Palak Dhal (Spinach Dhal)


Over the long weekend, decided to cook some healthy food.  A friend told me that turmeric helps to remove phlegm and since the last bout of flu, the throat has been quite itchy and chest very phlegm-y.  So decided to venture into the unknown (by me), and tried cooking Indian food - Palak Daal.

I got the recipe here.  I could not find white daal, so I used the yellow dhal instead.  Works the same.  I made one mistake here, that is I added too much water, until the dhal is too watery, like chinese soup.  But the taste was so satisfying, that I realised in order to cook a satisfied meal, one has to be very patience and put lots of effort and love into the food.  Sometimes, it's not expensive or luxury food or eating too much and too full that gives that satisfying feeling.  A simple food like the above gave such a big satisfaction to us.

Here's what I adapted from the blog - 101 Cookbooks.

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow daal
6 cups water (in my case I put 7 cups, which was too much)
1 packet of spinach (pre-packed, comes with 3 bunches)
1 tbsp ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 green chillies
2 tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt

For the spice and added taste:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilly powder
A pinch of asafoetida 
1/4 cup cilantro / coriander

Method:
1. Chop the spinach finely.  I only used spinach leaves and I even took out the stem in the middle of the leave to make it more smooth and soft.  Chop ginger finely too.  Chop the chillies and tomatoes in cubes.

2. The daal need to be soaked overnight in order to release the excess gas.  So do remember to prepare in advance.

3. In a pot, combine the daal with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Be careful, don't repeat the mistake I made.  I forgot to open the lid and the boiled water spilled over and that's why I added another cup of water, which made it too watery.

4. Add spinach, ginger, turmeric, 3/4 green chillies and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.

5. Let the stew simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours until the daal is soft and dissolved.  When it is ready, add salt for taste.  Add cilantro and the rest of the chillies.  If you do not like it too spicy, you can omit the chillies here.

6. In a separate pan, put in the butter and cumin seeds and fry until they popped.  

7. Add the chilly powder and asafoetida.  If you do not like this smell and taste, you can skip the asafoetida as it gives out a very strong 'Indian' taste and smell.

8. Add this butter mixture into the daal and cook for another 5 minutes.


This daal curry is so packed with goodness and nutrients.  You can eat it as it is or eat with rice or bread.  Also, the cooking time is pretty long, so do prepare in advance.  I was a little too impatient and stopped at 1.5 hours when the dhal is not 100% dissolved.  But it is still OK, the taste is great.  Like I mentioned earlier, it was such a satisfying meal that only a few times I felt this in my life.  

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