Spinach and Coconut Dal
Spinach and lentils is a very typical combination, and I’ve got a few ways to cook them together, but this particular recipe is special. It flavors the spinach with lovely spices and coconut, making the taste unique. You can eat a bowl of this on its own, or serve it with rice.
For the Lentils
- 1 1/4 cups (9 ounces) split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal)
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
For the Spinach
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 tablespoon black lentils (urad dal)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 dried red chiles
- 2/3 cup (1 3/4 ounces) fresh coconut, roughly chopped
- 7 ounces fresh spinach
- Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) boiling water
For the Tadka
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 2 dried red chiles
- A pinch of asafoetida (optional)
Start by combining the split yellow pigeon peas, water, salt, and turmeric in a pan and bringing them to a boil. Reduce the heat, then cover and cook for 40–45 minutes, until the peas are soft.
To cook the spinach, heat the ghee in another pan and add the black lentils. Cook for 2 minutes on low heat until slightly golden, then add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, dried red chiles, and chopped coconut. Let it all sizzle for a minute.
Add the spinach and boiling water. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz to a purée.
Tip the purée into the pan of cooked split yellow pigeon peas and return to a boil.
For the tadka, heat the ghee in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, dried red chiles, and asafoetida and let them sizzle for a minute. Stir this mixture into the other pan and serve.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days. Reheat well before serving.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian: Everyday Veg and Vegan Feasts Effortlessly Good for You” by Chetna Makan. Published by Mitchell Beazley.