Christmas is nearby and the spirits are very high in this part of the world. I enjoy having a few days’ extra leaves and meeting friends. Everything looks so glittery and all faces so happy. I wish the world would always be like that. Amen!
Moving forward, another good thing about winters is the fresh green leafy vegetables we get in the season. I bring at least one bunch every weekend for the grocery. And sometimes, I get over excited and pick up a lot of them for the week. When I do that, I have a whole bunch of recipes to try on, but as week passes, my energy levels go down and I end up kneading the green puree in the chapatti dough or some other stuff. Same thing happened last weekend, when I picked up two 500gms packets of baby spinach from the supermarket. They were really nice, tender and shiny leaves and I couldn’t resists buying an extra pack. Thought I will make Paalak Paneer. But then I couldn’t get myself to prepare it until Wednesday ad so had to use at least 1 packet so we consume it while its still fresh.
I usually don’t tend to make Parathas on weekdays, to keep it light. So they were out of question and I was too bored of having green chapathis for the whole of last week. So I planned to try this new Dal recipe, where we mix spinach puree to Arhar dal. Though I do tend to make Dal Palak a lot, which is yellow mung daal cooked with chopped spinach. But the taste is entirely different. And the texture too. That reminds me, I have to post that recipe too.. it’s been in my drafts for so long now.
Anyway, so I wanted to keep dinner light and since I was serving this Dal with rice I didn’t want to add chopped spinach. So I added the puree, just 2 tbsp of thick spinach puree. And to balance out the taste I added a tomato too. The dal turned out to be really tasty. If you haven’t tried adding spinach this way to your lentil curries, this is good way to start doing that.
What you need?
- 1 cup Toor Dal ( Pigeon peas, Arhar Daal)
- 2 cups packed spinach leaves
- 1 large tomato, chopped small
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
- ½ inch long piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1-2 green chilies, chopped small
- 1-2 dried red chilies
- ¼ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Mustard oil (or any other cooking oil of your choice)
- Rinse spinach leaves thoroughly. Place in a microwave dish, and run on full power for 5 minutes. The leaves will be wilted, let them cool off. Squeeze out the extra water and pulse in a blender for just 5-6 seconds to roughly blend it. Keep aside. *
- Soak Arhar daal in enough water for half an hour, rinse well and keep aside.
- Take lentils with 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker**. Add in 2 tbsp of spinach puree we prepared, and chopped tomato.
- Add in 1 tsp of salt and turmeric, and cook it till 3 whistles. Open when the pressures eases off. Mix well to get even texture
- In a small Tadka pan (sauce pan), heat the oil. throw in cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add in chopped garlic, ginger and green chilies. Fry for half a minute, just till the garlic gets little brown.
- Add in all the remaining spices with dried red chilies, let it sizzle for 10 seconds and pour this “tadka” over the cooked Daal. Let the mixture simmer for another 5-6 minutes and then turn off.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves if required, and serve with rice, chapatti, pickle and raita aside.
- * If not using microwave to blanch spinach- transfer the leaves in a sauce pan, add 1 tbsp water. Cook on medium for about 5-6 minutes till the leaves get wilted down at the bottom of the pan. Proceed as above
- ** If not using pressure cooker, soak the lentils for more than hour in warm water. And then cook in a deep & heavy bottomed pan for about 50-60 minutes to get the desired consistency.
- I add a lot of garlic whenever I cook anything with spinach. Somehow I just cannot have spinach without garlic. You may skip it and simply add ginger and green chilies if you want. Or you may also add onion to the “tadka” along with ginger-garlic. I don’t usually add onion if serving dal with rice so have omitted it.
- This is a vegan recipe by default, like most of the Indian lentil dishes are. But you may add oodles of Ghee on top, to enjoy it even more.
- Squeezing some lemon juice in this dal also enhances the overall taste.
If you are looking for more healthy lentil recipes- check out two of my favourite Daal recipes below:
Gujarati Daal: Very flavourful lentil curry, with peanuts and jaggery
Maharashtrian Usal – Sprouted green Moong curry with coconut