Dal palak or spinach dal is a simple Indian dish of spilt pigeon peas and spinach leaves. Dal means lentils and palak means spinach and this dish is literally a comforting lentils with spinach seasoned with basic spices. Vegan and gluten free.
This spinach dal is easy to make, nutritious, wholesome, healthy and one of the most loved palak recipes in Indian homes. Made with simple pantry staple ingredients and ready in 20 minutes, this palak dal goes very well with rice and roti. Here is how to make this lentils curry with step by step photos and video.
If you are looking for easy and healthy ways to include spinach leaves in your diet, then look no further than this dal palak recipe. Sure there are many delicious and special palak recipes like but nothing beats this spinach dal on days when you crave soul food.
It is a dish that I often make at home as it is rich in protein from lentils and spinach leaves are rich in vitamins and iron. Spinach leaves are also an excellent source of nutrition for toddlers and kids. They are also low in cholesterol and calories.
This is an excellent meal for toddlers and kids. Just mash the steamed rice, add few dollops of ghee and few ladles of warm dal palak for very healthy and delicious toddler meal. Older kids can have this dal with roti or rice with a veggies stir fry for complete meal.
Spinach leaves or palak are very widely used in Indian cuisine especially. Palak leaves goes with most of all the ingredients like dal, potatoes and paneer in Indian recipes.
Lentils or dal is very widely made in Indian kitchens. I make a dal or sambar every day to include some protein in our diet. You can checkout these dal recipes for options.
What Is Dal Palak?
Palak means spinach leaves and dal means lentils in India. So dal palak means spinach with lentils. In this recipe spinach leaves are sauteed with mild seasoning and then we mix cooked lentils and simmer till soupy consistency is obtained. It is a very mildly seasoned delicious dish.
Spinach dal can be made in many ways. This recipe is what I follow and we all love this at our home. If you want to make a quick and wholesome meal very quickly, this recipe will come very handy.
This is a vegan, gluten free dal without onion and garlic. So you can easily make it for vrat or fasting too. Though made with very few simple ingredients, it tastes very delicious with a wonderful aroma.
You can easily make a full meal with this dal. Just make some rice and a side salad or fry some vadam for a simple satiating lunch. This Dal Palak Recipe Is
Vegan and gluten free
no onion, garlic recipe
healthy meal for all ages
Quick and Easy
So delicious and wholesome.
Ingredients For Making The Recipe
Spinach leaves- I have used the broad spinach leaves easily available in India. Select fresh and tender leaves for best taste. You can also use baby spinach leaves or regular spinach leaves available in USA.
Lentils – You can use any type of lentils like split pigeon peas, green gram or masoor dal. Spinach leaves go very well with most of the lentils. I have used moong dal but you can also use red lentils, masoor dal too.
Just make sure to cook the lentils thoroughly and mash well. You can also make palak dal in pressure cooker. Read on for instructions below.
Peanuts – Adding peanuts to this dal is my favorite. Fried peanuts add a nice crunch and flavor to this dal. Just fry the peanuts along with tempering and add to the dal.
Other ingredients for making dal palak are regular tempering or tadka like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilies, minced ginger and red chilies.
I have not added garlic here but you can add ginger and garlic together if you like.
You can alter the quantity of chilies in this dal or leave it out completely while making for toddlers and kids.
How To Make Palak Dal Recipe
First of all pick and rinse the dal (green gram) well. Take the washed dal in a pressure cooker and add enough water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and pressure cook for 4 whistles. Drain and mash the dal well.
You can also use an instant pot for cooking the dal- Cook for 10 minutes in pressure cooker mode with valve sealed. Let pressure settle down on its own.
Clean the palak leaves as mentioned above. Drain the water well and chop the leaves.
Making the curry
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. Add methi leaves and saute. Next add crushed ginger and saute. Now add slit green chilies and dried red chillies. Saute well. Now add peanuts. Peanuts are optional but I recommend. They especially provide a nice crunch to otherwise smooth dal. Saute very well for 2 minutes.
Next add chopped spinach leaves and saute well for 3-4 minutes. The spinach leaves should wilt and shrink well. Add turmeric powder and red chili powder is using. If you especially want a very smooth dal suitable for toddlers you can also puree the spinach and use. As a result we get very smooth dal with soupy consistency which you can serve also as lentils soup.
Once the spinach leaves are well cooked add the cooked dal. Mix well and add 1 cup of water. Season with salt. Cook in medium flame for 5-7 minutes.
Add 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder and mix. Simmer for 2 minutes. You can lemon juice if needed now. Serve dal palak hot with rice.
