If you are a novice at Indian Cooking or are health concious and fitness concious, then this dish is perfect for you. Not only is it nutritious but it is high on taste. Can be eaten by itself as a soup or it can be served hot with steamed rice and a side of Onion salad.
We visited our friends Nick and Ti for a quick cuppa last Sunday. They have a lovely veggie patch in their garden and they have been growing organic cucumbers, tomatoes and spinach. They packed me a big bunch of freshly picked spinach from their garden. I was so excited that as soon as we got home I decided to cook with them. So here is Mumbai to Melbourne's recipe for Whole Masoor Dal with Spinach or Brown Soupy Lentils with Spinach.
- Whole Masoor Dal - 150 gms (before soaking) or 1 can brown lentils
- Spinach leaves - 10- 12 leaves - finely chopped
- Ginger Paste - 1 teaspoon
- Garlic Paste - 1 teaspoon
- Kasoori Methi/ Dried fenugreek leaves - 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
- Onion- 1 big one - finely chopped
- Tomato Puree / diced tomato can - 250 gms
- Water - 4 measuring cups
- Red chilli Powder - 1.5 teaspoon
- Coriander Powder- 1.5 teaspoon
- Cumin Powder - 1 teaspoon
- Oil- 1 tablespoon
- Ghee - 1 teaspoon
- Lemon juice - 2 teaspoon
- Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Asafoetida/ Hing - A pinch (Optional)
- Salt to taste
- Soak the whole masoor dal in warm water for 30- 40 minutes. Take a pressure cooker and add the soaked lentils and 4 cups of water along with pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil. Let it cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Then keep aside to let the steam cook the lentils.
- If using a brown lentils can, drain the brine and wash under running water. Drain the lentils and keep aside. Since they are already precooked you do not have to pressure cook them.
- Next take a wok add the remaining oil and ghee and let it heat. Then add the asafoetida, turmeric and cumin seeds and let them crackle. Next add the finely chopped onion and stir fry till it turns pinkish brown which should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook till the raw smell goes away. Then add the finely chopped spinach leaves and mix well. Add salt and lemon juice and pinch of sugar at this stage. Mix and cover with a lid.
- The spinach should be cooked within 5 minutes. Next add the tomato purée or diced tomato and mix well. Cover with lid again for about 5-7 minutes.
- Then add the cumin and coriander powder, red chilli powder and kasoori methi and salt if needed. Mix well till the spices are fragrant and the oil leaves the sides.
- In the meanwhile the steam should have cooked the lentils. Open the lid of the pressure cooker and take the weight (seeti) off.
- Now add this spinach and tomato- spice mixture (Tempering/ Tadka) we prepared to the cooked lentils in the pressure cooker. Mix it well. Now put the lid back on and keep the flame on low. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Ensure you keep the weight/ seeti off while you simmer.
- Lastly add the lemon juice and mix well just before serving.
- Your Whole Masoor Dal with Spinach or Brown Soupy Lentils with Spinach is now ready.
Photography- Ankit Mehan
If you want to make this Dal entirely with vegetable or olive oil you could do so and avoid ghee. You could also make it with virgin coconut oil or entirely in ghee. You can add a teaspoon on tomato paste along with tomato puree for additional tartness and colour. If using canned brown lentils ensure you wash the brine off completely. If you do not have a pressure cooker then increase the soak time to an hour and use a large soup pot and let the lentils cook on medium flame for about 45- 50 minutes till they cook completely with salt and oil added.
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Have a fantastic week ahead.