Sunday 14 December 2014

Spicy Spinach Dhal

Indian spinach is rich in vitamins C, A, K and B complex, dietary fiber and minerals especially calcium, iron and potassium. ‘Pasalai keerai’ (பசலைக் கீரை)  or Indian spinach has large dark green leaves with a thick red or greenish stalk. When you cook pasalai keerai, it gets sticky. Indian spinach can be used to make dhal, sambar and kootu. Spicy spinach dhal can be served with chappati and sabzi. It tastes great with rice and ghee as well.
Indian Spinach

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Toor dhal – ¾ tumbler or 150ml measure
Indian spinach – roughly chopped, 1½ teacup or 300ml measure
Onion – 1 no, finely chopped
Ginger – ½ inch piece, grated
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Red chilli powder – ¾-1 teaspoon
Jaggery – ½ teaspoon (optional)
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds/somf – 1 teaspoon
Cardamom – 3no
Lemon – juice of half fruit

Method: Wash and pressure cook toor dhal with 2 tumblers (400ml) of water for 6-7 minutes (6-7 whistles). Once the pressure subsides, remove from the cooker and allow it to cool. Separate the leaves of Indian spinach; roughly chop them; wash 2-3 times and then drain. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. When they start to sputter, add jeera, fennel seeds and cardamom; sauté for a few seconds. Add chopped onion and fry till it starts to brown.  Now add spinach leaves, grated ginger and little water. Cover and cook on the low flame for 2 minutes. Spinach cooks very fast.

Spicy Spinach Dhal
Mash the dhal very well with a ladle or hand blender and add it to the cooked spinach. Mix turmeric powder and red chilli powder in ¼ teacup (50ml) of water and add the mixture to the dhal. Now add salt and jaggery and mix well. Once the dhal starts to boil reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for two minutes. Switch off the fire. Add in lemon juice and serve hot with chappati or roti. This dhal also goes well with rice and poriyal or pickle.

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