Monday, May 14, 2012

Meatless Monday: Creamy Palak Dal (Lentils with Spinach)

I've been a serious slacker when it comes to Meatless Mondays.  Here's my chance at redemption!  For this recipe, I substituted lentils for Toor Dal.  Toor dal is an Indian legume.  It is also referred to as yellow split pigeon peas.  You can substitute yellow or red lentils for this recipes (just note the shorter cooking time).  Toor dal has a nice earthy and slightly nutty flavor.  I found my toor dal at New Seasons.  

I've been waiting to try this recipe out.  Luckily, my spinach harvest this week came in a timely manner.  This is a yummy recipe.  I can't vouch for authenticity since Indian food is not my specialty, however, I can vouch for the yummy factor of this dish.  It's good stuff!  Serve with rice or pita bread.    

Creamy Palak Dal (Lentils with Spinach)
Serves: 4-6

1 1/2 c. toor dal
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1-2 green chilies, chopped (optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 1/2 - 3 c. water, vegetable stock or chicken stock (or a combination of stock and water)
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 lb. washed spinach leaves, roughly torn
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
lemon, sliced into wedges 

1) Soak toor dal in a bowl of warm water for about 20 minutes.  Drain and rinse well. 

2) Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.  Add cumin seeds and when they just start to sizzle, add the green chili (if using), onion and garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.  

3) Add the lentils, tumeric and chili powder.  Cook mixture for another 2 minutes.

4) Add 2 1/2 c. stock/water to the pot to start (you may need more later).  Add salt and bring the mixture to a boil.  Then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.  Cover pot with lid and cook until the lentils are done (about 30-45 minutes for toor dal).  If you like, you can use an immersion blender to make a creamier dal.   

5) Add garam masala and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.  Add more water if needed.  Add the heavy cream to the dal and stir well.  Add more salt and adjust seasonings if needed.  Serve hot over rice or with pita bread.  Squeeze lemon over the dal before serving to give it a nice acidic bite.     

**Linking up to Wendy's GTTC at Greenish Thumb and Robin's Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard (being hosted by Jody at Spring Garden Acre this week)**


Rowena... said...

Oooooh...yummy! I'm going to have to follow your lead and try going Meatless Monday as well, even if we hardly eat all that much anyway. Love the idea that you got to use your own spinach!

~Holly~ said...

Rowena: I hardly eat meat myself but it helps to have one day to go entirely meat free. It also helps me think outside the box.

Liz said...

I have a heap of toor dal in the cupboard (I forgot i'd already boght some...) so I'll definitely try this one.

Jody said...

I've never heard of toor dal before, let alone tried it. It looks delicious!

Wendy said...

yum. I love any kind of dal - such comfort food. Yours looks great!

~Holly~ said...

Liz: I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Jody: Thanks Jody!

Wendy: Thanks Wendy! It was really comfort food! I ate it with rice one night then naan another. Delicious!