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Spinach Masala Dal

| March 18, 2013 Comment

spinach masala dal

Spinach Masala Dal is a North Indian lentil soup that’s tangy and slightly sweet, and makes a great accompaniment for plain rice. This spicy dal is nutritious as the spinach provides a lot of iron and greens vitamins, while the yellow lentils provide a lot of protein.

Servings: 4-6
Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup chana dal
  • (yellow lentils/split bengal gram)
  • 4 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tsp lime/lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 3 tbsp coconut, freshly grated
  • 3 tbsp cilantro (coriander leaves), chopped
  • Salt to taste

For Seasoning

  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 6-7 red chillies (adjust as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Cook the chana dal with 2 cups of water and a pinch of turmeric powder in a pressure cooker for about 5 whistles. Mash the cooked dal.
  2. Chop and grind the tomatoes in a blender into a smooth paste, strain in a tea strainer to remove seeds and peel, and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, cook the spinach with 1 1/2 cups water, turmeric powder, and salt, until soft.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cooked dal, along with salt as needed.
  5. Heat oil in a small pan for the seasoning. Add the cumin, fenugreek, cloves, cardamom pods and bay leaf, and fry until golden. Add the red chillies and chilli powder and fry for a ouple of seconds, and pour over the dal. Add the sugar and let the dal come to a boil and remove from heat.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and a couple of the cloves from the spinach masala dal.
  7. Stir in the coconut, cilantro, and lime juice before serving the spinach masala dal with plain rice and pappadum.

Cooking Tip

If you like garlic, you can crush 4 cloves of garlic, add half to the dal when pressure cooking, and the remaining to the seasoning.

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Category: Dals and Soups, Dals and Soups - No-Onion No-Garlic, Vegan Dals and Soups

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