Friday, August 29, 2008

Recipe : Dhal Palak : Lentils with Spinach

This is a healthy way to get more iron in a regular dish, rather than put spinach on the table as a dish that many kids (and some husbands) turn their nose up at.

Disclaimer : My husband eats spinach :)

Ingredients :
1/2 a cup Cleaned and chopped spinach (saag, methi bhaji or other variety will also be good)
1 cup yellow lentils - toovar / arhar dhal
1-2 tomatoes
1-2 onions
green chillies to taste
1 tsp ground ginger or finely chopped ginger
chopped garlic - 6-7 cloves
1/2 tsp each of chilli, cumin(jeera) and turmeric (haldi) powder
salt to taste
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon oil to cook + more for seasoning

Note : the quantities are approximations, adjust to your own taste

Rinse and soak the lentils in water. (5 minutes is good enough, longer soaking even for a couple of hours won't hurt and will speed up the cooking process)

In the pressure cooker, heat a teaspoon of oil. (ghee or butter will give you a better flavor)
Saute the garlic in this.
I like to add the tomatoes at this stage because I don't like pulpy bits of tomato in my food. So I saute it till the pulp melts off the skin and then go on to the rest of the recipe. If you aren't so particular, you can add all the following ingredients together.
Add the onions, some green chillies, the spinach and ginger and saute for 1/2 to 1 minute to get the flavours out.

Now add the soaked dhal, spice powders and salt.
Cover with water and shut the pressure cooker (amount of water depends on whether you want a thick or thin dhal. This recipe tastes good both ways)
In my hawkins cooker, I give it 3-4 whistles.
If the dhal was well soaked, then it will disintegrate on its own and save you the trouble of blending it.

When you open the cooker, add salt to taste and then add the lemon juice.

Tips :
Iron in spinach needs some kind of citrus/acetic acid to aid absorption in the body. So add lemon juice or vinegar for sure to a dish of greens.
Don't add the acid before the lentils are cooked, because this will slow down the cooking process.

You can serve the dhal as is with a dollop of ghee on top.

Or you can serve it with any of the following temperings
1. chopped garlic
2. cumin (jeera seeds)
3. jeera + garlic
4. red chillies
5. green chillies

Serve with hot rice or rotis.

The other item in this picture is Squid Chilli Fry

Variations :
If not tempered and slightly watered down, it can even be served as a lentil with spinach soup.

Feel free to add your own innovation.


Tom Aarons said...

This looks so straightforward, healthy and yummy. Thank you!

Kim said...

:) anytime


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