Howdy!! How did the weekend treat you? Are you in mood for some piping hot Palak Dal and Rice?
The first time I had this Spinach or Palak Dal was when I was around 8 years old. My friend's mom, my next door neighbor made it. As we played in the kitchen, she cooked it right in front of us showing us how it is made. The moment she added the ginger-garlic and fried and the aroma wafted over to where we were playing, our mouths started watering and we did not leave the kitchen until the entire dal was made. I did not even go home for lunch that day, I ate at my friend's place.
Being from Mumbai, my friend's family was used to eating spicy and hot food. To my near bland palate, it was like an explosion in my mouth and I ate the dal while my eyes watered. But I loved every spoonful of it. I loved it so much, I ran back home and asked my mom to learn how to make Palak Dal.
I've since, learnt how to make it and it is regular occurrence in my house. While I have grown up, my palate is still not accustomed to extremely hot food, so I never add as much green chilli or ginger my friend's mom added, I only add enough to tantalize my tongue. If you are fond of hot food, feel free to add in more or if you prefer your food to be lighter in taste, you can remove the seeds of the chilli before grinding it into a paste.
For added flavor, you can add half a cup of dill leaves or suva sabzi to this dal as well. I add it at times if I have it and it gives this Palak Dal a different dimension. Highly recommended addition, I say!
I personally love dal with roti or naan as much as I love my dal rice. If you plan on eating this with roti, reduce the amount of water you add, to get a thicker consistency. To eat with rice, a thinner consistency is preferred.
I cook this dal entirely in the pressure cooker, partly because it is quicker and partly because I am lazy to wash many dishes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can use a kadhai or a sauce pan with a lid to make this Palak Dal. You will find that this does not alter the taste or texture of the Palak Dal, however, it does take longer to cook the dal. And that means you have to wait longer to eat this awesome curry!!!
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Spinach Dal | Palak Dal
Spinach Dal or Palak Dal is a spiced dal made from pigeon pea lentils (toor dal) and spinach.
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: North Indian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 3-4
5-6 cups chopped Spinach (Palak)
1 cup Pigeon Pea Lentils (Toor Dal)
3-4 pods Garlic
1" piece Ginger
1-2 Green Chilli
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
3 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
Boil the toor dal with 2.5 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Remove the dal and clean the pressure cooker for re-use.
Wash and chop the palak leaves.
Chop the onion and tomato and keep aside.
Grind the ginger, garlic, and the green chillies into a paste.
Heat oil in the pressure cooker, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Now add the cumin seeds and let them brown slightly.
Add the chopped onions.
Fry the onions until translucent.
Add the ginger-garlic-chilli paste and fry until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add garam masala and mix well.
Add chopped palak and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the boiled dal, turmeric powder, salt and 1 cup of water.
Close the pressure cooker and cook for 1-2 whistles or around 5 minutes after the pressure builds up.
If you want it to be thinner in consistency, then add more water.
Serve hot with rice.
If not using a pressure cooker, you can just use a regular deep sauce pan with a tight lid. There will be no difference in taste or texture, however, it will take longer to cook the Spinach Dal.