This healthy and nutritious Yellow Dal Palak Tadka is such a healthy, tasty and nutritious vegan recipe loaded with protein and chockful of nutrients like – Vitamin A, zinc and fiber. Enjoy with some steamed rice or naan bread or just as a bowl of soup.
So, what is Dal Tadka?
Dal Tadka, is this comforting and extremely satisfying Indian dish made with split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) aka yellow dal and tempered (tadka) with tomatoes, cumin and bit of garam powder masala. Dal Tadka is best enjoyed with a steaming bow of rice or with some ghee slathered naan.
I love dal. My mom always used to say that – she can never feed enough dal to me and my dad. 😛 Being a lover of simple homecooked food, give me some rice and dal any day and I would need nothing fancy. I guess the desi girl in me will always be like that. Plus, what’s not to love about a hot and fresh bowl of dal, right?
I make Dal Tadka almost every week. Its a staple item in my kitchen. I make Dal Tadka with all kind of lentils out there, starting from Moong Dal to Toor dal. In this Dal Tadka with Palak recipe, I added lots of chopped spinach to make it a healthier version of the traditional Dal Tadka recipe.
In this recipe of Dal Palak or Moong dal with spinach, I have used Toor dal/yellow dal/split yellow pigeon peas. You can easily get Toor Dal/split yellow pigeon peas in your local Indian stores. Actually, almost all the leading grocery stores also carry toor dal in their shelves. I also used two big tomatoes to make this recipe yummy and a bit tangy. You can reduce the amount of tomatoes if you like. Personally, I like using tomatoes in my Dals to get that tangy taste. In summer, I always make Lentil Soup (Dal) with Green Mango
This Dal Palak Tadka recipe has no onion, garlic either.
One of the main questions
How to cook dal?
Dal is such a versatile legume. Its a whole food. Once you learn how to make dal, you can temper it the the way you want. The best part is, it can be an one pot wholesome dish. Cooking Dal can be a little intimidating for many who are not familiar with lentils that much. But trust me, its not hard at all. You can make the dal either in pressure cooker or Insta Pot. Here are the two methods –
How to cook Dal in Pressure Cooker
Step 1 – Rinse and soak dal for 30 minutes
Step 2 – Put the drained dal to a pressure cooker. Add turmeric and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and pressure cook the dal with about 2 cups of water, for 2 whistles on high heat. Then lower the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes.
Step 3 – Switch off the heat and set the cooker aside. Once the cooker depressurizes, open the lid and mash the dal with the back of a spoon for a smooth consistency. You may leave it as it is if you prefer it that way.
How to cook dal in Insta Pot
Step 1 – Heat oil in the instant pot. Then add cumin seeds, hing, asafoetida, turmeric and salt. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Step 2 – Add toor dal and water. No need to soak the dal for this recipe.
How to Cook Dal on Stove Top
Yes, you can make toor or masoor or moong dal without a pressure cooker or an insta pot. You can simply cook it in a cooking vessel for around half an hour, and it should be good to be used for further tempering or seasoning.
Step 1 – Rinse and soak the lentils for couple of hours.
Step 2 – Add the soaked lentils and enough water to a pot. Bring to a boil, decrease heat to a simmer and cook until the dal are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Ingredients used in Dal Palak Tadka
- Lentils: I’ve used toor/tuvar/arhar dal. Masoor or Moong dal work great in this recipe too. I buy dal from Costco these days. Not only Costco but also many grocery stores carry Toor, Masoor and moong dals.
- Spinach/palak greens: I’ve used baby spinach in this recipe, you could use regular spinach as well.
- Spices: Turmeric, Garam Masala Powder, Hing and Cumin seeds. These are staple Indian spices.
- Fresh tomatoes: I have used two medium sized tomatoes. You can use more or less as per your taste.
- Oil: I’ve kept it vegan by using oil. But feel free to use ghee instead. Or, you can add a bit of ghee and some lemon juice before serving.
Steps to make Dal Tadka
Step 1: Rinse and Boil the Toor/Yellow Dal
Rinse 1/2 cup of toor dal well under running water until the water runs clear. Add about 3 cups of water and pressure cook the dal for 30 minutes. (See notes above for stove to or insta pot preparations)
Step 2: Make the tempering for Yellow Dal
In a non stick pan, heat some oil/ghee. Add cumin, hing and chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium to low heat till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Add chili powder, turmeric and salt.
Add the chopped spinach into the tomato mixture and cook for 4/5 minutes.
Step 3: Temper the Yellow Dal with Spinach Tadka
Add the spinach tadka into the boiled dal. Cook on low heat for couple of minutes. Finish off with chopped cilantro and a tea spoon of garam masala.
Other Vegetables: Dal is such a versatile dish. You can add anything and everything to it and make it tasty and wholesome. I have tried using pumpkin, bottle gourd, potatoes and other vegetables with dal.
Other Greens: You dont have to limit yourself to just palak or spinach. Go for seasonal veggies like kale or other greens.
Other types of Dal/legume/pulses: Again, in this recipe I have used the toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas), but this recipe goes really well with moong dal (split green gram) or masoor dal (indian red lentils).
Ghee: Ghee takes the taste to a whole different level. 🙂
How to Store and Serve Dal Palak Tadka
Refrigerator – Dal palak tadka can stay in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days. If you make a big pot,reheat only the portion you want to eat.
Freezer – If you want to freeze it, portion into airtight containers and pop in the freezer. When ready to eat, just thaw first for 30 minutes. Then, heat on stove top or microwave until its piping hot, and enjoy! It saves for up to 6 months!
Enjoy this yellow dal tadka with either rice, roti, naan or even as a bowl of soup.
Tips and Tricks
- To make this dal palak tadka recipe spicy, add some chili powder.
- Store any leftover dal in any airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave for 1-2 minutes or heat in a sauce pan
- this is a vegan recipe. But if you aren’t vegan, I recommend using some ghee – this will define the taste more.
- You don’t need to soak the lentils beforehand if you’re going to use insta pot or pressure cooker.
- Use a bit of crushed ginger while cooking the dal base. Ginger makes the dal taste better.
Dal Palak Tadka Recipe
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 cup Toor/Arhar dal
- 2 Tomatoes
- 2 cups Chopped Spinach
- 4 cups Water
- 4 tbsp Olive oil/Avocado oil/Ghee
- 2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 2 Green chilies
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Hing powder
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- Wash the dal 4 or 5 times till you see the water runs clean
- In the pressure cooker add the dal, water, 1 tea spoon of turmeric and salt.
- Cook for 2 whistles (in pressure cooker) in med heat. When the pressure releases naturally, stir the dal a few times and keep it aside.
- Heat a non stick pan with olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and chopped chili, tomatoes, hing and salt.
- Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat till the tomatoes get all mushy and the mixture comes together.
- Add the washed and chopped spinach into the tempering and turn off gas.
- You don't need to cook the spinach. It will wilt naturally. Add this spinach tempering to the boiled dal. Mix well and add some garam masala
- Before serving the dal, you can squeeze in some lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro.