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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Baby spinach leaves work well in this dish.