Turn your instant pot to sauté and when hot add the oil
While your instant pot is warming up, blend the onions and 4 cloves of garlic with about ½ cup of water until puréed. You can also just add the whole onion and garlic to the pot, it will become soft enough while pressure cooking and melt away.
When the instant pot is hot, add the sliced garlic and cook until it is almost burnt. It will be black or dark brown. This will take about 5 minutes
Next, add the geera to the garlic and cook for a minute.
Then add the puréed onions and garlic or the chopped onions and whole garlic if you prefer
Sauté for about 1 minute then add the remaining water, all of the split peas, curry powder, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper or other pepper (if using) and salt to the instant pot and mix together well
Once everything is mixed together push the cancel button to get the instant pot out of sauté mode, then seal and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes
After the timer runs out on the pressure cooking, release the pressure/steam
Finally, whisk for about a minute or two to allow the split peas to "mash up" creating a smooth dhal
You can also use an immersion blender for this step