Spinach cooked with Moong Dal.

Spinach cooked with Moong Dal.

When most people think of spinach as a vegetable they think of a it in some pureed form with cottage cheese (paneer) or potatoes. Spinach can be added to chapatis and poori dough, batter fried or pan fried as a savoury, added to potato and turned into a cutlet or cooked with dal, as in this case. Raw spinach has a mild, sweet taste that can be refreshing when used in a salad. Its flavour becomes more acidic and robust when it is cooked. When pureeing it, always give it a light run in the mixture or else it tends to turn bitter.

This dish relies as much on the onions as it does on the spinach and dal. Do not reduce the quantity of onions as they provide a base and a bulk to the dish besides adding to a nice sweetness. Onions can be the Cinderella in your dish. Its strong pungent taste is transformed into a sweet flavourful component to any dish.  

Spinach – one large bunch

Moong Dal – one handful, soaked in water for two hours

Onions – two very large or four medium, and minced finely

Tomatoes – two very large or four medium, chopped finely

Green chillies – three to four

Garlic – four cloves

Turmeric – ¼ teaspoon

Jeera /cumin seeds– ½ teaspoon

Oil and salt as required

 Wash the spinach and slice it fine. Soak the split moong dal for two hours and drain and set aside. In hot oil add the cumin and fry for a minute. Now add the green chillies and garlic followed by the onions. When the onions are translucent add the tomatoes and allow this mixture to be rendered down. This will take about four minutes. Now add the turmeric and the dal and half a cup of water. Season with salt. Allow the dal to cook in the water till the water dries up. Make sure you don’t over cook the dal, it should have a bite to it.

Now add the finely sliced spinach and stir it all in for a minute. Spinach does not need to be overcooked. It will continue cooking in the heat of the dish. Turn of the gas and cover with a lid.

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