nuts, you could replace them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds in this recipe.
- The tapioca (sabudana) helps in thickening the pudding and adding a lovely chewiness that is a fun contrast to the crunchy nuts and juicy raisins. If you don't like tapioca/can't find it, you can replace it with extra lentils instead.
- This pudding thickens considerably when it cools down and when refrigerated. Add in extra water as needed to loosen the pudding before reheating and serving.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do. Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think and subscribe to my social media if you would like to see more easy and delicious recipes.