Dal Palak Instant Pot Method
This is an easy one pot spinach dal recipe which you can make in instant pot or pressure cooker. Before beginning the recipe, clean and chop the palak leaves. Pick and rinse 1/2 cup toor dal or moong dal. I have used moong dal
Place the steel insert inside your instant pot and switch it on.
Press saute button and once it displays hot, add oil. Temper with 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dried red chilies.
Add slit green chillies, minced ginger and saute well. Add peanuts and saute for few seconds.
Next add the chopped spinach leaves followed by garam masala powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and mix well.
Add rinsed lentils and mix. Pour 1.5 cups water and required salt to taste.
Close the IP, cancel saute mode and press pressure cooker button. Set timer for 12 minutes with pressure valve sealed.
After the IP beeps, let the pressure settle down for 5 minutes.
Open the lid and mix the palak dal well. Add lemon juice and mix again. Palak dal is ready. Serve hot.
To make dal palak in stove top pressure cooker just follow the above steps in a pressure cooker base. Close the cooker and cook for 4-5 whistles in medium heat.
Pro Tips To Make Dal Palak
To make palak dal always use fresh and tender spinach leaves. Sometimes mature leaves tend to be very bitter and spoil the taste. Also make sure to clean the leaves thoroughly, see my notes for the same below.
You can use any type of lentils to make spinach dal recipe. I usually make it with moong dal but sometimes I also add a mix of toor dal and moong dal.
The spices used in this recipe are super simple and minimal. I have just added some cumin seeds, a pinch of turmeric, garam masala and red chili powder. Sometimes I make it with just cumin seeds too (video). For more complex flavor you can use whole spices like bay leaf, cardamoms too.
For a smooth palak dal you can blanch and puree the palak leaves just like we do for palak paneer.
To make this curry richer you can use ghee or butter. Just heat ghee in place of oil and make the recipe.
Ginger garlic are optional ingredients. For milder flavor you can skip these.
Frequently Asked Questions
One important point to follow while making any spinach recipe is to clean the leaves thoroughly. To clean the palak leaves I usually follow this method.
Pick and check the spinach leaves for any white patch or larva. Rinse them once or twice in running water. Next keep the spinach leaves immersed in a large pot of water mixed with no iodized crystal salt. Drain and rinse again. Proceed to use in the recipe.
I prefer to make this spinach dal with moong dal or split green gram. The mild taste and flavor of moong dal pairs well with the buttery taste of palak leaves.
You can easily use split pigeon peas or split masoor dal too. You can also use a combination of 2 or 3 lentils.
You can make this dal palak just like popular Andra style pappu recipes. Andra style palak dal is more spicy and flavorful with onion, garlic and tomatoes.
Heat 2 tablespoons gingely oil in a pan. Temper with mustard and cumin seeds. Add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes off. Add 3/4 cup chopped onions and saute till it turns soft. Next add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes and saute well. Add chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Saute well. Add the cleaned spinahc leaves and saute till they wilt. Now add the cooked lentils and required salt. Mix well and adjust consistency. Serve hot.
To make daba style palak dal, just follow this recipe of daba dal. Add 2 cups of cleaned and chopped spinach leaves after adding tomatoes and saute very well.
This mild and hearty dal palak goes very well steamed rice, veg salad or potato fry. You can serve this dal with soft phulkas.
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Palak Dal Recipe
1 CUP = 250 ml
- 3 cups spinach leaves chopped, tightly packed
- 6 tablespoons green gram moong dal/pasi paruppu
- 2 gree chilies slit
- 1 dried red chili
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons peanuts optional
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon oil
- First of all pick and rinse the dal (green gram) well. Take the washed dal in a pressure cooker and add enough water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and pressure cook for 4 whistles. Drain and mash the dal well.
- Also clean the palak leaves as mentioned above. Drain the water well and chop the leaves.
- Heat oil in a pan. Temper with cumin seeds. Add methi leaves and saute. Next add crushed ginger and saute. Now add slit green chilies and dried red chili. Saute well.
- Now add peanuts. Peanuts are optional but I recommend. They especially provide a nice crunch to otherwise smooth dal. Saute very well for 2 minutes
- Next add chopped spinach leaves and saute well for 3-4 minutes. Add the spice powders. The spinach leaves should wilt and shrink well. If you especially want a very smooth dal suitable for toddlers you can also puree the spinach and use. As a result we get very smooth dal with soupy consistency.
- Once the spinach leaves are well cooked add the cooked lentils. Mix well and add 1 cup water. Season with salt. Cook in medium flame for 5-7 minutes.
- Simmer for 2 minutes. You can lemon juice if needed now. Serve palak dal with rice.