April 16, 2013

Dal Palak / Spinach Lentil Gravy

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Palak Dal or Dal Palak is a very comforting side dish for plain rice,rotis (Indian Flat Bread) or any flavored rice.

Dal Palak is a very popular and frequently ordered item at the restaurants . It tastes really delicious when mixed with hot steamed rice and ghee . An absolute comfort and nutritious meal option which can be made quickly without any complex preparations.  I love to have palak dal with rice more than rotis . I feel when mixed with rice or jeera rice, the flavor of palak dal is even more evident and enjoyable .

Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients and vitamins and we don't need any special introduction to the health benefits of consuming spinach/palak on a regular basis . Kids generally detest from having greens on a regular basis but we can always incorporate palak in our meals in various ways so that it doesn't get boring. 

I try to use palak in different ways like Sambar , keerai masiyal , parathas and all time favorite palak paneer or Aloo Palak .

The hot tempering of cumin seeds and red chilli powder when mixed with the palak dal ,the dal gets a fantastic flavor ,aroma and a beautiful color from the chilli powder fried in oil 

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 30 mins
Serves : 2-3

1/2 cup thoor dal / split yellow pigeon peas
2 cups packed chopped spinach
1 tomato chopped
1 medium sized onion chopped (optional) 
ginger finely chopped
1 tsp garlic paste (optional) 
3-4 green chillies chopped
1 tsp ghee / cooking oil  
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
2 dry red chillies
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
pinch of turmeric

Note - 
  • Skip the onion and garlic if you are making a Saatvik version or No Onion No garlic version of dal palak.
  • Skip ghee for vegan diet followers 
  • To make it Jain friendly ,donot use ginger ,onions and garlic .


  • Wash the toor dal well under running water and clean it thoroughly.
  • In a pressure cooker,add the dal,chopped spinach/palak,onion,tomato,ginger,garlic paste,turmeric with sufficient water and pressure cook for about 2 -3  whistles or until the dal is cooked well.(Soft and mushy).
  • Wait until the pressure is released and then open slowly and stir well. Add the required amount of salt. Mash the dal using a masher once to get a nice consistency. 
  • If the dal is still watery ,you can boil in the same cooker for about  3-4 mins until the excess water is reduced.
  • Prepare the seasoning using ghee and cumin seeds and pour over the dal and serve hot with rotis or rice.  Add the chilli powder to the hot oil after turning off the stove.  This will prevent the chilli powder from burning and retain the bright red color .
  • If you like the flavor of garlic ,you can fry one small clove of garlic finely chopped while frying the cumin seeds .

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  1. Priya, this is one of my favourite, love palak dal with rice or hot roti. So easy to make and very comforting. Your fiery red tempering on top is making me hungry.

  2. Love to make dal palak as it is versatile to use. My son has it with pulav too though I love to have it with roti.

  3. comfort food for all the year through. I dont add onions or garlic. the tempering on top makes it so so good. I cant believe its still not on my blog yet :-)

  4. Comfort of palak dal with steamed rice is one I crave in winter times. I love the spicy topping you have here.

  5. Dal palak is a comfort Meal anytime .Love the tadka on the top. Beautifully presented Priya.


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