Dal Palak Recipe | Lentils Spinach

5 from 2 votes
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Dal palak is a popular Indian dish that combines lentils (dal) with spinach (palak) to create a nutritious and flavorful meal.

It is a wholesome and comforting dish that is commonly prepared in households and enjoyed across various regions of India.

Dal palak is known for its vibrant green color and the rich blend of flavors from the lentils and spinach.

The lentils are cooked until soft and then simmered with a tempering of spices and aromatic ingredients.

Dal Palak

Key Takeaways:

  • Dal palak is a popular Indian dish that combines lentils (dal) and spinach (palak).
  • It is a nutritious and flavorful meal that is enjoyed across various regions of India.
  • The dish features soft-cooked lentils simmered with a tempering of spices and aromatic ingredients.
  • Dal palak is often served with rice or Indian bread, making it a wholesome and balanced meal.
  • It is a favorite among both vegetarians and non-vegetarians due to its delicious flavors and health benefits.

The Ingredients:

Dal Palak Ingredients

  • Red lentils – 200 gms (soaked and cleaned)
  • Spinach – 2 bundles, finely chopped and cleaned (400 grams)
  • Dry chilli – 3 pieces
  • Panch phoron – 1 tsp Indian five spices cumin, fenugreek, brown mustard seeds, fennel and nigella seeds
  • Bay leaves – 2 pieces
  • Garlic – chopped  1.5 tsp
  • Green chillies – 3 to 4 slitted
  • Turmeric 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil 2 tsp
  • Tomato chopped – 2 tsp
  • Onion chopped – 2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves for garnish 1 tsp
  • Salt as per taste

How to Make Dal Palak (Step by Step Images)?

1. Turn the gas on, heat a pan and add some water, bring it to boil and add the lentil. Cover it with a lid, let the lentil boil.

Adding lentils for Dal Palak step by step image

2. You will see white foams, please discard it with a spatula.

Removing white foams from lentil

3. Turn the flame high and boil the lentil till 10 mins.

Letting lentils to boil

4. Smash the lentil with a smasher and add a little water. Add two cup water and turn the flame high.

Smashing lentils

5. Add the spinach into it. Add turmeric and salt to taste. Cover it with a lid and let the spinach boil for 5 mins.

Adding spinach in lentils

6. Now let us prepare the tadka in a separate small pan. Add some oil in a separate pan, 1 tsp Indian five spices cumin, fenugreek, brown mustard seeds, fennel and nigella seeds, bay leaf and fired chilies.

Preparing tadka

7. Add the onion and green chilies. Fry till it is brown and add the chopped garlic. Stir it for 2 mins.

Frying onion and green chilies till golden brown

8. Add the chopped tomatoes and add a pinch of salt. Fry till it is cooked and turn off the flame.

Adding the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt

9. Pour the tadka over the lentil and spinach. Mix it all and boil it.

Pouring the tadka over dal palak and mixing

10. After 2 mins Dal palak is ready and add coriander leaves finally.

Dal with Spinach is Ready

Pro Tips for Making Dal Palak

Here are some pro tips to help you make delicious dal palak:

Choose the right lentils: Opt for lentils like split red lentils (masoor dal) or split yellow lentils (moong dal) for making dal palak. These lentils cook relatively quickly and blend well with spinach.

Properly wash and soak the lentils: Rinse the lentils thoroughly under running water to remove any impurities. Soaking them for about 20-30 minutes before cooking can help reduce the cooking time.

Adjust the consistency: The consistency of dal palak can vary depending on personal preference. If you prefer a thicker consistency, use less water during cooking. For a thinner consistency, add a bit more water or adjust it at the end of cooking.

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Tempering technique: Tempering, or tadka, is an important step in enhancing the flavor of dal palak. Heat ghee or oil in a separate pan, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and other spices like ginger, garlic, and dried red chilies. Once the spices sizzle and release their aroma, pour the tempered mixture into the cooked lentils and spinach.

