Savoury Palak or spinach can jazz up your everyday lentils for a tasty and nutritious dish. Dhal Palak is usually made with Moong dhal, but try this recipe with Arhar or pigeon pea lentils, for a robust and flavoursome side dish.
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. 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 dhal palak.
Sauté the greens lightly until just done, so that you can retain as much of the nutrition as possible.I pressure cook the dhal so that the spinach leaves when added later on, do not have to cook for long and the dhal is also well done.
Arhar Dhal Palak -Pigeon Pea Lentils with sautéed Spinach
- 1 cup arahar dhal - pigeon pea lentils/ toor dhal
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- to taste salt
- 1 onion - about ½ cup of sliced onion
- 1 green chilli
- 1 tomato
- ¼" Ginger piece - about ½ cup of sliced tomato
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp Jeera Cumin seeds
- 3 - 4 Methi Fenugreek seeds
- a few curry leaves
- a few coriander leaves - /fresh dhania leaves
- 1/2 tbsp ghee - / Oil
- Wash the Toor dhal, add the turmeric powder and Pressure cook in 2 cups of water for 3 whistles. Meanwhile wash and clean the spinach, ensuring there are no grits left. Set aside in a colander, to drain.
- Chop the onions, green chilli, and tomato. Mince the ginger and garlic. Mince the curry leaves and the coriander leaves. Chop the spinach, stalks and all, into 1 - 2 cm pieces.
- Once the dhal is done and cooker is ready to be opened, set a pan on low heat and add the ghee/ oil. Ghee, if used, gives its special aroma to the dish.
- When the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, sauté for 10 secs and add the fenugreek. Sauté for 10 - 20 secs till the fenugreek begins to darken, on low flame.
- Add the green chilli, let it scald ( discolour). Add the curry leaf pieces so they sputter. Add the ginger, sauté for 10 secs, add the garlic and sauté for another 10-20 secs.
- Add chopped spinach, sauté on high flame for 2 minutes. stirring continuously. Lower the flame, add chopped tomatoes and let the spinach ( which would have wilted down by now) cook for 3-5 minutes. Keep stirring so that the vegetable doesn't 'catch' the bottom of the pan or char.
- Use a whisk gently on the dhal so that it is fluid and individual grains are not visible. Don't whisk it into a paste. Add to the spinach onion mixture. Add salt to taste, stir it in.
- Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with chapatis or rice, and a dry sabzi ( vegetable), along with slices of onion and radish seasoned with salt and pepper.