Dal palak (lentils with spinach ) 2 methods!

Dal palak(2)
Tarka with whole dried chillies and cumin

Dal palak(3)
Full tarka with dried chillies, garlic and cumin

Lentils are the mainstay of Asian cuisine – nutritious, easy to cook and versatile.  Lentils and spinach or dal palak as it is known more commonly, is a dish prepared with lentils and spinach, but nothing to stop you from adding carrots, marrow, green beans, sauteed shallots or leeks, green pepper, swede, turnips instead….the list is endless and it is a matter of imagination and preference what you pop into the pan once the lentils are cooked.  I sometimes add some seitan or braised tofu which you can buy in tins from Holland & Barrett or Oriental supermarkets.

One other thing to bear in mind is you don’t necessarily have to use orange lentils – mung dal with or without skin, green lentils or puy lentils also work very well with spinach. 

Ingredients

1 cup orange lentils (masur dal), rinsed
I teaspoon curry powder (hot or mild, your choice!)
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, ground or finely chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, ground or finely chopped
About 100-125 grams fresh whole leaf spinach or equivalent frozen
Salt to taste
1-2 fresh green chillies (optional)
Garnish/Tarka
1 and a bit tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 whole dried chillies (optional)

Method 1

  1. Rinse the lentils, add all the spices and about 1 litre of water, bring to boil, lower heat to lowest and cook partially covered for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally
  2. Add spinach, salt and whole green chillies, if using; cook uncovered on low/medium heat for a further 15-20 minutes or until the dal is of the consistency you like – if it is too runny, turn the heat up and let it thicken for another few minutes – don’t forget to give it the occasional stir to stop it sticking to the pan!
  3. Make the tarka as below and pour on dal

Garnish/Tarka

  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the dry chillies, if using
  • Give it 30 seconds and add garlic – let the garlic turn golden
  • Pop in the cumin seeds and give it 30 seconds, pour on dal

Second recipe (sorry didn’t take a picture with the tarka, was only posting it for Facebook friends!)
Ingredients

1 cup mung dal without skin, rinsed
1 level teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli powder (add as much or as little as you wish!)
3 cloves garlic, ground or finely chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, ground or finely chopped
1 small onion, sliced
About 100-125 grams fresh whole leaf spinach or equivalent frozen
4 cherry tomatoes
1 veggie stock cube (I use Kallo)
Garnish/Tarka
1 and a bit tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 level teaspoon cumin seeds

Method 2

  1. Rinse the lentils, add all the spices and onion with about 1 litre of water, bring to boil, lower heat to lowest and cook partially covered for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally
  2. Now add the halved cherry tomatoes, spinach and stock cube; cook uncovered on low/medium heat for a further 15-20 minutes or until dal is of the consistency you like – if it is too runny, turn the heat up and let it thicken for another few minutes – don’t forget to give it the occasional stir to stop it sticking to the pan!
  3. Make the tarka as below and pour on dal

Garnish/Tarka

  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add garlic, fry until golden brown
  • Pop in the cumin seeds and give it 30 seconds; pour on dal

Note: Traditionally, dal is served with rice, however, there is no reason why you can’t have this as soup with pitta or crusty bread. If you don’t wish to garnish it with the tarka, simply drizzle a little olive oil

 

2 thoughts on “Dal palak (lentils with spinach ) 2 methods!

  1. Hi Raks,
    This dal recipe looks really good, just the sort of thing I would like (being a bit of a spinach fiend!) I’m definitely going to give it a try at some point but I was just wondering if you have a nice simple dal recipe that DOESN’T include spinach. My sister is coming this weekend and we’re going to have a vegan curry night – basically it’s just an excuse for me to make your delicious sag aloo for her! I thought I’d do that plus a couple of other dishes to complement it. She’s told me she doesn’t like really hot curries and that she prefers dal dishes. I would make this one but don’t want to go into spinach overkill! Any ideas?!

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