Moreish Dal Palak

January 9, 2007

I have turned my attention to important things. Like keeping my New Years’ resolution.

As promised, I have started trawling the blogosphere for easy Indian recipes to try out and then write about.

My first port of call was Asha, who writes about food and life. She has been married for more than 20  years and you can almost picture her smiling when you read her blogs. A winner if I can spot one.

The recipe that inspired me was a North Indian Dal Palak,  lentils nestled in spinach spiked with dark warming spices, tomato and onion. The interesting thing here is that while most dhals are soupy in texture (some thicker than others), this dish is more like a vegetable side. It would be just as lovely with thick bread and rotis, as it would with some rice and yoghurt.

I made some small adjustments to Asha’s recipe to make it quicker. I used ready frozen chopped spinach because I always have some in the freezer and it can be a healthier option. I also didn’t use mustard seeds and curry leaves in the tempering or tarka because I didn’t think the dish needed it and because these ingredients aren’t commonly used in North Indian cooking.

Once I’d cooked it, I was bowled over. This recipe should have come with a warning for over eating! Especially in this cold weather.

Chana dal palak 550


Serves 4:

  • 400 gms frozen spinach, cooked
  • 125 gm toor lentils
  • 125 gms channa lentils
  • 2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, quartered
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 whole red chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to your taste



First wash the lentils thoroughly and leave them in the sieve.

Next, heat the sunflower oil on high. When it’s hot, toss in the cumin seeds and chilli, and as they sizzle up add the onions, ginger and garlic, dry spices (bar the garam masala) and tomato. Saute the mixture or masala for 10 minutes until their pungent raw aroma softens. You can add a bit of hot water and scrape well if the ingredients start sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Next add the lentils and c over with hot water and boil until cooked but not mushy. The lentils should squish easily in your fingers but not lose shape. This will take about 15 minutes.

Now, tip in the spinach and stir through. Add salt, the garam masala and stir through to finish the Dal Palak. Voila!



10 Responses to “Moreish Dal Palak”

  1. Mallika Says:

    October 16th, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Hi Smita, toor dal is split pigeon peas, it’s sort of deep yellow in colour.

  2. Smita Says:

    September 19th, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    what are toor lentils? Is it toor dal or black or red lentils?

  3. jules Says:

    January 21st, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    yum. these sound amazing. am really glad you’re keeping your resolution.

  4. Mangs Says:

    January 11th, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    toor=sambhar daal, big and yellow.
    chana=small and yellow.
    red daal=?
    i vote daal post on the basics section!!

  5. Mallika Says:

    January 10th, 2007 at 10:10 am

    This is v embarrassing Asha, but I got home late yesterday. My hubby had cooked pasta but I ate the remainder of the dhal palak instead… on its own. Thanks so much for a great recipe that I will certainly cook more of in the future…

  6. Asha Says:

    January 10th, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Hey! Thanks Mallika!!:)) This is a surprise,a pleasant one indeed and I am smiling!:D

    I agree abt mustard and curry leaves!Being a pakka southie,I can’t resist adding those to everything!:D:D

    It’s a substantial comfort food,great for winter.Enjoy!

  7. sandeepa Says:

    January 10th, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Hey Mallika great looking dal, perfect even for a party
    You know what I had seen Sanjeev Kapoor prepare Dal Palak once with Musuri’r Dal (which I think is a Bong favorite) and since then I try to make Musuri’r Dal with all sorts of green leafy things. I also go low on the ginger and the masala, the dal as a result is good for everyday food but not much of a party dish.

  8. Prachi Bhuchar Says:

    January 10th, 2007 at 3:45 am

    hey–happy new year!! Are you by any chance in cal? and do you have a contact for alka? in town and wanted to catch up. BTW am totally going to try this recipe the moment i head back to singlehood in delhi!!

  9. Trupti Says:

    January 9th, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    This looks great……I usually leave out the onions and add garlic – LOTS of it….This goes perfect with some tandoori rotis..


  10. Garrett Says:

    January 9th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Since the lentil iron chef battle I’ve been itching to make something with lentils. This might just be it if I have time this week!

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