Mixed Dal Palak (Lentils with Spinach and Tomato)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
mixed lentil dal

There are times when I crave a simple meal and not just because I don't have enough time to cook something more elaborate. In this case, simplicity is bliss. Humble ingredients and spices come together here for a complete palate experience, not to mention a tantalizing aroma. As the heat and textures build up with each spoonful, this dal is sophisticated despite the relative modesty of its components.

Gritty toor dal and spinach add a unique texture and earthy flavor to the dal, but feel free to use any lentils you may have on hand. To complete the meal, serve with a bed of steamy hot rice and some Indian flat breads. No need to complicate the experience.

Mixed Dal Palak (Lentils with Spinach and Tomato)Mixed Dal Palak (Lentils with Spinach and Tomato)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 10, 2013

Simple and wonderfully fragrant mixed lentil and dal soup flavored with an Indian-spiced tomato tempering

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  • 1/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/3 cup toor dal, channa dal or yellow split peas
  • 1/3 cup split mung beans
  • 3 tablespoons butter, ghee or oil
  • 1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 to 4 red or green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 4 to 5 cups spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lemon (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • Thoroughly rinse the lentils and dals. Transfer to a large saucepan and cover with hot water. Soak for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse and transfer back into the saucepan.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, ghee or oil, half of the ginger, half of the chilies, the turmeric and 5 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft.

  • Whisk the soup with a wire whisk, and then add the spinach and salt. Cover and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

  • To make the tarka, heat the remaining butter, ghee or oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the onion and fry, stirring often, until the onion is softened and just begins to brown. Add the remaining ginger and chilies to the pan, along with the ground coriander, chili powder, garam masal, amchoor powder if using, cayenne, asafetida if using, and curry leaves. Stir for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes or until the mixture is thickened . Transfer to the soup, along with the lemon juice, and cover and simmer for another few minutes to let the flavors blend.

  • Taste and adjust seasonings, adding some fresh cracked black pepper if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
mixed dal palak

More dal curries and soups from Lisa's Kitchen:
Mysore-Style Toor Dal Soup
Red Lentil and Moong Dal
Tamarind Sambar
Urad Dal Tomato Soup

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1 comment:

Rumana Rawat said...

My all time favourite dal..