I am always on a lookout to get more recipes where I can use green vegetables and lentils, both being very nutritious and my favorite. I usually just add spinach or fenugreek (methi) leaves to any Daal I prepare, but this one is not just a random experiment from my kitchen. Its a Maharashtrian speciality lentil curry, and is very nutritious. While spinach adds iron and vitamins to this dish, Chana dal adds nutrients like calcium, iron, folic acid, zinc and fibre. I have also added some peanuts to the curry, which is how I tasted it the first time at a Maharashtrian friends place. Its optional, but brings in a nice crunch to the whole dish.
Preparation is easy and doesn’t take much time. Even my husband, who doesn’t like spinach that much, loves this curry . I tend to add a lot of garlic to this one, since I love the combination of spinach and garlic. Click for more Spinach recipes.
Chana Dal is high in fiber and help to lower cholesterol. But it is heavy on stomach too, so don’t forget to add a digestive to the curry. I use ginger, cumin seeds and asafoetida, all of them together. But you may skip anyone of them as per your preference.
You can prepare this two ways- either by boiling dal alone first and then preparing tadka with spinach leaves, then mixing everything together. Or you may boil the spinach leaves with dal itself and then mix with the tadka. In the second method, the spinach leaves will be mashed up and the consistency of the dal will be thin. I like this curry thick with chana dal not too mashed up. So I use the first method to prepare it.
This again is a vegan curry, like many of the other Indian lentil curries. Check out more healthy and delicious Indian lentil curries (daal)
Do write to me if you try this recipe and it comes out to be good. Even if not, I would love to hear from you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see more of these recipes and inside fun.
What you need?
- 1 cup chana dal
- 1 cup packed spinach leaves , washed and chopped (about 150 gms)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp of dry roasted peanuts ** see notes if using raw peanuts
- A small piece of ginger, grated or chopped small
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 dried red chilies
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp red chili powder, turmeric powder each
- ½ tsp coriander powder, cumin seeds each
- Salt to taste
- Handful of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) to garnish
How to make?
- Soak Chana dal for 1-2 hours in warm water. Rinse well, taking the white starch out. Keep aside.
- Pressure cook the lentils with 1 tsp salt and turmeric powder till just 1 whistle. Do not over cook. Open the cooker when pressure ease off. **See notes If using pan to cook the daal.
- In a wide bottomed pan, heat the oil . Add in cumin seeds and dried red chilies and let the seeds splutter.
- Add in ginge, garlic and fry for 10 seconds. Add in chopped onion and sauté till it turns light brown. Will take about 5-6 minutes.
- Now add chopped tomatoes and all the remaining spices. Cook covered for 4-5 min till tomatoes get mushy. Keep the flame low throughout.
- Add in roasted peanuts and chopped spinach. Saute for the next 8-10 minutes till spinach leaves are wilted.
- Add the boiled Chana dal, mix well and cook covered for a few minutes, stirring occasionally in between. If there is too much of water, cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes on high flame to let the water evaporate. Adjust seasoning and turn off the flame.
- Serve hot , garnishing with more garam masala if required and fresh cilantro leaves. It pairs well with rice and chapathi both
- Ensure that you do not overcook chana dal, as it should be separate and not mashed.
- You can skip the onion and the peanut if you want, the rest is important to attain the taste. Of course, if you dont eat garlic, you would need to replace it with asafoetida (heeng)
- ** If you are boiling the dal in a pan instead of pressure cooker, soak the daal over night. And cook for 40-50 minutes with 4 cups of water, covered all the time. Stir in between till you get the desired consistency and texture.
- **If you are using raw unroasted peanuts, you may boil them with the chana dal and they will get cooked along with.
There is another lentil curry which I love with spinach –
prepared in a different way. Just another comfort food for the lazy days.