Creamy Spinach Dal (Lentil Spinach Curry)

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on November 29, 2010

 

This wonderful bowl of palak dal or spinach dal curry is one of my favorite comfort food recipes for the winter. Just the smell of sizzling cumin, onion and garlic wafting through the house is enough to awaken anyone’s appetite. Serve this easy, filling dish with rice, rotis or bread.

Red choy or red spinach tastes great in this recipe

Any kind of dal or lentils will work here. You can use red lentils (masoor dal) in this dish as well. I like yellow lentils or mung or moong dal. I often use red spinach (Asian red choy or choi) in this recipe. Red spinach tastes a lot like spinach, but has red colored veins, and takes just a bit longer to cook than baby spinach leaves.

Some more delicious spinach dal recipes..
Palak dal or spinach dal recipe from vahrehvah.com
Spinach dal recipe on Mahanandi
Spinach dal recipe using toor dal on Chow and Chatter
Spinach dal curry recipe on Spicy Tasty

Creamy Spinach Dal or Spinach Lentils or Palak Dal Recipe

Serves about 4

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2 green chilies, slit (optional)
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 plum tomato, chopped
1 cup yellow lentils (moong dal)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup fresh, washed, baby spinach leaves or red choy leaves, packed tightly

Heat oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add the green chilly if using, and stir 30 seconds. Then add onion, garlic, and tomato. Stir on medium heat till they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and turmeric and stir 2 more minutes.

Pour 3 cups water and add salt to the lentils. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer. Place a lid on the saucepan and cook till lentils are done, about 15 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, lightly mash the dal, so that the tomatoes and onion pieces are mashed into the lentils. Add the heavy cream and spinach leaves. Stir the spinach leaves into the dal till they wilt, about 1 minutes. Add more water to the dal, if needed.

Serve hot with rice, rotis or bread.

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Comments

comments

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brian November 29, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Now I know why dal always gives me a little tummy ache after I eat it… but I enjoy it anyway. And now that I know how how to make it… I’m definitely going to try it out!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

if dal/lentils bother your stomach, add a pich of asafoetida to the oil, it helps digestion :)

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FoodieAnn Reply:

Thats a great tip for me…We often avoid eating dal for dinner due to this…Thanks…:)

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Anna Reply:

We have noticed that homemade Dal doesn’t upset the tummy – only restaurant Dal. We think it is the amount/type of fat that varies. You might have better luck with homemade.

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2 Laavanya November 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

That looks so creamy and good. I have never tried red choy before… will keep a lookout for them next time.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

you’ll find red choy at the asian market. its like thandangkeerai.

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3 Rosa November 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Such a lovely dal! Really comforting.

Cheers,

Rosa

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4 Sonia@7spice November 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm

A very satisfying meal, always! Spinach rocks! :)

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5 FoodZone November 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Nothing can beat a simple home cooked dal !

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6 Sharmilee November 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Healthy n tasty curry

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7 Gayu November 30, 2010 at 12:10 am

Love the Spinach dal…The dal in those tiny Dutch ovens are gorgeous..

Gayu
http://ensamayalarangam.blogspot.com

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8 Prerna@IndianSimmer November 30, 2010 at 12:22 am

This is my family favorite Sala. Thanks for sharing n reminding me that I have some spinach sitting in my fridge :-)
Its been a while since I visited your gorgeous space n it looks gorgeous as always! Hope u r doing great!

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9 Happy Cook November 30, 2010 at 7:26 am

Such a beautiful color that dal is having, we get here french spinach don’t know if that is same like the one you mentioned, should check out in the web.

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10 Manasi November 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

Red choy sounds interesting, I am a great fan of daal palak ( or with methi as well ) . Comforting indeed!

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11 Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets November 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I remember those ramekins from your pot pies, and I still find them just as pretty :) . As for the food, I can never resist a good dal. Perfect for the cold wet weather we’re having around here.

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12 Shivani November 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm

wow thats very tempting, we do make spinach gravy nearly same as you did and we call it in marathi ‘ gar ga te’ also tastes nice with Jowar Bhakri

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13 heguiberto December 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Red choy is great. Too bad it is not widely available here in the US. I find it in the Asian markets during the Summer months. This dish looks delicious. I love vegetarian Indian inspired meals.
Heguiberto

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14 Nicole December 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

This looks so tasty and a nice change from my usual lentil soup (easy recipe too!) Thanks!

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15 Namitha December 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

That’s a fantastic twist with cream, Sala :-) I love red spinach too ..

