Known as dal palak in India, this much-loved everyday meal involves cooking lentils very simply with a little turmeric and spinach, then giving them a big flavor boost with a tarka — an infusion of spices and ghee (clarified butter). It’s Indian comfort food at its best.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Favorite Indian Lentils and Spinach (Dal Palak).
1. Info for Favorite Indian Lentils and Spinach (Dal Palak)
- Cook Time: 1 hr 5 min
- Total Time: 1 hr 5 min
- Servings: 4
- Calories: 311.03 kcal
2. Ingredients for Favorite Indian Lentils and Spinach (Dal Palak)
- 1 cup split red lentils (masoor dal)
- 5 oz. baby spinach leaves
- 1 qt. water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 3 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter; or use regular unsalted butter)
- 1/8 tsp. asafetida (optional; buy at Indian markets and online)
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 3 small whole dried chilies (preferably Kashmiri)
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped; optional)
- Steamed basmati rice (for serving; optional)
Rinse the lentils well in a fine strainer under running water. Coarsely chop the spinach.
Put lentils and spinach in a medium to large saucepan and add the water, salt, and turmeric. Bring to a boil over high heat; then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.
Mince the garlic. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and add the asefetida, if using, and cumin seeds. As soon as they sputter, add minced garlic. Cook garlic until it begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the chilies, paprika, and garam masala and briefly stir. Turn the heat off and pour the tarka (spiced ghee) over the dal. Stir well.
Chop the cilantro, if using. Scatter it over dal and serve with basmati rice if you like.