Palak Dal

You may very well say that I've somewhat lost the zeal for blogging. Blame it on the ruthlessly rude game my laptop is playing on me, or on my crazy schedule that does not even allow me an added 15 minutes to click what I have cooked. I have been cooking everyday, and some of that actually turn out to be quite blog-worthy. But as they say: A picture speaks a thousand words. And I don't have photographs of my Pork Mince Mexican Chili, Spinach and Feta Hummus, Vietnamese Chicken and Pickled Vegetable Salad or my low-cal Egg Chicken Wholewheat Wrap with Cilantro-Yoghurt Dip to do justice to their awesome-ness.
But what I do have is this simple yet hearty Palak Dal. Yes, it's as simple as it sounds: Spinach and lentils, but boy, such a lot of flavour it packs! It's meant to be thick (the North Indian way) and not tyaltyale (syrupy), the way Bengalis love their dal to be. This dish is protein-packed, boosted by the fibrous goodness of spinach and uses just about 1 tsp of oil for 4-6 servings. That's less that a quarter of a tsp for a single person! Want to lose some weight this festive season? This might just be your go-to bowl of comfort!
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients:

Arhar/Toor Dal:1 small cup
Spinach leaves, soaked in hot weather and then cooled in chilled water:1 bunch (roughly 300gm)
Onion, chopped finely: 1 medium
Garlic, chopped finely: 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies: 3-4
Green chillies, slit lengthwise: 2-3
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Oil: 1 tsp (I used olive)
Salt: to taste
Ghee: 1 tsp (optional)
Asafoetida/heeng:a pinch

Method:

1. Boil the arhar dal in pressure cooker with a pinch of salt, asafoetida and turmeric for 3 whistles. Let the cooker release steam on its own. Pour it into a bowl and set it aside.

2. In a deep-bottomed non-stick pan, add a tsp of oil and once it's really hot add the cumin seeds. As soon as the cumin seeds start to splutter (roughly 15-20 seconds), add the dried red chillies.

3. Now add the onions and garlic and cook them on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes till they turn translucent. Add the green chillies.

4. Now add the spinach leaves and red chilli powder. Mix well and cook covered on low heat till the spinach wilts and releases water.

5. Now pour in the pre-boiled dal and mix well. Add a little bit more turmeric (if needed) and check for seasoning. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Drizzle a tsp of ghee before turning off the gas.

7. Serve hot with steamed rice/ roti or paratha. I have bowlfuls of this on its own. It's so good that I don't need any carbs to complement it. :)
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