PALAK MOONG DAL / पालक वाली मूँग दाल – (Spinach Greens w/ Mung Beans)

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2019 was a remarkable year for EFS. My only resolution for 2019 was to share regular posts through the year and I could not have been happier about it since I actually manage to achieve success on that front. It is quite a feat for me since I have many times, in the past years, failed to do so, i.e. being regular with the posts. It will be nearly nine years, in March, when I first uploaded a post here and kick started a beautiful food journey where I happened to meet lovely people, came across beautiful blogs, and made some wonderful friends and even managed to meet a few, in person. Not only friends, this platform also brought me recognition in print and electronic media for which I am grateful to my creator. I sincerely cherish each and every experience of this food journey.

But now I am beginning to feel that I need to take it easy. Past couple of years have not been too rosy for my health. Apart from health, I am beginning to strongly feel the need to focus on other important elements of my life. Therefore, this year I may not be as regular with my posts here as I was the previous year. (I really hope my love for cooking never diminishes) I am beginning to notice that recently there have been instances when I cooked a dish but I was simply not in a frame of mind to compose, shoot, edit, prep a write-up and share it here coz it felt like too much work and demanded too much of my time. May be my priorities are beginning to change and somewhere deep down I know I need to embrace this change.

There are so many more recipes that I wish to share here. However, I intend go easy from this year on, therefore as of now, I can’t really say whether or not I will be able to stick to a regular ‘post schedule’ but I promise to try my best. So, here is the first post of the year 2020. To new beginnings!! 😊

One of the seasonal recipes that I had in mind, and which was slotted to be shared last year, was this dal that was made on regular basis at my mother’s house. This is as healthy as it can get, when it comes to having your greens and proteins. Mung beans cooked with spinach greens is not just a healthy Indian lentil preparation but one that is delicious! Actually, it is the tempering with ghee that does the trick and makes the flavors really pop. You can swap the spinach with your favorite greens such as bathua or methi (fenugeek greens) or kale. You may need to adjust the quantity since different greens have different bitterness scale. Some people like adding squash to it, but  my family does not it enjoy it that way. For our meal, I served this dal hot with rice, some Gajar Shalgam Gobhi Achar, kachumber (a mixed salad comprising chopped onions, tomatoes and cucumber and a squeeze of lemon and some black salt) and that quintessential drizzle of ghee. So good 🙂

½ C Sabut Moong Dal (Whole Green Mung Beans)

1 C finely chopped and packed, Paalak (Spinach)

Salt to taste

1/3 tsp Chili Powder

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

1 Tej Patta (Bay Leaf)

1 small Moti Elaichi (Black Cardamom)

Tadka / Chhounk (1st Tempering)

1 tbsp Oil (use more only if required)

½ tsp Jeera

A pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)

½ C finely chopped Onions

½ tsp finely chopped Garlic

½ tsp finely chopped Ginger

1 small Green Chili, finely chopped

1 medium Tomato (approx. 100 gm +/-), ground to paste in a grinder

1 tsp Coriander Power

½ tsp Garam Masala (adjust amount according to the strength of the garam masala)

2nd Tadka / Chhounk (2nd Tempering)

2 tsp Ghee

1 fat clove Garlic (adjust amount to taste), sliced or chopped (as preferred)

¼ tsp Kashmiri Lal Mirch (can be substituted with paprika)

Soak the dal for two hours in enough water.

Wash the spinach in enough water at least three to four times to get rid of any dirt / grit. Drain and place on a colander for excess water to drain out.

Drain water from the dal and add it to a pressure cooker (this can be cooked in an instant pot) Add washed and drained spinach and pour 400 to 450 ml of water. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, bay leaf and black cardamom.

Allow the contents to come to boil on high heat and then reduce heat and place lid on the pressure cooker. Reduce the heat to minimum and cook till two whistles escape. Switch off heat and allow the pressure to release on its own.

In a small pan, start making the first tempering by add oil. Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add cumin seeds.

Allow them to crackle and then add onions, ginger and garlic. Saute till the onions become golden brown.

Add tomato paste and cook till the tomatoes are cooked and the masala releases oil around the sides of the pan.

Add coriander powder and garam masala and saute for a few seconds. Pour the tempering into the dal and stir well.

Boil the dal till it has an even consistency and it is no longer watery (the dal and liquid should be well assimilated)

Adjust consistency by adding water if required. Keep in mind that this dal thickens, to quite an extent, upon cooling.

Decant the dal in the serving bowl and set side.

(Vegans can skip the second tempering or use coconut oil for it but the taste will not be as rich as is lent by the ghee)

For second tempering, heat ghee in a small pan and add garlic.

Fry the garlic till it turns golden brown in color.

Switch off the heat and stir in the Kashmiri Lal Mirch. It will cook in the residual heat.

Pour this tempering over the dal and serve hot with rice or roti. Enjoy!

Serves 3

Note – You can scatter over some finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander/ hara dhaniya), however, I usually skip that.

Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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5 Comments

  1. Stunning looking Palak Moong Dal. Sorry to hear about your poor health over the last few years. Here’s wishing you a year of good health now and always!

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