Monday, February 23, 2015

Dal palak ( Lentil and spinach medley) made easy; Meatless Monday.

Dal palak is another popular, basic, everyday dish in Indian cuisine. Traditionally, this is made  with toor dal (split-pigeon peas).At times, I make it that way too.. but the whole premise of this blog is to share recipes that are quick and easy to make. Hence, I have re-invented dal-palak in such a way that you can have delicious dal-palak on the table ready to be consumed in under 30 minutes!

How did I do it? Very simple, first and foremost I swapped toor dal(split pegion peas)with masoor dal(split red lentil). This is the step that is most time consuming as toor dal ( split pigeon peas) takes a long time to cook, even in the pressure cooker. You then have to wait for the steam from the pressure cooker to be completely let out before opening it.

I have also reduced the cooking time by combining a few other steps of the regular method of preparation of this dish. None of these steps have compromised the taste of the dish. Did I forget to mention that this is a one-pot dish? So no washing multiple pots! How much easier can it get??

I am entering this dish for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelation challenge. The inspiration for this entry is my silent mentor Sonal Gupta. She is not only a great blogger but also a great person. I have learnt so much from her. Thank you Sonal.

Servings: 4-6


Masoor dal ( split red lentil): 1 cup
Water : 3 cups
Fresh Spinach : 1/2 small bunch( around 4 cups)
Onion: 1 small, chopped fine
Tomato: 1 small, diced small.
Ginger: 1 inch piece, chopped
Green chilli: 2, slit
Turmeric powder( haldi): 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Asofoetida ( hing): pinch
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 1/2 tsp

For Tempering:

Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Red chilli powder: 1/4 tsp ( optional)


Wash the masoor dal(split red lentil ) thoroughly and soak it in 3 cups water for 10-15 minutes, preferably in the same  pot that you are going to cook in.

While the dal( lentil) is being soaked, chop the onion, tomatoes, green chillies and ginger and add it to the pot.

Wash, clean and chop the spinach and keep ready.

Now cook the lentil on medium flame for 5-10 minutes. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, asofoetida , sugar and salt while it is cooking.

Now add the spinach to the pot , stir and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 -10 more minutes or until the spinach and lentils have reached the desired consistency.

If it gets too thick, you can add water as needed, little at a time.


In a small frying pan, heat oil, add jeera( cumin seeds) and a few seconds later, mustard seeds .

Once the mustard seeds splutter, turn off the flame.Add curry leaves. Add red chilli powder if you wish at this point.

Add this tempering to the above pot. Give it a nice stir.

Serve hot as a soup with some crusty bread / garlic bread or as a side dish with rice.

Served with rice, crab cakes, pickle and fried accompaniments. 

Comfort food at it's best!


Cooking made easy:

If you are using baby spinach in the above dish, it needs to be cooked only for a minute or two.

If using regular spinach, remember spinach upon cooking, wilts and releases water. Hence adjust the amount of  water used accordingly and as per the desired consistency of the dish. You can make it thick if you wish to use it as a side dish, or make it thin if you wish to serve it soup-style.

You can also use frozen chopped spinach if you are out of fresh spinach.

Tip for healthy living:

Lentils are a great source of protein for vegetarians.

Food for thought:

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. Ellen Glasgow