Yellow lentils with Spinach (Palak Dal)
This recipe is a great way to add some greens to your meal and turn up the health quotient. Lentils are high in protein and vitamin B and a very good source of cholesterol reducing fiber. Spinach is well known for its nutritional benefits and its high in vitamins K and C and folic acid and other important minerals. I cook this lentil recipe at least once a week for my daughter who loves this dal. Its quick, simple and delicious when you are looking for something that is less in calories and more in goodness. If you do not have yellow lentils you can use any lentil of your choice and it will taste just as good. Enjoy!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 people
Toor daal – 1.5 cups
Tomato – 1, chopped
Turmeric powder – 3 tsp
Red chili powder – 2 tsp (if you want the daal to be spicier, you can use green chili in the tadka/tempering)
Amchur powder (dried mango powder) – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Spinach – 300 gms, washed and finely chopped
Red onion – 1, finely chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves, chopped fine
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
Asafoetida (hing in hindi) – a pinch
Green chili – 1 whole (you can cut the chilies if you like the dal to be spicier
Garnish: Fresh Coriander leaves – chopped and lemon wedges
Wash the daal with several rinses of water. Soak the daal in 4 cups of warm water for an hour at least. Now add the daal along with the water used to soak the daal, in the pan. If using a pressure cooker, reduce the quantity of water to 3 cups. Add the turmeric, amchur, red chili powders, salt and tomatoes to the pan. Cover and cook the daal (takes from 45 minutes to an hour or sometimes more… depends on the quality of the lentils). The pressure cooker will take about 15 minutes. If the water begins to froth and bubble, then remove the lid or cover it partly and continue to cook the lentils till they become soft and creamy. If the water becomes less, then add some additional hot water.
Once the dal is cooked it should be creamy and soft (press the lentil between your fingers, if it crushes easily and creamy, it should be cooked). Give it a good stir with a ladle such that the dal and tomatoes are well blended with the water. Keep aside.
Now prepare for the Spinach tempering/tadka.
Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan. Start by adding cumin seeds, mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pop, turn the heat to low and add asafetida followed by the rest of the ingredients of the tempering except the spinach. Stir the onions until light pink and then add the chopped spinach. Stir-fry the spinach on high heat for 2 minutes. Its important to not overcook the spinach otherwise it looses its color and nutritional properties.
Now transfer the tempering to the pan in which the daal is cooked.
Squeeze some lemon (2 tsp) and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice or home-made bread (roti).