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A Taste of Comfort: Palak Dal Recipe

Palak dal, also known as spinach dal, is a classic Indian dish that combines the goodness of lentils with the vibrant taste of spinach. It’s a hearty, flavorful, and nutritious meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup lentils (moong dal or toor dal are popular choices)
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 green chili, chopped (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Rinse the lentils: Wash the lentils thoroughly in several changes of water until the water runs clear.
  2. Cook the lentils: In a pressure cooker or pot, add the lentils, turmeric powder, and enough water to cover them by about an inch. Cook according to package instructions or until the lentils are soft and mushy. You can also mash them slightly for a thicker consistency.
  3. Prepare the spinach: While the lentils are cooking, wash and chop the spinach. You can also blanch it in boiling water for a minute to retain its vibrant color and remove any bitterness.
  4. Temper the dal: Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then, add chopped green chili (if using), ginger, and garlic. Saute for a few seconds until fragrant.
  5. Add the aromatics: Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent.
  6. Add tomatoes and spices: Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become mushy. Stir in chili powder (if using) and salt to taste.
  7. Combine everything: Add the cooked lentils and spinach to the pan. Mix well and simmer for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted and the flavors are combined.
  8. Garnish and serve: Turn off the heat, stir in chopped coriander leaves, and add a squeeze of lemon juice (optional) for a touch of freshness. Serve hot with rice, rotis, or naan.

Tips:

  • You can adjust the amount of chili powder to your desired level of spiciness.
  • For a richer flavor, you can add a pinch of garam masala or kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) to the dal.
  • To make it vegan, skip the ghee and use vegetable oil.
  • Leftover palak dal can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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