Timing for adding spinach: Add the spinach leaves towards the end of cooking. This ensures that the spinach retains its vibrant green color and freshness. Cook it just until it wilts, so it retains some texture and nutrients.

Seasoning and garnishing: Adjust the salt and spices according to your taste. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice to enhance the flavors. Garnish the dal palak with fresh coriander leaves for added freshness and appeal.

Experiment with flavors: Feel free to experiment with additional spices and seasonings such as garam masala, turmeric, or cumin powder to customize the flavors according to your liking.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to adjust the recipe to suit your preferences. Enjoy your homemade dal palak!

What to Serve with Dal Palak?

Here are some popular options to serve alongside dal palak:

Rice: Serve dal palak with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice (rice cooked with cumin seeds) for a classic combination. The rice helps balance the flavors of the dal and adds a satisfying element to the meal.

Roti or Naan: Enjoy dal palak with freshly made roti (Indian bread) or naan. These bread options provide a perfect vehicle for scooping up the dal palak and savoring its flavors.

Paratha: Serve dal palak with flaky and crispy parathas. Parathas can be plain or stuffed with various fillings like potato, paneer (Indian cheese), or even spinach to complement the flavors of dal palak.

Papad: Add a crunchy element to your meal by serving dal palak with papad, a thin and crispy Indian lentil wafer. It adds a delightful texture contrast and can be enjoyed as a side snack.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and you can mix and match according to your personal taste and preferences.

How Does Dal Palak Taste?

The combination of lentils and spinach creates a harmonious blend of flavors. Here’s how dal palak typically tastes:

Earthy: The lentils contribute a rich and earthy flavor to the dish. Depending on the type of lentils used, the taste can range from mildly nutty to slightly sweet.

Savory: The tempering of spices, such as cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and dried red chilies, adds a savory and aromatic element to the dal palak. This imparts depth and complexity to the overall taste.

Leafy and Fresh: The addition of spinach brings a fresh and vibrant taste to the dish. The spinach leaves impart a slightly grassy and mildly bitter flavor that balances well with the lentils.

Mildly Spiced: Dal palak is generally seasoned with spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander, which provide a mild and well-rounded spiciness. The spices enhance the overall flavor profile without overpowering the natural taste of the lentils and spinach.

Comforting: The combination of lentils and spinach in dal palak creates a comforting and nourishing taste. The dish is often associated with home-cooked meals and provides a sense of warmth and satisfaction.

Overall, dal palak is known for its delicious and wholesome taste. The lentils, spinach, and spices come together to create a flavorful and balanced dish that is both comforting and nutritious.

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Dal Palak Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to dal palak or want to try something different, here are a few options:

Dal Fry: Dal fry is a popular Indian dish made with cooked lentils, typically tur or masoor dal, seasoned with spices like cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. It has a flavorful and slightly thick consistency, making it a satisfying choice.

Palak Paneer: If you enjoy the combination of spinach and a creamy texture, palak paneer might be a great alternative. It features fresh spinach cooked with Indian cheese (paneer) in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce.

Dal Makhani: Dal makhani is a rich and indulgent dish made with whole black lentils (urad dal) and kidney beans (rajma), slow-cooked with spices, butter, and cream. It has a creamy and buttery taste and pairs well with naan or rice.

Chana Palak: Chana palak is a dish that combines chickpeas (chana) and spinach (palak) in a flavorful tomato-based gravy. It offers a nutritious and protein-packed alternative to dal palak.

Moong Dal Tadka: Moong dal tadka is made with split yellow lentils (moong dal) and is cooked with a tempering of spices, including cumin, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. It has a light and comforting flavor and is relatively quick to prepare.

Sambar: Sambar is a popular South Indian lentil soup or stew made with toor dal (pigeon peas) and a variety of vegetables. It is seasoned with a unique blend of spices, including sambar powder, and typically served with rice or idli (steamed rice cakes).

These are just a few alternatives to dal palak that you can explore. Each dish has its own distinct flavors and characteristics, so feel free to experiment and find the one that suits your taste preferences.

