On regular days my plain yellow dal has a spicier accompaniment. On other days, the accompaniment is plain aloo fry while the dal is spruced up. Here is one way I make my dal interesting – a spinachy-garlicky version.
- Toor Dal – 3/4 cup
- Turmeric Powder – a pinch
- Salt – to taste
- Spinach – 1 bunch
- Garlic – 5 pods, crushed
- Ginger – 1/2 inch, crushed
- Green chilies – 2, slit vertically
- Tomatoes – 2
- Oil – 2 teaspoons
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Dry red chilies – 2
Wash and soak the dals in three cups of water for an hour. Drain. In a pressure cooker, put the drained dal, 2 fresh cups of water, turmeric. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 whistles. Two whistles if you want the dal flakes to show, 3 whistles if you like it blended. Allow it to cool and release pressure naturally.
Chop the tomatoes. Wash and chop the spinach.
In a kadhai, heat a teaspoon of oil. When it begins to crackle, gently slide in the crushed garlic and slit green chilies. When the garlic turns golden, add the tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally till the tomatoes are mushy.
Add the chopped spinach and cook on high flame, stirring till the spinach wilts. When done, turn the dal into the kadhai and bring to a boil.
Do the tadka: In a tadka ladle, heat a teaspoon of oil. When hot, add cumin and dry red chilies. Take it off the flame as soon as the cumin seeds crackle and turn it into the dal.
Serve hot with chapatis/rice and a plain vegetable dish on the side.
 Never made dal before, wondering how to wash it well? Take the dals together in a pot, add water, move the dal around with your fingers. You’ll see the water turn whitish. Drain it out carefully. Repeat till the water in the dal remains clear. Depending on the type of dal this could take 5-6 cycles.
 The first whistle on high flame, the following on low flame.