Spinach in lentils (Dal palak)

Dal palak or palak dal must be one of the most popular comfort foods in India. Everyone has their own version of this dish. Hot rice and this dal makes one of the most soothing and fulfilling combination. I have tried it many times and also tasted it in many friends places, though I loved all the different versions, I always wanted to twist it. This time while I was making this, I got a new idea and I should say this was the best palak daal I ever prepared here.

All these days I used to fry onion, tomato and add mashed daal, cooked palak to it. Though daal gives a thick consistency to it, I used to add a lot of daal to make it a thick gravy. So this time, I fried cumin seeds, garlic, onion, tomato and ground them into a coarse paste. This gave a thick base of onion and tomatoes. This came out delicious.

1/2 cup toor dal
3/4 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped tomato
3-4 green chilies
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1/2 tea spn urad dal
A pinch of asafoetida(optional)
4-5 curry leaves
A pinch of turmeric
1 tea spn chopped garlic

Cook toor dal with a pinch of turmeric till it is well mashed. Mash it with a spoon. Cook spinach. You can use two cooker vessels to cook these two at a time.
Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Add garlic, green chilies and onions till onions turn slightly brownish. Add tomato, salt and cook till tomatoes become slightly tender. Grind this mixture into a coarse paste.
Cook the paste with dal, spinach. Remove from heat when they are well cooked.
Heat a little oil, add urad dal. When it becomes brownish, add a generous pinch of asafoetida and curry leaves. Instead of adding garlic in paste, it can be added at this step to get a garlicky taste. Add this seasoning to the daal.
Serve hot with hot rice and ghee.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 20mins

PS: A little tamarind can be added to suit the taste.

24 thoughts on “Spinach in lentils (Dal palak)”

  1. Hi Shilpa,

    Dal palak is one of my favourite comfort food, i make it atleast once a week!! Next time will try your version. Thanks for sharing.

  2. An interesting recipe which has cumin and urad dal together … have never tried this combination before !! Must be ummy..have to try it!! Daal palak is my favourite.

    Don’t see the red colour of the tomatoes in the picture though !!

    Why not cook the spinach and daal together ? Fewer pans to clean !! I normally cook the daal and spinach together in a microwave using the microwave cooker !!

  3. Shilpa-
    looks very good- a very nutritious dish that I have made now and then- I love it with rice too; will try your recipe next time! Grinding the masala is new to me, must be quite smooth flavour!
    As Chetna does, I also just put chopped or hand-torn raw spinach into the daal near the end of cooking- it retains all the vitamins this way. Then add masala and cook a little, then temper.
    P.S. This is one of your most beautiful photos!

  4. Shilpa, the new look of the site is great…

    The dal looks good..i make them in the same grounds but i cook both the dal and the greens together..thanks for the recipe..

  5. I love Dal with all kinds of greens. Shall take your slightly longer route of frying and then making the paste
    I also add Bok Choy to Dal, adding greens to Dal is a good way of having them I think

  6. Hey …a little twist from the usual ‘palak wali dal’. Must try this way. I do not add curry leaves, as in Northern India curry leaves are not used. I add cut palak at a later stage to retain the colour. Thanks for posting.

  7. Hi Shilpa, I love spinach dal, and I love it with garlic — haven’t tried making a paste with this however. I shall try it your way next time. Can’t beat a spinach and garlic combo! 🙂

  8. Suma, I think everyone in India is a huge fan of daal palak. I just love it. Let me know if you try it.

    Sig, I would love to read your recipe. Please post it sometime.

    You are welcome Usha.

    Thanks Asha. This template was in pipeline for last few months. There were so many different templates we thought about and finally I loved this one :).

    Thanks Swapna.

    Manjula, I don’t make this daal palak with malbar spinach. I love the 3 kinds of KOnkani vali bhaji preparations with it

    Chetna, I usually mash the daal before adding it to daal palak. If I cook both together and try to mash it, the palak gets mashed too, which I don’t like. So I cook them separately. But it entirely depends on individual choice.

    Pelicano, I will try your and Chetana’s method next time. I never cooked it in microwave here, I always use cooker. So it is difficult for me to open the cooker in between and add palak. But I am going to try it in microwave next time.
    About pictures, I am trying my best to learn food photography. It takes a lot of time for me now as I don’t know how I should be holding camera to get good pictures :(.

    Deepz thanks. Please post your version.

    Thanks Sudha. Nice to see you back in action after so long :).

    Sandeepa, I din’t realize it is the longer way :(. But all the trouble is paid off when you taste this :). I am going to try bok choy next time.

    Aruna, yes North India curry leaves usage is almost null, but I like the flavor of it. So I change it :).

    Linda, please try it and let me know :).

  9. Hi shilpa
    i use palak for my daughter only.i do this dish very often.i add tamarind too.as u said it will enhances the taste of it..the pisture is good.

  10. Hey Shilpa,

    I made dal palak using your recipe and it turned out to be just awesome !!! Your recipes are always right on the mark 🙂 I had also made your paneer chilli and its super delicious too !! Keep up the good work 🙂

  11. I never made it with tomatoes…will try.

    One doubt…My mai says that you never mix hing and garlic in one dish (though my aai does that sometimes). Please help me sort out this teeny weeny conflict…

    Shilpa: Varsha, I have heard mom also saying that hing and garlic should not be mixed. Mostly this is the rule in Konkani cooking. We never add hing/curry leaves if we add garlic and vice versa. But in Kannada/Marathi cooking, I have seen many recipes which include both. Just today I made a Kannada dish which has both. So I think it depends on how people have followed for years.

  12. can you please tell me , what is Toor dahl and what is Urad dahl. Thankyou, Dona

    Shilpa: Dona, please click on urad dal to know more about it. I will update toor dal soon.

  13. Beautiful recipe – I made this last night and can’t wait to eat more of it for lunch today! I love a garlicky flavour in my daal so added the garlic to the tempering mix right at the end with the hing as suggested. Love the website, I’ll look forward to making more of your recipes!

  14. thank you for the repices,

    I find it odd that you used the measurement method “cup” for such foods as onion, tomato, spinach,

    i think grams would be easyer for all levels of cooks mainly westerns because we really wouldnt know what would happened if we added too much or to less of something, or if it would make and diff/ at all, and i really wouldnt want to waste and items of foods,

    Shilpa: Mike, it is very difficult for me to weigh every ingredient while posting it. Also most of the readers like the measurements in cups. Most of the sites call for 1 onion, 1 tomato – but again, thats confusing as they come in different weights. So I thought of using cups. Most of us don’t have weighing machines at home, thats another concern for me. I might be totally wrong

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