Toor Dal Tadka with Spinach

6 Feb

On regular days my simple 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 tadka with spinach.

Spinach Toor Dal You Need:

  • Toor dal – 3/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Salt – to taste
  • Spinach – 1 bunch
  • Garlic – 5 small cloves, crushed
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch, crushed
  • Green chilies – 2, slit vertically
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilies – 2

How To Make Toor Dal Tadka with Spinach:

Wash and soak the dal in three cups of water for an hour. Drain.

How to wash dal: Place the dal in a pot. Add water (about twice the quantity of dal) to the pot, move the dal around with your fingers. You’ll see the water turn cloudy. Drain the water out carefully, retaining all of the dal in the pot. Repeat till you find that the water being used to wash the dal remains clear. Depending on the type of dal this could take 5-6 cycles of wash & drain.

Boil the dal till well-cooked. [If using an Indian-style pressure cooker, put the drained dal along with 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Close the lid and cook for 3-4 whistles: three whistles if you want the dal flakes to show, four whistles if you like the dal well-blended. Allow the cooker to cool and release pressure naturally.]

Chop the tomatoes. Wash and chop the spinach.

Spinach, Chopped

In a pan or kadhai, heat a teaspoon of oil. 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 toor dal tadka with spinach hot, chapatis/rice and a plain vegetable dish on the side.

Spinach Toor Dal

Meal below (clockwise from left): methi dahi, toor dal tadka with spinach, aloo stir-fry, garlic chili chutney, brown rice.

Toor Dal Tadka with Spinach


For a spinach-dominant variation in which the spinach is boiled along with the dal, try palak toor dal.

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