Palak Daal or Daal Palak as we call it is a simple daal recipe starring Popeye’s favorite vegetable – spinach! When I thought of the #30daysofdaal concept, this was the first item I put on the list because I love spinach and this daal is such a mainstay in my kitchen.
I loved greens as a child – I think Indian kids don’t have that much of an aversion to them because of the way of cooking – or maybe I was just a good kid. When faced with a choice between steamed greens and tempered, spiced greens mixed up with lentils, I guess anyone might go for the spicy or seasoned version. Actually I am not averse to the steamed version, but then that is just me.
Spinach was a luxury while growing up because it was available only in the winter. Winter in extremely hot climates is sort of like the Spring or summer in cold climes. It is the time when there is a bounty of vegetables available. I remember how difficult it was to get even a sprig of fresh coriander in the summers. So winters were the time for tasty palak and methi recipes like daals, palak paneer and of course palak parathas and methi puris.
This palak daal is very simple and reminds me of my childhood winters. And it is really easy to make, especially if you live in a land where frozen spinach is available year round. One of the big items in my grocery cart was the boxes of frozen spinach that I used in almost everything.
This recipe can be glorified as much as you want or kept simple. You can certainly add chopped garlic here but I decided to give you a simple version today. The beauty of this recipe is it can be stretched any way you want. So you can have loads of spinach and just a little daal, have 50-50 or just a smidgen of spinach to appease your conscience that you are getting that daily dose of greens.
If you are using baby spinach, there is no need to even chop it. It will just wilt in. This daal is so comforting on a cold night. The rains are here and it is often more chilly now in Pune than it is in the actual winter.
Eat this palak daal with a bowl of rice or with roti, or just eat/ drink it if you are low-carbing.
Palak Daal – Spinach Daal Recipe
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- 1 tomato chopped
- 1 cup toor daal cooked
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- Pinch of hing or Asafoetida
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dhania-jeera or coriander-cumin powder
- Salt to taste
- Cook toor daal with some turmeric in a pressure cooker. This forms the base of the recipe.
- Heat oil in a wok and temper it.
- Add mustard seeds, let them pop, and then add the hing.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and stir for a minute.
- Add chopped spinach and sauté for 5 minutes or so until it wilts down and cooks.
- Add the daal, up to a cup of water and the spices, sugar and salt.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until it comes together.
- Serve hot.
And don’t forget to leave a comment to encourage me :).