You may want to try cooking this Spinach Dal because it’s jam-packed with nutrients – essentially beans and greens. But you’ll find yourself making it again and again because it’s a salty spicy flavour party! Serve it with rice or your favourite Indian flatbread (like these).
This is the latest of my Indian-inspired recipes – a cuisine I’ve been working on this past year since moving too far away from my mother-in-law’s cooking (a whole slew of posts coming this Fall!). Spinach Dal a easy twist on a basic dal and rice, which is a staple of Indian kitchens.
A simple google search will highlight just how many variations of this dish are out there. But no matter which recipe, the key to making the humble lentil so flavourful is the layering of spices.
Here I first add cumin, chili, garlic and ginger while cooking the spinach and then finish with more cumin and cayenne in the final tempering. You’ll also want to season well with salt (to your taste).
In the warmer months I’m preferring to eat this with simple rotis, but as the weather turns in the fall, I’m sure I’ll relish a warm bowl with rice and Spinach Dal!
When paired with a whole grain, this Spinach Dal provides a complete protein and a good serving of greens, so it works well as a stand alone meal. It also makes a nice dish in Vegetarian spread with some other curries and crunchy fried treats like samosas or pakoras.
- 1 CUP SPLIT RED LENTILS Substitute split yellow lentils if you prefer
- 1.5 CUPS WATER Add more if necessary to achieve proper consistency as the lentils cook
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 1 TBSP BUTTER
- 1 TSP CUMIN SEEDS
- 1/4 TSP TUMERIC
- 4 CLOVES garlic Peeled and finely minced
- 1 INCH GINGER Peeled and grated
- 1 GREEN CHILI PEPPER Substitute red thai chili if green are not available
- 4 CUPS BABY SPINACH Roughly chopped to 2 inch pieces
- 1 TSP BUTTER
- 1 TSP CUMIN SEEDS
- 1/2 TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
Cook the lentils
- Add lentils and water to a medium pot and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer, stirring regularly, until water is absorbed and lentils are soft (should have the texture of a creamy porridge).
- Add more water if necessary to achieve the proper consistency.
Meanwhile cook the spinach mixture
- Heat butter in a frying pan. When melted, add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant.
- Add Tumeric, chili, garlic and ginger and saute until the butter is frothy and garlic is soft.
- Add spinach and saute until wilted. Set aside.
- When lentils are cooked, stir in the spinach mixture.
- Right before you're ready to serve, melt butter in a small frying pan.
- Add cumin seeds and cayenne and cook until the butter is frothy.
- Pour over the cooked Spinach Dal and serve.