A North Indian inspired lentil / dal curry with a South Indian twist!!! It’s a simple, easy, n healthy side dish with spinach and split pigeon peas in a coconut blend, goes well with rice.
Lentils are an excellent source of proteins and minerals, high in fiber content and helps in maintaining blood sugar levels. As part of a balanced diet, including lentils, beans or peas is a healthy choice and a good replacement for non-vegetarian food. In fact the United Nations declared 2016 as the “International Year of Pulses”, to spread the awareness about its benefits to the world. The term dal refers to the preparation of pulses along with other ingredients in a gravy form, and is an important staple food in Indian cuisine. Combining the super-rich spinach with lentils – it’s a perfect balance of flavour in a healthy way.
I was introduced to this recipe by my mother-in-law, she cooks this dish quite often at home and everybody loves it in our family. She learned the preparation of authentic palak dal from her North-Indian friends a long time ago, and later added her twist with South-Indian ingredients. For those who do not know, there are huge differences in dishes prepared across the various provinces of India. This recipe was new to me as we never cooked green spinach at my home. Whenever we both talk about this dish, she used to tell me the story of how she used to feed my husband when he was a kid with this dish as he was a huge fan of “Popeye the Sailor Man”, he enjoyed it hoping to become strong as Popeye… n that’s how this curry became my husband’s favorite dish…!!
In this recipe I used split pigeon peas /toor dal / tuvara parippu combined with spinach, pressure cooked, and later combined with garlic, green chilies and cumin seeds, blended in a coconut mixture. The consistency of the gravy is slightly thick.
Enjoy, and stay Healthy…!!!
Prep time: 30 mins
Serves: 4 – 5 servings
- 1 ½ cup spinach (finely chopped)
- ½ cup split pigeon peas / toor dal / tuvara parippu
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup grated coconut
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
- 2 green chilies
- 1 tomato (chopped)
- mustard seeds (a pinch)
- 2 dried red chilies
- salt (as required)
- 2 cups of water
- Add dal, spinach, water and a little salt in to a pressure cooker and cook till its whistle blows once.
- Meantime, make a paste of coconut, garlic, turmeric powder, green chilies and cumin seeds, and keep aside.
- To the cooked dal, add the coconut paste and boil the curry on a low flame.
- If you prefer a thin curry then add another ½ cup of water, otherwise skip.
- In another pan prepare the tempering by adding a little oil, mustard seeds and dried red chilies.
- Once the mustard seeds splutter, add chopped tomatoes and saute for a while till it turns mushy.
- Add this tempering to the boiling dal and mix well. Check for the seasoning.
- When the curry starts to thicken up, turn off the flame.
Serve hot with steamed rice or roti.