Spinach dal is a hearty, wholesome, and healthy dal made with spinach and toor dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea). Using an
Although not as popular as dal makhani, it remains a common dal in South Indian states such as Karnataka, Andhra, and Tamil Nadu. Also called palak dal, it is gluten-free, vegan, and made using minimal spices.
Why you will love this recipe?
- This palak dal recipe has minimal prep time, thanks to frozen spinach. It is ready in 20 minutes when made in an
Instant Potspinach dal can be served as a main dish with rice or bread or as a side dish to a larger meal.
- It's also a great option for meal prep, as it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Palak: (Spinach leaves) I used frozen spinach in this recipe. See the tips section below to see how to use fresh spinach.
Toor dal: I make this dish with toor dal or pigeon peas lentil. Moong dal (yellow lentils can also be used).
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Use different dal: You can use urad dal, yellow moong dal, or masoor dal (red lentils) instead of arhar dal. Make palak chana dal by using Bengal gram (chana dal) or moong dal palak using petite yellow lentils. You can also use a mix of different dal.
Change the spices: This South Indian recipe is popularly called palakura pappu and uses curry leaves and mustard seeds. In North India, spices like red chili powder (or cayenne pepper), coriander powder, garam masala powder, and kasuri methi are used.
Use other leafy greens: Apart from spinach, you can use fenugreek leaves, mustard greens, kale, or collard greens in this recipe. Also, check out this recipe to make palak sambar, a South Indian stew.
Step 1: Set the
Step 2: Add chopped onions and saute for 3-4 minutes (images 2 and 3). Add tuvar dal, frozen spinach, tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt, and green chili (image 4).
Step 3: Add 6 cups of water and give it a good stir. Set the
Step 4: Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Open the lid and add the lemon juice (images 7 and 8).
I am using frozen spinach leaves; however, regular spinach or baby spinach leaves also can be used. For every cup of frozen greens, replace it with 2 cups of fresh greens.
I am using 4 cups of water in one cup toor dal. Adjust the amount of water to get the desired consistency of dal.
For fresh spinach, clean the leaves and roughly chop the leaves. Add the fresh spinach only after pressure cooking the dal. Follow this recipe, but do not add the fresh spinach along with the dal. Once the pressure is released from the
What to serve with dal palak?
For the ultimate comfort food experience, pair this delectable spinach dal with either basmati rice or jeera rice and a side of aloo curry or kurkuri bhindi. It also pairs well with this spicy pan-roasted chow chow.
Alternatively, you can enjoy it as a warm and comforting lentil soup. This lightly spiced dal palak curry is easy to prepare and burst with flavors.
Yes. You can use frozen greens to make the dal and they can be used directly without defrosting. Add them along with the rest of the ingredients and pressure cook.
To use regular spinach, wash them thoroughly and roughly chop them. Do not add them to the pressure cooker. Once the dal is cooked, add the spinach leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they are cooked.
You can store any leftover dal in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It also freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat the next day, add some hot water to the dal and simmer on the stovetop for a few minutes.
More recipes using frozen spinach
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Spinach Dal (Dal Palak)
- 1½ cups toor dal (pigeon pea lentils)
- 10 oz frozen spinach
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon hing asafetida
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2-3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 green chili slit
- 1½ teaspoon salt (adjust as per taste)
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 cups water
- Rinse the toor dal thoroughly in water and set it aside.
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add oil.
- Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
- Add cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves, and garlic. Saute for a few seconds.
- Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add toor dal, frozen spinach, tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt, and green chili.
- Add 6 cups of water. Mix well and deglaze the pot.
- Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode for 8 minutes.
- Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Open the lid and squeeze in the lemon juice or lime juice.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.