Dal cooked with greens is a very good combination. It is hearty and filling and if cooked in the right method, it is nutritional too. Even better if you do not over cook the greens and overcooking would reduce the nutritonal value. Palak/spinach is my favourite greens and I make sure to cook it frequently. My most favourite dish is the palak dal cooked with onions and tomatoes. It is best eaten with rice and an easy fix recipe for the days when you would prefer cooking a single item rather than the whole spread. Best eaten with rice, this would taste good with chapatis too. I also prefer to add drum sticks to the dal. Drum sticks also known as mulakkada in telugu is a seasonal ingredient.
To make this dal you would require:
Tuar dal/kandipappu/red gram dal – 1 small cup
Drum sticks/mulakkada – 2 medium optional
Palak/spinach/palakura – 1 medium sized bunch chopped finely.
Onion- 1 medium sized chopped finely.
Onions- 1 big sized chopped finely.
Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves chopped finely or used whole (optional)
Ginger – 1′ piece finely chopped
For the tempering:
Oil – 3 tbsp
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal -1/2 tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu -1/2tsp
Mustard seeds/ avalu : 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 3/4 tsp
Dry red chillies : 1-2 (broken or used whole)
Hing/asafetida : a pinch
Green chillies : 1-2 finely chopped or cut to 1″ pieces
Curry leaves: a few
Chilli powder: to taste.
Salt : to taste.
Chopped coriander: for garnishing.
Cook the tuar dal with double the amount of water in a pressure cooker until soft. Mash roughly with the base part of a rounded spoon or a masher and keep aside. We do not want it extremely soft but roughly mashed
Chop each drumstick into 4 -5 equal sized pieces. Boil in water with a bit of salt in it till slightly soft. Remove the water and keep aside. Reserve the liquid. This can be added to dal if the dal is very hard to liquidise it a bit.
Heat oil in a kadhai or a heavy bottomed pan. Add the bengal gram dal. When it slightly chaged colour add the urad dal and kep stirring.
Now add the mustard seeds and when they start popping add the cumin seeds. When the cumin starts spluttering add the dry red chillies. When they start changing colour add the hing and fry for a few seconds.
Now add the turmeric powder and curry leaves. Keep stirring to make sure the tempering does not burn.
Add the ginger, garlic, green chillies and fry well.
To this mixture add the chopped onions.
When they start turning translucent add the tomatoes and fry well till the tomatoes are soft. This would be a good time to add the salt as it quickens the cooking process.
Once the tomatoes have lost the raw smell and started to cook, add the boiled drum sticks and fry for a minute. Using drum sticks for the dal is optional. You can always skip it if not available.
Now add the spinach and cook for a minute till the greens have wilted. This is the sign that the greens have started to cook.
Add the cooked dal at this stage mix well and cook till all the ingredients have cooked well and turned a bit soft. You can cook the dal till you get the consistency you require.
Now add chilli powder to taste, and check the seasoning.
Just before removing from the stove add chopped corinader.
Serve hot with steamed rice, chapatis or puris.
If you want to try a different taste, you can add some sambhar powder after the tomatoes are cooked and fry for a minute. You can also add dhania/coriander powder.