Dal palak is the perfect recipe to make a healthy dish, healthier. Spinach adds a very rustic, healthy and hearty twist to the dal. In this spinach dal recipe, I use toor dal but the recipe can be made with any lentil of your choice.
Dal palak makes a tasty alternative to regular dal fry recipe. Since spinach is available throughout the year and I have found it in every country that I have lived in, spinach dal is one of my favourite and frequent dal recipes for an Indian dinner. I mostly use either toor dal or yellow moong dal for the recipe as they are the fastest lentils to cook.
Lentils are mostly popular as a meat alternative of proteins for vegetarians. But in addition to proteins, lentils are rich in carbohydrates, micronutrients and B-vitamins. Both spinach and lentils are high in fibre and low in calories. So this combination of spinach and dals makes it a healthy choice if you are trying to watch your weight.
A little care with spinach (and with other leafy greens) — make sure you wash them throughly under running water so that there is no dirt or soil sticking to them.
Also, wash the dal in multiple changes of water and then soak it for at least 15 mins. The more the better. Soaking dried lentils not only reduces their cooking time, but it ensures that they can be more easily digested and their nutrients are better absorbed by the body.
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Put a pressure cooker on heat. Drain the soaked dal and add to the cooker with 2½ cups water, 1 tsp ghee, salt and turmeric. Close and pressure cook the dal for 2 whistles. Remove from her but open only after all the steam has escaped on its own. Toor dal cooks very quickly. We normally cook our dals in pressure cooker but you can also cook them covered in a stock pot till soft and mushy.
Heat the remaining ghee in a kadhai or wok. Add hing, cumin seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies. Sauté for a minute.
Add garlic, green chillies and onions. Mix well and sauté for 4-5 minutes till the onions start to turn soft.
Add tomatoes and spinach. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the cooked dal. Give everything a good mix and cook covered for another 2 mins.
Remove from heat, add lime juice and taste for salt.
*I have used toor dal (split pigeon peas lentil/arhar dal) in this recipe but spinach dal can also be made with yellow moong dal (split green gram) or chana dal (Bengal gram/ split chickpeas).
If you would like to see more Indian spinach and dal recipes click the images below:
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