What is Dal Palak?
Dal is quintessential Indian food. Indian home food is incomplete without this lentil soup/ dal. I remember growing up, we used to have dal all seven days a week, sometimes with roti (Indian flat bread ) and sometimes with white rice. I loved the rice-dal combination so much and with a dollop of ghee /clarified butter it was a food that made everyone’s soul satisfied.
Dal is a protein power house for vegetarians. Normally, Indian food has three main components- proteins, carbs, and vitamins, which comes from dal, rice, and any vegetable curry. It’s simple, nutritious, and tastes delicious.
The fall season is upon us and I love how the evenings are getting cooler with each passing day. These days I crave something hot, comforting, and soupy. Lentils with spinach / Dal Palak serves the purpose and provides warmth.
Which Lentil is to be Used for Dal Palak?
Traditionally, Dal palak is made of Tuvar Dal / Arhar dal or Split Pigeon Peas, but you can make this with Moong Dal /Moong beans / Masoor Dal or Red lentils. 1 cup of Tuvar Dal / split pigeon Peas contains 20 g of protein.
How To Make Dal Palak in an Instant Pot-
I prefer making Dal Palak in two steps. In the first step, I boiled lentils with salt and water in the instant pot for 4 minutes. Later, I made a wonderful tempering, and with that I mixed lentils and infused it into the dal. You can certainly do it in one step but I believe that doing it in two steps makes this dish unbelievably yummy and flavorful.
How to Make Dal Palak in a Pressure Cooker-
Same as the instant pot, dal is boiled in a pressure cooker and later, a flavorful tempering is infused. The pressure cooker is the traditional vessel for making dal.We grew up eating dal in a pressure cooker, however these days, I am making it in my trustworthy Instant Pot.
What Can I Serve With Dal Palak?
Traditionally, Dal Palak is served with rice or Indian flat breads, but you can always eat this with normal bread slices, or baguettes. My husband is having a carb-free diet nowadays, so I serve him quinoa with dal. There are no limitations and you can have it however you like.
Can I Store Dal Palak?
Absolutely. You can store dal palak in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Before serving, just reheat it for 5-7 minutes, sprinkle some lemon juice and garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves.
Dal Palak /Lentils Stew With Spinach.
- 1 Cup Tuvar Dal(Split Pigeon Peas
- 4 Cups Water
- 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1.5 Cups Chopped Fresh Spinach
- 1 Medium Chopped Tomato
- 1 Medium Chopped Onion
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
- 1 Tsp Chopped Ginger
- 1 Tsp Chopped Green Chillies
- 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Dry Red Chillies
- 1 Tsp Dry Mango Powder
- 1 Tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder(Optional)
- 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1 Tbsp Ghee/For vegan alternative use any oil of your choice.
- 1 Tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste.
For second tempering(optional)
- 1 Tbsp Ghee/Oil of your choice
- 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 Dry Red Chilli
- 1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- 1 Tsp Lemon Juice.
Boiling Lentils/Dal in Instant Pot.
- Take one cup of split Pigeon Peas/Tuvar /Arhar Dal .
- Wash it 4-5 times nicely with running cold water.
- Plug the instant pot and switch it on.
- Add one cup of rinsed lentil ,4 cups of water ,1 tsp of turmeric and i tsp of salt to it .Give it a stir.
- Cook on high pressure for 3 minute and let it release the steam naturally.
- Chop Onion ,Tomato .Ginger and Garlic.
- Chop Spinach Nicely.
- Keep all the ingredients handy.
How to make Dal/Lentil
- Take a deep pan .Add oil /Ghee to it .
- When its hot add cumin seeds ,dry red chilli.Let it crackle.
- Add Chopped garlic to it .Saute for 1 minute till they look light brown .
- Add onion ,green chillies and ginger to it .Saute it for 1-2 minute or till the raw smell is gone .Your flame should be on medium not on high at this point of the time.
- Now add tomato and cook till it looks softened or done .
- Add all the other spices at this point of time and saute it on slow .medium flame for 1-2 minute.
- Add chopped spinach to it .Stir it and mix with all the spice mix ,which we are stirring in the pan.
- Remove the lid of the Instant Pot and whisk the cooked dal or lentil with a whisker .This is just my personal preference .If you like your lentils just like that do not whisk it .I personally feel that whisking the lentil makes it more creamy and delicious.
- Add this whisked dal to spice mix in the pan.Mix it nicely and let it boil on medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
- If its thin for your liking let it boil for 1-2 minutes more.If its thick for you add little(around 1/4 cup water) to it.
- Taste the seasoning .If you want to add salt ,go ahead and do it .I will suggest not to go overboard with it.
- Add lemon juice to it .
- Take a tempering pan .Add ghee oil to it .When its hot enough add Cumin seeds and dry red chilli.Break dry red chillies into two parts.
- Let it crackle .Add red chilli powder ,mix it and pour it immediately over the spinach Dal.
- Your Lentil Stew with Spinach is ready to serve.
- Garnish with Fresh Cilantro leaves and enjoy.
Boiling Dal in Pressure Cooker
- Add 1 cup of lentil,4 cups of water ,1 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp of salt in the pressure cooker .
- Keep the flame medium high to form the pressure.Now lower the pressure and cook till 3 whistle.If you want your lentils in shape switch off after 2 whistles only.
- Let the pressure release naturally.
- Follow the same tempering process.