Little could be faster or simpler than this tasty, filling and easily digestible Toor Dal and Spinach, an elegantly flavoured thick paste of protein-rich pulses and mineral-rich greens that makes a complete light meal when served on a bed of hot rice. Toor or toovar dal has a warm earthy taste and satisfyingly meaty texture that complements simple spice and vegetable additions, and is easily available in any Indian grocer along with the other ingredients in this dish. Nevertheless, split yellow peas may be substituted in a pinch, and a couple of crushed garlic cloves may be added at the same time as the ginger to replace the asafoetida if you don't have it on hand.
Toor Dal Palak (Toor Dal & Spinach)Also recommended from Lisa's Kitchen:
2/3 cup toor dal
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 pound spinach, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon ghee or a mix of butter and olive oil
1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 dried whole red chilies
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Thoroughly rinse the toor dal by scrubbing the pulses under running water. Place in a medium saucepan or wok and soak for 2-3 hours in 2 cups of water. Add the turmeric and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, partially covered, until the dal is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the spinach, replace the lid to partially covered, and continue to cook until the spinach is cooked and most of the liquid is gone. Turn off the heat and let the dal and spinach sit.
Heat the ghee or butter and olive oil mixture over medium heat in a frying pan. Toss in the chilies and ginger and fry, stirring frequently, until the ginger just begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, then add the asafoetida, stir once, and pour the seasonings into the dal and spinach. Stir in the lemon juice and salt.
Serve hot or warm on a bed of white rice. Serves 2 to 4.
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