What can be said about this dish of dal palang?
Creamy, nutritious, protein-rich, iron and mineral-rich, fibre-rich, this is probably the healthiest dish in this cookbook.
It is also one of our favourite go-to recipes for a quick evening meal. Served with plain rice, this can be served very quickly with a minimum of effort. A great dish to serve to your vegetarian friends.
This is a dal dish, with spinach. It is not a thick spinach dish with some dal, such as the Punjabi version. This is the Bengali dish and is much, much simpler to prepare.
We serve this just with plain rice and one of our favourite pickles.
Thoroughly wash pigeon peas, then soak for one hour.
Thoroughly wash the red lentils, drain, then place into a pot with 750 ml of water, the turmeric and salt. Drain the pigeon peas and add to the pot.
Bring the lentils gently to the boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove any foam that appears. If the lentils start to dry out, add a little more water as required. Do not add too much as you do not want a watery dal.
Heat the mustard oil in a pan over medium heat and add the panch phoran. When the seeds start to pop add the onions and salt and mix well.
Fry the onions for about ten minutes, or until they have softened and taken on a golden colour.
When the onions have coloured, add the ginger and red chilli and fry for two minutes.
Check the consistency of the dal and add a little boiling water, if required. Mix gently – or if you prefer a smooth dal, vigourously whisk the dal, adding water as required. Be cautious adding water as you can easily go too far and have a dal that is more like a soup.
Add the spinach to the dal and mix. Cook for another two minutes to allow spinach to wilt.
Add the oil and onion mix and the split red chilli to the dal. Mix gently . Check seasoning and cautiously add salt if required.
Turn the dal into a serving bowl and garnish with the coriander.
- The more you stir the lentils, the more they will break down. We like our lentils with some texture, but if you prefer a smoother dal, use a whisk to break down the grains before adding the spinach.
- Baby spinach leaves work well in this dish.