Making Arhar Dal Palak/ Spinach Lentil Dal/ Stew
This is a versatile dish, and you can substitute the palak (spinach) for other leafy greens such as methi saag (fenugreek leaves)or amaranthus leaves. Or with Kale leaves. You get the double nutritious benefit of the lentils as well as the greens. Turmeric, fenugreek seeds, cumin and the curry leaves add to the nutrition quotient of the dal palak along with ginger and garlic.
Sauté the greens lightly until just done, so that you can retain as much of the nutrition as possible. I prefer to pressure cook the dal so that the spinach leaves when added later on, do not have to cook for long and the lentils are also cooked through.
The yellow lentils/ split pigeon pea lentils used here are cooked soft and mashed to give the arhar dal palak just the right consistency.
Other Indian Dal Recipes From This Blog:
Arhar Dhal Palak -Pigeon Pea Lentils with sautéed Spinach
For cooking the Dal:
- 1 cup arahar dal - split pigeon pea lentils/ towar dal/ split yellow lentils
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
For the Dal Palak
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil - mild oil like sunflower/ or ghee for non vegans
- 1 smidgen Methi seeds / Fenugreek seeds - 1/32 of a teaspoon; small quantity about 5-6 seeds
- ½ teaspoon Jeera seeds / Cumin seeds
- 1 green chili - small chili/ to taste
- a few curry leaves - 4-5 leaves
- ¼ inch ginger piece - minced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup onion - 1 small sliced onion
- 3 cups spinach - washed, drained chopped small
- ½ cup tomato - 1 small sliced ripe tomato
- ½ teaspoon salt - or to taste
To cook the Dal
- Rinse the arahar dal/ yellow lentils, add the turmeric powder and Pressure cook in 2 cups of water for 3 whistles till soft. If not using a pressure cooker, cook till soft and mashable, on low heat in 2.5 cups of water and the turmeric powder, stirring frequently to ensure the lentils don't catch or char at the bottom of the pan. Top with a little water if its becoming dry. This method may take about 20 minutes.
- While the dal/ lentils are cooking, Chop the spinach, stalks and all, into 2 cm pieces. Wash and clean the spinach, ensuring there are no grits. Set aside in a colander to drain, or spin in a salad spinner. Slice the onion and tomato into small pieces. Slice the green chili. Peel and mince the ginger and garlic. Mince the curry leaves
To Make Arhar Dal Palak/ Spinach Lentils Stew
- Once the dal is done and the pressure cooker is ready to be opened, set a pan on low heat and add the oil. (If you are not vegan, you may like to use ghee - it gives its special aroma to the dish).
- When the oil is hot, add fenugreek seeds, saute for 2 seconds (on low heat) or till they begin to darken and burst.Add cumin seeds, sauté for 2 secs
- Add the sliced green chili, let it scald ( discolour). Add the curry leaf pieces. if they are fresh, they may sputter. Add the minced ginger sauté for 10 secs, add the garlic and sauté for another 10 secs or till they begin to discolour.
- Add chopped drained spinach, sauté on high flame for 2 minutes. stirring continuously. Lower the flame, add tomato slices and let the spinach ( which would have wilted down by now) cook for 3-5 minutes till it is almost dry. Keep stirring so that the mixture doesn't 'catch' or char at the bottom of the pan.
- Meanwhile take the cooked dal/lentils out of the cooker. Use a whisk/ masher gently on the dal so that it is fluid and mashed. Don't whisk it into a paste though. Add the dal to the spinach onion mixture. Add a little water (about ½ a cup) if its very thick, as per the consistency you prefer. Add salt to taste, stir it in.Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce to low heat and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Serve hot with chapatis or rice, and a dry sabzi ( vegetable), along with slices of onion and radish seasoned with salt and pepper.