Dal or lentils are a staple of Indian diet. It is the cornerstone of vegetarian cuisine which is devoid of animal protein. In Indian homes, dal is cooked in many different ways to balance nutrition and taste. It is most often boiled and served with a tadka/seasoning to go with your chapatis and rice. It is also made into dumplings or fritters to be used in a gravy or it is also used to make the batter for pakode/fritters or savory pancakes.
To further up the nutritional value of dal, it is often teamed with vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, beans, brinjals (as in sambhar) or greens like spinach, fenugreek, amaranthus, basale leaves etc. This is a simple recipe of palak dal which is a favorite in my home. It is really easy to make as well. You can substitute the spinach with the other greens at hand.
200 gm. Tuar Dal (or take a mix of Tuar and Urad dal)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 small bunches spinach (cleaned and washed)
For the seasoning
2 tbsp. Ghee or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. hing (asafoetida)
2-3 dried red chillies
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chilly powder or to taste
1 tsp. sambhar powder (optional)
Cook the dal with turmeric and water for 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker till well cooked. Keep aside. Chop the spinach after thorougly washing and cleaning it. I wilt it in the pan for a couple of minutes till it sweats its water and gets cooked. Now take a pan. Add ghee and heat. Add cumin and let it crackle. Add asafoetida and dried red chillies. Now add in the garlic and fry for a minute. Add in the tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooked spinach. Now tip in the cooked dal. Adjust the water so that you have a slightly runny dal. Now put in the sambhar powder, chilly powder and salt to taste and serve hot after mixing the seasoning well.
Enjoy it with a squirt of lime juice. Serve with rotis or rice.