July 1, 2009

Sri Lankan Palak Dal Recipe (Spinach Dal Recipe)

How to make Palak Dal (Spinach Dal)

Ever since Siri hosted AWED Sri Lanka Recipes event, I got hooked to the cuisine. I had borrowed a book and this is the third recipe I tried from it. A simple palak dal recipe (lentils and spinach) but enhanced in true Sri Lankan way not to mention the addition of the ever-present coconut milk.

Fresh Green Spinach

The book I had only mentioned dal and I wasn't sure which dal they were referring to. So I used toor dal. You could also try this with moong dal and get a totally different flavour. Yummy either ways, I am sure.

Soaked Toor Dal for Palak Dal

Sri Lankan Palak Dal /Lentils with Spinach
Preparation time: 40 mins
Serves: 2 to 4

What I Used:

1.5 cups toor dal
A big bunch of spinach, chopped (about 4 cups loosely packed)
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small tomato, chopped fine
2 dried red chillies
2 garlic pods, crushed
A 1" piece of cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1.5 cups light coconut milk
Salt to taste

For tempering:

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A few pieces of rampe/ pandan leaves or curry leaves

How to make Palak Dal:

1. The first step is to cook the lentils. Usually I use pressure cooker but for this recipe, its important not to cook them mushy. So, add about 4 cups water to the 1.5 cups toor dal and soak for an hour. Then, keep on a medium fire to cook for about 20-25 mins. The lentils should be cooked yet stay as individual pods.

2. Heat oil and add the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard seeds start popping, add the cinnamon, chillies, garlic, jeera and onions. Fry until onions turn transparent.

3. Then add the tomatoes and mix well for another minute. Add the chopped spinach now and lower fire. Let it wilt and reduce in size. Keep stirring till the it mixes well with the rest of the added ingredients.

4. Now add the cooked lentils and combine gently. Bring to boil. Reduce fire and add the coconut milk and salt. You can add some chilli powder if you'd like more heat. Simmer for 5 mins and remove from fire.
Serve spinach dal hot with steamed white rice or roti.

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