What is Dal Palak Called in English?

Dal palak is called lentils spinach in English.

Recipe Card

Dal Palak

Dal Palak (Lentils Spinach)

By Mita Mondal
Dal Palak is a traditional Indian dish that combines lentils (dal) and spinach (palak) to create a flavorful and nutritious meal.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 186 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 grams Red lentils (soaked and cleaned)
  • 400 grams Spinach (finely chopped and cleaned)
  • 3 pieces Dry red chili
  • 1 tablespoon Panch phoron (Indian five spices cumin, fenugreek, brown mustard seeds, fennel and nigella seeds)
  • 2 pieces Bay leaves
  • 1.5 tablespoon Garlic (chopped)
  • 4 pieces Green chilies (slitted)
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add water. Bring it to a boil, then add the lentils. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the lentils to boil.
  • As the lentils boil, you may notice white foam forming on the surface. Use a spatula to remove and discard the foam.
  • Increase the heat to high and continue boiling the lentils for about 10 minutes.
  • Once the lentils are soft, mash them using a smasher. Add a little water if needed. Then, pour in two cups of water and turn the heat to high.
  • Add the spinach to the pan, along with turmeric and salt to taste. Cover the pan with a lid and let the spinach boil for 5 minutes.
  • In a separate small pan, prepare the tempering (tadka). Heat some oil in the pan and add Indian five spices: cumin, fenugreek, brown mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and nigella seeds. Also, add a bay leaf and dried red chilies.
  • Add onions and green chilies to the pan and fry them until the onions turn brown. Then, add the chopped garlic and stir for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Incorporate the chopped tomatoes into the pan and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Fry until the tomatoes are cooked, then turn off the heat.
  • Pour the prepared tadka over the lentil and spinach mixture. Mix everything together and bring it to a boil.
  • After 2 minutes, your Dal Palak is ready. Finally, garnish it with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Video

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Notes

Lentil choice: You can use split red lentils (masoor dal) or split yellow lentils (moong dal) for making Dal Palak. Both lentils work well and cook relatively quickly.
Adjusting consistency: If you prefer a thicker dal, simmer it for a longer time or mash the lentils slightly more. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little more water during cooking.
Spinach quantity: The amount of spinach can be adjusted according to your preference. If you want a stronger spinach flavor, add more spinach. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the amount.
Spice level: Adjust the spice level by adding or reducing the amount of green chilies or red chili powder according to your taste preferences. You can also add a pinch of garam masala for added warmth and flavor.
Tadka variations: The tempering (tadka) can be customized to your liking. You can experiment with different spices and aromatics like ginger, garlic, or asafoetida (hing) to enhance the flavors.
Garnish options: Besides coriander leaves, you can garnish the dal palak with a drizzle of lemon juice or a dollop of ghee (clarified butter) for added richness.
Serving suggestions: Serve Dal Palak with steamed rice, jeera rice, naan, roti, or any Indian bread of your choice. 
Remember to taste and adjust the seasoning as you cook to achieve the desired flavor. Feel free to experiment and make variations to suit your personal preferences. Enjoy your homemade Dal Palak!

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Dal Palak (Lentils Spinach)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
186
Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Sodium
 
647
mg
28
%
Potassium
 
754
mg
22
%
Carbohydrates
 
25
g
8
%
Fiber
 
12
g
50
%
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
11
g
22
%
Vitamin A
 
6428
IU
129
%
Vitamin C
 
22
mg
27
%
Calcium
 
96
mg
10
%
Iron
 
5
mg
28
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Dal palak is a delicious and nutritious Indian dish that combines lentils and spinach.

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It offers a harmonious blend of flavors, with the lentils providing an earthy taste and the spinach adding freshness to the dish.

The tempering of spices enhances the overall savory profile. Dal palak is a comforting and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed with rice, bread, or other accompaniments.

It’s a popular choice among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike due to its balanced flavors and health benefits.

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