Spicy Spinach Gravy (Palak Garam Masale Ambat)

We both love ambat(gravy) with garam masala in it. There are many dishes with this traditional paste in it – like mushroom gravy, masoor bhaji, potato bhaji, green peas kurma and many more. At my home, all these dishes are prepared for breakfast with either puris or dosas. V likes to eat them any meal of the day.

So recently when I was running out of ideas to make with spinach, I thought this masala would make a delicious ambat. I wanted to make it like a spinach dal but with a garam masala twist. It came out very delicious. This can go well with rice or chapatis. If you do not have pearl onions, normal onion can be used.

2 cups spinach
3/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup pearl onions(sambar onion)
A pinch turmeric
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract

4 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn garlic
1/2 cup onion
5 red chillies
1/4 cup tomato

Heat oil and add cloves, cinnamon, coriander seeds, garlic and onions. Fry till onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, red chillies and fry for few more minutes. Grind to a paste.
Cook toor dal with enough water and turmeric till it is cooked. Mash it with the back of a spoon.
Cook spinach till it is soft. Add it to cooked toor dal. Add salt, paste, tamarind, mix and let it cook for 3-4mins. Take off the heat.
Heat oil and add pearl onions. Fry for few minutes. Pour this over dal.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins


24 thoughts on “Spicy Spinach Gravy (Palak Garam Masale Ambat)”

  1. You continue to amaze us Shilpa!
    and those sauteeing baby onions look so delicious!

    Get your fill of cooking now, coz its not going to happen much when the maestro gets in the kitchen 🙂


    1. I was advised to use lots of spinach in the cooking due to its iron and fiber content. I try to use it atleast 3-4 times a week. I started as a spinach hater and now I am a convert :). I am still not very comfortable with spinach salad, but I think I will soon get adjusted to that also.

  2. Thanx Shilpa,
    I just love ur blog.Ujust can,t decide what to cook everyday.
    But looks like this Watan(curry paste) is never going to leave me.

  3. Hi shipa, now i became a regular visitor to ur website.
    And tried so many receipes of urs.
    Good job and keep going.
    All the Best.

  4. shilpa, This dish looks very impressive, but both palak and the flesh around tomato seeds are high in purine content which increases the possibility of gout and other disorders,( My hus has been advised to avoid both) . So why not we try tamarind insted of tomatoes or kokum, pl advise

  5. Hi Shilpa,

    recipe sure seems very iteresting! i gonna try it right away. But meantime could u pls specify the qnty of oil u used to make the paste? I always wish to use minimum amt but at the same time not sacrifice the taste. also I am rather new to cooking – so if i have the exact quantities with me I feel more comfortable. Thanx.

  6. hi shilpa,
    i have been following your blog for some time and have found it very useful as a working mom living outside india. i’m keen to try this ambat and will let you know how it turns out. i noted your comment about not liking spinach in salads. have you tried baby spinach? i love it with roasted pumpkin and feta cheese with a drizzle of tamarind chutney and olive oil as dressing.

  7. Prachi Masurekar

    Tried this for dinner last night and like all your recipes this was also delicious; thanks a lot. I love the simplicity of your blog as much as your authentic recipes.

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