Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Lasooni Dal Palak - Garlicky Lentils with Spinach

Dal curry always awakens fond memories from my childhood days. Any form of dal always remain my favourite and my mum was always an expert at her beautifully cooked lentils. Spinach dal or dal palak was one of her specialities, and as children we used to slurp it all up.

Dal, in most Indian cuisines, is a side dish that goes both with rice and roti. As most dishes, it is cooked differently from state to state. However, it is a must-have in a "Thali". My mouth waters whenever I think of a good lunch thali from my favourite vegetarian restaurant. I particularly like this form of dal because it uses very less oil and thus is a great dish for all those weight watchers out there!

This simple dal palak is lip-smacking good. It was my first attempt at making the curry and I have to say, it was Yum! Light, delectable, easy dish, I should say. The aroma from the garlic and the fresh green colours of the spinach makes this an absolutely irresistable dish. And for those of you who don't relish spinach, this is a great way to eat your greens. I read some recipes online and also watched a cookery show that showed similar recipes and I knew what I had to do. I have tried to recreate some of that magic with this dish myself and hope you will enjoy it too. Piping hot phulka rotis, some yummy lasooni dal palak and a cool cucumber raita, and there you have your wholesome meal!

The curry is so good, that if you are not careful, you will never get to eat it with rotis or rice because you would already have had it as soup. Mmm...!


Toor/Arhar Dal (washed & drained) - 3/4 cup
Fresh Spinach (washed & coarsely chopped) - 1 bunch
Garlic (finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
Big Onion (finely chopped) - 1 (medium size)
Tomato (finely chopped) - 1 (medium size)
Ginger (finely chopped) - 1/2 tsp
Green chillies (slit lengthwise) - 3
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Ghee/Oil - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Salt - to taste


Pressure cook the toor/arhar dal with 2 green chillies, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and enough water till soft. Once cooked, mash and keep aside.

Heat ghee/oil in a pan and splutter cumin seeds. Once they start popping, add chopped garlic and ginger and remaining green chillies and saut'e till raw smell disappears. Once the raw smell disappears, add finely chopped onion and fry till golden brown. Add chilli powder and remaining turmeric powder and saut'e till raw smell goes away. Now add the chopped tomatoes and salt and saut'e till soft and oil separates. Add the coarsely chopped spinach and toss till it reduces in quantity. (a few minutes approx)

Now add the cooked lentils into the spinach mixture and mix well. Once it starts boiling, switch off flame and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with roti/chapathi/rice.

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