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16 Sanjeeta kk December 9, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Love the greens in dal. Would try to get my hands on this spinach.

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17 vandya December 10, 2010 at 2:01 am

Lovely and healthy dal. Love the clicks as well.

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18 tiina { sparkling ink } December 10, 2010 at 4:31 am

Oh, yum. What a perfect dish in its simplicity. Turmeric turns everything so gorgeous color!

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19 Cynthia December 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I make this meal once a week and never get tired of eating it.

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20 lisa January 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

delicious, healthy and flavorful! Happy New Year!

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21 AZ August 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Hi,

I made this tonight and the moong dal didn’t disintegrate at all, even after half an hour! Does this mean my lentils were old?

Thanks again for the feedback and the delicious recipes!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

you could try pressure cooking the lentils next time. moong dal usually cooks quickly.

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22 Lavanya September 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Hi Sala! Not sure if you remember me – I was in Radha’s class in Madurai. I only recently discovered your blog (on twitter- when I realized some food bloggers I follow, follow your blog). What fun- small world and all that.

That dal looks yummy, btw – Will probably make this tonight.

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23 Melissa October 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I tried this yesterday and 3 cups of water seemed like way too much (to my eye) but I faithfully followed the recipe. It took more than 30 minutes (rather than 15) for the water to be absorbed by the lentils…otherwise there was a lot of excess water, not a sauce. But unfortunately all that water once absorbed made the wonderful flavor of the lentils rather diluted. I added the spinach and milk (not cream, didn’t have any on hand) and the spinach did wilt (and was yummy) but it did not form a green sauce as yours did in the photo above. The only deviation I made from your recipe was that I used red lentils instead of yellow. Thoughts? Thank you!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

some lentils take longer to cook and require more water than other, so that could have been the issue.

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24 Mimi December 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Tried it. Loved it. Thank you. :)

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25 Kara February 14, 2012 at 12:58 am

Mine came out quite soupy and the lentils never seemed to mash. I did substitute with lentils I had at home so they may have been the wrong kind. Should I use less water next time?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

different lentils cook differently. If yours were soupy and did not get mushy, you need to cook them longer. Alternatively, try pressure cooking the lentils.

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26 Katie March 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

We try to eat heart healthy so I am wary of using cream. Any suggestions on a substitution?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

you can use greek yogurt instead of cream

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27 wtpgr April 14, 2012 at 9:54 am

I’ve just made this but left out the cream and I used green lentils instead. My dal was very watery in taste, is this because of the lentils I used or missing out the cream? Apart from that, I did everything to recipe? Is dal meant to be watery, I’ve never really had it before?

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28 Carole-Anne June 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

Will try it tonight! Looks YUM

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29 Stephanie June 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I made this recipe and it came out very good (I could’ve cooked the lentils longer than 15 minutes but they were cooked enough), except that it just seemed very bland and I couldn’t really taste any flavor of the spices or veggies. I didn’t use the optional chilies because I don’t like chilies, and I’m pretty sure I followed the recipe perfectly. Is there something I could’ve done to cause this?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

You could try adding more cream, salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime next time. Also, if you like it more flavorful, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin when cooking the lentils.

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30 Natalie June 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I thought this was really tasty. Added a few more spices since I like it that way. Question though – were the lentils soaked beforehand? I had to cook them much longer than 15 minutes (more like an hour) for them to be tender enough. This has happened to me before so I wasn’t surprised; maybe it’s something I do wrong all the time!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

It could just be the type of lentils you are using. Yes, soaking will definitely help. You could also pressure cook them.

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31 Ranga August 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Hi Sala

My wife and me like the Dal to be creamy but low fat. I have used Yogurt to thicken up the Dal instead of the cream. That really works, after a few tries :)

Ranga

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32 Manuela October 24, 2012 at 4:21 am

Your great homepage also found her way to Switzerland! Thanks so much for sharing such great recipes :-)
I especially love this one..I often serve it with some pappadam. Do you maybe also have a nice pappadam recipe? This would be amazing! I found some in the internet, but actually I`m sure you would have the best :-)

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33 Anthony Sanna June 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hey Sala,
Tonight I saved myself from a trip to the grocery store. I googled my ingredients at hand; lentils and spinach, yellow curry paste, garlic and creamed coconut. The result was your post here!

I did not prepare exactly as you did. I’m dairy free so I used creamed coconut instead.
And it’s so yummy. I love simple recipes like this!

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34 Bini February 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Hey Sala,

I followed your recipe for tonight’s spinach dal . It came out yummyyyyy:)

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