Loaded with nutrients, the Spinach Dal
Don’t go by the picture, it’s a rainy day and the cloud cover has eaten away all my light. Try cooking this dal that’s loaded with nutrients instead–the Spinach Dal

Indian food is essentially all about combining a veggie dish, with a nutritious dal and a bread or rice. A yoghurt based raita is thrown in for good measure and some families even insist on a kachumber–if you look at it from a nutrition point of view, a good mix of carbs, proteins and fats!

Though I love my lentils, I stay away from them as they taste best when combined with a roti or rice, and we are on a no-gluten diet for the past three months. However this dal is one of my favourites.  I cook it with spinach and loads of burnt garlic….and can have spoonfuls without a  supporting carb.

Time taken: an hour

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Skill level: Basic 


  • 150 grams of spinach, washed and chopped fine
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 100 grams each of toovar dal (pigeon pea) and masoor dal (red lentils)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin, fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon each turmeric, red chilli and cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon each oil, butter and clarified ghee.
  • 2 Kashmiri red chilli
  • 6 to 7 pieces of kokum


Soak the dals for at least 30 minutes
Soak the dals for at least 30 minutes

1. Soak the dals together for about 30 minutes. This reduces the cooking time.
2. Add cooking oil to a hot pan and fry the soaked dals. Add the masalas and pressure cook for 10 minutes.
3. When the dal’s are cooked and cooled, mash them and set aside. Add the kokum and let it stand for atleast an hour. If you don’t have the time, soak the kokum in hot water, squeeze out the juices in 10 minutes and use both the juice and kokum.
IMG_20150809_114015-014. Remove the dal into a thick bottomed pan and set to boil. Add water to obtain the right thickness.
5. All salt and the chopped spinach and let cook for about 10 minutes.

All that's needed now is the tempering.
All that’s needed now is the tempering.

6. For the tempering: take oil in an iron kadai if possible or any other pan. When it’s hot add the chopped garlic. When the garlic is golden add the other seeds, curry leaves and red chilli. Cook for a minute. Now take a tablespoon of dal and add to the hot oil. You need to ensure you stand far away from the pan as it could flambe.
7. Immediately add the oil to the dal and cover it. Take it off the heat and let it soak in all the aromas. Serve hot with rice and spicy potatoes

Loaded with nutrients, the Spinach Dal
Loaded with nutrients, the Spinach Dal

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