dal and spinach

What can be said about this Bengali dal and spinach dish?

Creamy, nutritious, protein-rich, iron and mineral-rich, fibre-rich, dal palang or palak dal is probably the healthiest recipe in this cookbook.

This is a dal dish, with spinach. It is not a thick spinach dish with some dal, such as the Punjabi version. This is from the Bengali cuisine and is much, much simpler to prepare.

It is one of our favourite go-to recipes for a quick evening meal. This can be prepared very quickly and needs a minimum of effort to cook. A great dish to serve to your vegetarian friends.

We serve this just with plain rice and one of our favourite pickles.

the recipe

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to temper

to serve


  • Thoroughly wash the pigeon peas, then set aside to soak for one hour.
  • Thoroughly wash the red lentils, drain, then place into a pot with 750 ml of water. Drain the pigeon peas and add to the pot. Add the turmeric and the salt.
  • Bring the lentils gently to the boil, remove any foam that appears, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the lentils start to dry out, add a little more water – do not add too much as you do not want a watery dal.

to temper

  • Whilst the dal is cooking, 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.

to finish

  • Check the consistency of the dal and add a little boiling water, if required. Mix gently – or if you prefer a smooth dal, vigorously 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.

to serve

  • 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 texture, but if you prefer a smoother dal, use a whisk to break down the grains before adding the spinach.
  • One metric cup of lentils is about 200g.
  • Baby spinach leaves work well in this dish.

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Serving: 200 g | Calories: 406 kcal | Carbohydrates: 56 g | Protein: 20 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g | Sodium: 657 mg | Potassium: 1489 mg | Fiber: 18 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 6125 IU | Vitamin C: 54 mg | Calcium: 168 mg | Iron: 8 mg
4.67 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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