Dal is a soup made from various lentils in the different regions of India. It is tempered with oil, spices and sometimes ginger garlic, chili, onions, and tomatoes are added to enhance the flavor of dal.
Every region of India has a different preparation of dal, even if it uses the same lentil. The texture, consistency, and taste of the dal vary in different houses. Even if the ingredients and method of preparation are same, the taste of dal varies from person to person who is making it. Some people like to have their dal thin as soup and others prefer having it thick as curry. The flavor of the dal is dependent on the tempering.
When the dal is tempered with oil and spices, it draws the attention of the person passing near it and activates his taste buds. I remember when I was small I use to run to the kitchen to smell the dal when my mother used to pour the tadka (tempering) on the dal. I simply could not wait to have that “Maa ki haathon ki dal”(made by mother with love).
There are various recipes for making dal – Dal Tadka, Gujarati Khatti Meethi dal, Patal Bhaji (lentils cooked with green leafy vegetables with coconut), Dal Makhani, Hyderabadi dal.
I am sharing with you Palak Dal which my mother makes. She also calls it Hyderabadi Palak dal. I simply love this dal as it has flavors of mixed lentils -pigeon peas (tuvar dal/arhaar dal), split bengal gram (chana dal), split green gram (moong dal without skin) and spinach along with whole spices, garam masala, green chili and ginger garlic paste, tomato and onions. Adding Kasuri methi to it enhances its flavor. I like the green colour of the dal. As everything is crushed while making the dal, my son also eats it happily. I like to serve it with roti or jeera rice.
You can add tamarind pulp in place of lemon juice.
If you want to make it richer you can add butter while serving. When the guests are coming just prepare the dal in advance and when serving it pour the hot tadka (tempering) on it made with oil, cumin seeds, asafoetida, chopped garlic, green or red chili and serve. Your guests will be impressed.
So what are you waiting for just walk to the kitchen and prepare this mouthwatering, delicious and finger licking dal!!!
Palak Dal /Spinach Lentil Curry
- 1/2 cup pigeon pea tuvar/arhaar dal
- 1/2 cup split bengal gram chana dal
- 1/4 cup split green gram moong dal without skin
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 250 g spinach washed and chopped
- 4 cup water
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 2 green chili chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick 1 inch
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dry red chili
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste if you want more spicy add green chili paste along with this.
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder do not add more. It will change the colour.
- 1 tsp coriander cumin powder
- 1 tbsp dry fenugreek leaves kasuri methi. crushed between palms
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt as per taste
Wash & soak the mixed lentils -pigeon peas (tuvar dal/arhaar dal), split bengal gram (chana dal), split green gram (moong dal without skin) for one hour.
In a pressure cooker, add the soaked and drained dal along with chopped onion, tomato and spinach. Add 3 cups of water and pressure cook for 4 high whistles and simmer for 2 more whistles.
Let the pressure cooker cool by itself. Remove the lid and now blend the mixture with hand blender or grind it in a mixture. Add 1 cup of water to the blended dal and keep aside.
In a big pan heat oil and ghee. Add the whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle, add chopped green chili, dry red chili, and asafoetida. Add freshly grounded ginger and garlic paste.
Saute the paste till the raw smell goes away on medium heat. Add turmeric powder and coriander-cumin powder. MIx well and saute.
Add the blended dal mixture and let it boil for 3-4 minutes.
Add garam masala. Add kasuri methi (crushed in palms). Simmer for 3-4 minutes more till the flavors of garam masala and kasuri methi are absorbed.
Add lemon juice and mix well. The Hyderabadi Palak Dal is ready to serve.
Serve it hot with roti or rice of your choice.