Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Dal Palak (Coconut based version)

This preparation is made in my household every week. Almost every Indian household has a version of Dal Palak. Usually, the north Indian version has different seasoning and south Indians add sambar powder for that unique flavor. Cumin and fennel are spices that give texture and flavor to most curries. The spinach we get in south India is called ‘pasalai keerai/ kodi pasalai’ in Tamil. Dal is a staple in Indian cuisine. The Toro dal used provides necessary proteins and spinach is rich in Vitamins, proteins and minerals, so the combo gives you not only a tasty dish but also makes super healthy combo. It is not spicy, but has spices that give a nice flavor and aroma.Pressure cooked with a pinch of turmeric and Hing. The dish may not look appetizing but believe me the taste is completely awesome and even anyone who hates greens will love this dal by itself.
I prefer minimally cooked spinach and well-cooked dal.This is a very healthy dish with all the vitamins, fiber and folic acid coming from dal and antioxidants and other nutrients from spinach. This curry goes well with rice or roti. Dal with Palak is a good combination.  This is a recipe which I have seen from my childhood.  My mother used to make it very often.  And I also follow her path and try to make it at least once in a week but always be careful when you clean the leafy vegetables.  To clean the palak, take a big mouthed bowl and fill it with water.  Discard the damaged leaves and the stem.  Place the spinach leaves in water and stir it with your hands.  Some of the dirt will be removed.  Keep the leaves in water for some time.  The dirt will settle at the bottom of the vessel.  Now take the leaves out, transfer it to a colander.  Clean the vessel and repeat the same steps until the palak is cleaned from dirt.  Here you can make use of garlic also.  Add garlic along with spinach and other ingredients.  You can also serve with pooris and chapatti.

Prep time: 30 mins     Cook time: 20 mins           Serves: 4

Toor dal
½  cup
Yellow moong dal
½  cup
2 bunch
1 no.
Turmeric powder
½ tsp.
Red chilli powder
½ tsp
Coriander powder
½ tsp.
½ tbsp.
Butter 1 cube
To garnish
2 ½ cups
Lemon juice
1 tsp.
To grind
½ cup
Fennel  seeds
½ tsp.
1 no.
Green chillies 
To temper
1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds
1 tsp.
Jeera seeds
1 tsp
Dry red chilli
1 medium
Garlic cloves
1.Soak both the dals for an hour before cooking. It helps cook the dal faster. Place the dals in a pressure cooker pan with half of the turmeric powder, hing and 2 ½ cups of water. Place on flame and wait until the pressure/steam oozes out of the nozzle then place the weight/regulator and pressure cook for about 15 minutes on low flame.Also peel and chop onions and garlic into two. Slit green chillies and chop tomatoes into 4 big cubes. 

2.Heat oil in a pan, throw some fennel seeds followed by curry leaves , onion and coconut pieces. After cooled down,grind the ingredients smoothly by adding enough water. Keep it aside.

3. Remove from flame and open the cooker only after all the pressure has released. If you feel that its watery then place on flame and cook open for some time until it thickens.Heat oil and ghee together in a pan over medium flame. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies and onion. Stir fry till golden brown. Now add garlic cloves, turmeric powder, coriander powder and sauté until it turns light brown.

4. Add the cubed tomatoes and keep stirring till it becomes mushy.Now add puréed palak and the remaining chopped palak and check for salt. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add cooked dal into it and allow it to boil. Now pour the ground paste with little water. Always make a point to check out for consistency. Cook it for a few minutes till it becomes thick. The dal should be of medium thick consistency.  Then keep the stove in simmer and add the ground paste to this dal palak mix and allow it to boil.  Don't boil too much otherwise it will curdle

6.Turn off the flame and transfer prepared spinach dal to serving bowl and garnish with a cube of butter.

7.Serve dal palak with steamed rice or any stuffed paratha as a healthy and protein rich food for lunch or dinner.
Adding ghee gives a nice aroma and helps in reducing the acidity. Some people include channa dal along with toor dal. It’s completely optional.
The taste of all people is different.In this recipe spinach puree is used for a nice green color. To get the desired consistency, add more water or cook longer
Linking this to the event "Eat Vegetables Stay Healthy" sponsored by Just Eat.


  1. Wow...love your stepwise pics! Nice space dear! And mouthwatering dishes! :)

  2. Thank You da...I am planning to share some new dishes which I learnt from my sister.

  3. Nice recipe healthy plus addition of coconut mix is new to me must be yumm with ghee and white rice.

  4. Yes da..
    my moms recipes.tastes good.


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