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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spinach Dal / Paalakoora Pappu

My kids love spinach and so I knew spinach is going to feature in one of my "Iron rich recipes" for this week's blogging marathon. However I didn't decide on the "how" part until the end and kept contemplating over salads, pastas and baked dishes. I figured it out finally that it is best to stick to a tried, tested and loved recipe at my home. And so I am here with this spinach dal which is healthy, delicious and wholesome. It uses spinach and lentils which are two good sources of iron for vegetarians. This Andhra style, spicy lentil dish happens to be a favorite of my family, especially my kids and gets cooked at least 3 to 4 times a month. Indian kids are used to these kind of comforting, home cooked dals on a daily basis and so, I thought it would be a suitable entry for the event. However adjust the spice levels according to the kids' preferences. 

Ingredients: (For 4 servings)
1/2 cup toor dal
1 bunch of spinach leaves (About 2 to 2.5 cups packed, chopped leaves)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 to 2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 to 3/4 tsp chili powder
1&1/2 to 2 tbsp tamarind extract

* Discard any damaged spinach leaves and wash the rest that are going to be used. Finely chop them including the tender stalks. 
Feel free to use frozen, chopped spinach instead of fresh variety and you are not going to notice any difference. If using frozen spinach, go with about 5 oz for this recipe.
* By default, Indians usually own pressure cookers in their kitchens which make cooking beans a cinch. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook lentils in a pressure cooker. If you don't own a pressure cooker, soak the lentilS in water for about a couple of hours to fasten the cooking. And then proceed with cooking lentils and spinach in a sauce pan on stove-top until the lentils turns mushy, adding water as needed in between.
* Wash lentils in two exchanges of water. Pressure cook together the lentils, spinach and turmeric adding about 1 cup water.
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid of the cooker. Mash the cooked lentils well with the back of a ladle.
* Heat oil in a kadai or a pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to crackle and pop, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Next add the cooked lentil-spinach mixture, tamarind, salt and chili powder. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Bring the mixture to a boil and continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes and turn off the stove.
* Serve warm with rice or rotis. I had served it along with beetroot curry that happens to be another good source of iron.

* 1 or 2 green chillies can also be added along with the lentils. If green chillies are added, adjust the chili powder in the recipe accordingly. Or chilli powder can be completely excluded and substituted with green chillies.
* Finely chopped onion can also be added with the lentils.
* The tadka part can be done separately in another pan and can be added finally.

These go to the following events.
1. Blogging Marathon #41
2. Srivalli's "Kids' Delight", hosted this month by Kalyani with the theme "Iron rich recipes". 



The Pumpkin Farm said...

just reminds me how it has been since i made this, i loved your version

vaishali sabnani said...

We make a similar version with chana daal. In fact read about the spinach and tuar daal just a few days back. I should try this version too.

Srivalli said...

My afternoon dal was just this..:)..very inviting dal and so healthy!

Priya Suresh said...

Comforting food,serve me with rice and pickle i can have it everyday.

Sapana Behl said...

Love dal and spinach combo ...yours looks lovely !

nandoos Kitchen said...

spinach dal looks yumm..healthy

Nalini's Kitchen said...

Healthy and delicious palak dhal..

Pavani N said...

My kids love pappu too and this is one is one of their favorite dish too. Looks comforting and delicious.

Usha said...

This used to be a common dal growing up but I don't cook it though. Husband not fond of mixing greens with anything else. Dal is so simple, comforting and a healthy one.

Chef Mireille said...

I always like the addition of spinach in dal - your version looks so delicious

Harini-Jaya R said...

Same pinch! I also made a palak dal for this series albeit a north Indian version. It is also our family favorite.