Dhaba style dal palak is dal (lentils) cooked with palak (spinach) is one of the easiest nutrients filled vegan curry you will ever make. This recipe gives you restaurant quality dal that is full of flavors. This budget friendly pantry recipe is easy to make, comforting when paired with rice or roti…PURE BLISS!
Why Should You Try This Dal?
- Simplest and easiest curry you will ever make.
- It’s packed with flavors that enhance the taste of the dish without overpowering it.
- You won’t need any curry powder for this recipe.
- It’s nutrients and protein rich dish. When served with steamed rice it’s a complete nutritious meal.
- If you are looking for vegan or vegetarian recipe, this is perfect for you! It’s vegetarians, vegan, low carb, makes it perfect for your healthy eating days.
- Needs minimal pantry ingredients. One of the best budget friendly pantry meals.
- If you are stressed out, make this dal and serve it with hot steamed rice. It’ll comfort you! Best soul food!
It was about yesterday I was working in my garden, plucking off the weeds and spraying natural disinfectant over my bed of vegetables and spinach that had grown in full length. Plucked out all the spinach from my vegetable patch which gave me about 2 fresh bunches of palak leaves(spinach).
Nothing can beat the taste of fresh spinach. I decided to make dal palak recipe dhaba(restaurant) style to do justice to the fresh produce. The dal turned out super delicious.
Dal palak recipe is Indian Lentils and Spinach Curry that is packed with flavors and loads of nutrition! It’s vegan, gluten-free naturally. This Indian dish is made is made with a hand full of lentils, along with spinach, a few spices and lots of love.
In India any dal dish is not complete without a tadka (or tarka which is tempering added to any curry in the end). Tadka is basically spice garnish – whole spices and garlic tempered in hot oil. The splutters and sizzles of whole spices in hot oil is completely magically and your home is going to be filled with ‘strong’ aroma of these spices cooking in oil.
You may want to be careful, if you are not used to strong spice aromas then cover up your nose and mouth with a mask.
This garnish of spices tempered in hot oil is poured always in the last over cooked dal. This tadka adds delicious nutty flavor to the dish.
How To Make Dal Palak?
To make this curry, first get dal(yellow lentils) cooked and ready. Preferably you cook lentils until soft mushy. I always cook my dal in pressure cooker. Instant pot works great as well. It should take 10 minutes on high pressure manual mode to get lentils cooked in instant pot.
- Chop veggies and spinach and keep them all ready.
- In a pan heat oil. Vegetable oil or canola oil is best.
- Splutter mustard seeds in hot oil. Wait until all the seeds are cracked.
- Put whole cumin seeds and wait for few seconds.
- Add chopped ginger-garlic and saute until raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
- Whole slit green chilies goes in next. Add as many as you want , green chilies for heat.
- Saute chopped plum tomatoes until soft and mushy.
- Add asafeotida.
- Add all the spice powders.
- Next chopped spinach and cook for 3-5 minutes, until spinach is completely wilted.
- Add cooked dal along with the water in which it is cooked.
- Season salt to taste.
- Mix well.
- Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoon of oil in small pan.
- Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
- Add cumin seeds and wait for 10 seconds.
- Add sliced garlic and saute until it turns golden brown.
- Add asafoetida, dried red chilies and saute for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Pour it over hot dal.
- Stir it. Turn off flame.
- Finally add freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir well.
- Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis or naan (flatbread).
More Dal recipes for you to try-
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Dal Palak - Dhaba Style
- 1 cup toor dal or use yellow moong dal
- 1 cup palak leaves/spinach tightly packed, wash and chopped into small bits
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 3 green chilies slit lengthwise (if you want milder spice), or chopped fine with seeds (if you want more spice)
- 1 tablespoon ginger pieces
- 1 tablespoon garlic pieces + 1 teaspoon extra
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 dried red chilies
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch asafetida
- Rinse dal 2 to 3 times. Soak dal in enough water for about 20 minutes. Pressure cook the soaked dal in enough water with ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder for about 2 to 3 whistles(i.e pressure cook dal for 20 minutes). Note : Pressure cooked dal for mentioned time will give you mushy texture dal and that's how we want it. If you are after slightly gritty textured dal, pressure cook for lesser time probably about 10 to 12 minutes. Pro-Tip : While cooking dal add generous pinch of turmeric powder and 5-6 cloves of garlic.
- Pick palak leaves(spinach) and rinse it under water to remove all the dirt from the leaves. Chop it fine as possible, keep aside.
- In a wok add 1 tablespoon ghee plus ½ tablespoon oil. Add cumin seeds and will till it turns slightly brown. Add finely chopped garlic and ginger pieces. Saute till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off.
- Next add finely chopped onions and green chilies, cook until onions start to turn brown.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes turns soft and release the juices.
- Add finely chopped spinach leaves. Cook till spinach is completely cooked.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt to taste and mix well. Saute for a minute.Note : You can skip red child powder and just add green chilies like you see in the recipe video. If adding red child powder, note the color of the dal would change. I love yellow-dish dal, so I skipped red chili powder.
- Add cooked dal and mix well. Cover and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off flame.
- In another small pan heat remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Add mustard seeds wait till it splutters. Add cumin seeds and wait till it starts to turn brown. Add thin sliced garlic and sauté till garlic turns golden brown. Add asafetida and dried red chilies, let it cook for 20 seconds and turn off flame. Add this tempering to the dal.
- Add lemon juice. Stir well.
- Serve hot with steamed rice with a dollop of ghee on top. Pure bliss!
- ALWAYS serve dal palak immediately hot with steamed rice. With a spoon full of ghee (clarified butter) over piping hot dal .... outrageously DELICIOUS!!
- Pressure cooked dal for mentioned time in recipe will give you mushy texture dal and that's how we want it.
- However, if you are after slightly gritty textured dal, pressure cook for lesser time probably about 10 to 12 minutes.
- While cooking dal add generous pinch of turmeric powder and 5-6 cloves of garlic, it makes it more flavorful and tasty.
- Skip red chili powder if you like yellowish dal.
- Use green chilies according to your spice tolerance levels. I like my dal to be more spicier, because the spicier it tastes better.
- I like to temper my dal with browned garlic slices, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chilies and asafeotida.
- You can add few thin slices of onion, fry in hot oil until golden brown and add to the rest of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe.
- You can also add a dash of red chili powder to the tempering. This is one of the most common ways to temper dal in many restaurants and households.