Amma never cooked Dhal and Spinach together- she did cook a dish called Sour Dhal or Dhal with Sour Herbs. Since I am barely able to find most ingredients used by Amma - finding ‘sour herbs’ is definitely out of the question- instead I’ve come up with my own concoction – Spinach Dhal -which although does not taste like Amma’s Sour Dhal –it is tasty enough to share with you. 

For this recipe I have used a combination of split pea dhal and mung dhal, you can also use red lentils or black lentils (breyani dhal) to give the dish a thick texture. At best it can be described as being - like Dhal Ghost without the meat. Reason for this thick texture is that I intended serving  this dish as a soup rather than with rice or bread. I often use grated carrots as a substitute for rice- adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to grated carrots (my minimalist version of the traditional carrot salad). This dhal recipe is ideal for a light meal for lunch or supper.

This recipe serves 2 people. To make Spinach and Dhal you will need:

  • 1 cup dhal
  • Half cup moong dhal
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon jeera powder
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil/sunflower oil

1. Pre boil the dhal and moong dhal
2. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add the oil.

Cook the onions until slightly brown. I recommend using no more than 2 tablespoons oil when cooking-it may look dry and unappetising but it does taste good once the cooking process is complete...and definitely more beneficial than an oil drenched curry.
3. Add the chilli powder. Allow to braise for 3 minutes on low heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Add the dhal.

4. Add one cup of water and the lemon juice. Stir. Add Salt.
5. Add the Spinach. Cover the pan with the lid half open this will prevent the spinach from turning brown.
6. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. If the texture is too thick - add more water to achieve the desired texture.
6. Serve warm.
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