Thursday, February 4, 2010

#i8this - Wednesday

Palak Daal (from

Yesterday I made this AMAZING dish. It took some time to cook but the most complicated preparation step was chopping the peppers. It was really very simple. Next time I'll use my slow cooker and set it up early in the morning to cook all day. The set up would only take 10 minutes.

1 cup / 6.5 oz / 185 g white urid or urad daal, picked over and rinsed

6 cups / 1.5 liters water, plus more if necessary
1/2 pound spinach, washed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped (I shredded the ginger to make it easier)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 medium green chile peppers, minced (MAKE SURE YOU WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER THIS STEP)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter (or ghee)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon pure red chile powder
a pinch of asafetida, optional
more salt to taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon (I added shredded coconut instead)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large pot over medium-high heat combine the daal and water. Bring to a boil, then add the spinach, ginger, turmeric, 3/4 of the green chiles, and all of the tomatoes. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the lentils are extremely soft. You may need to add a bit more water during the cooking process to keep the lentils soupy. After an hour and a half, stir in the salt.

In a separate pan, heat the butter and cumin and fry until the cumin seeds start to pop. Now add the red chile powder (and asafetida if you're using it) and fry for another 30 seconds. Taste and add more asafetida if you like. Add this butter mixture to the lentils and allow to cook for another five minutes. Taste, and season with more salt if needed. I also enjoyed a touch of lemon juice added at this point. Serve topped with the cilantro and the remaining green chiles.

Serves 4-6 with rice or roti.

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