Dal Palak or Spinach Dal (dahl) is a classic, satisfying, healthy, wholesome, and simple to make Indian lentil preparation that is very flavorful and delicious.
This nourishing proteins and fiber-packed North Indian dish Dal Palak is prepared using lentils, spinach leaves, and basic onion tomato masala. Dal Palak can be served with plain steamed rice, , , , or any other of your choice.
About Dal Palak Recipe
Dal Palak, or Palak Dal is one of the popular Indian lentil recipes made by combining the goodness of lentils and fresh spinach leaves — this easy-to-make proteins and fiber-rich dal palak is sure to satiate your tummy and nourish your soul.
Dal Palak or Indian Lentil & Spinach Curry makes a quick and fuss-free weeknight meal when you don’t have much time to cook and you still want to eat something satisfying and delicious. The only time-taking thing here would be slicing spinach and chopping other veggies.
To speed up the cooking process, chop the ingredients in advance and then this dal palak dish will be ready in no time. It is a staple in many Indian homes due to its health benefits and nutrients.
Plus, Dal Palak is one of such forms of Indian dals that is super healthy and tastes super delicious that even kids would love relishing it without turning their nose up and raising eyebrows. The second tempering of , cumin seeds, onions, and garlic magnifies the aroma and flavor of this by taking it to the next level.
On this page, you will get a step-by-step picture recipe and a video tutorial on how to make Dal Palak (Spinach Dal).
What is Dal Palak?
Dal Palak (Palak Dal) or Spinach Dal is a very nutritious, delicious, and comfy Indian lentils soup made with goodness of lentils, spinach leaves, and a spicy onion-tomato and ginger-garlic masala.
In this Dal Palak recipe, Dal = Lentils & Palak = Spinach.
Lentils (Dals) are an essential part of Indian cuisine. They are not only used to make lentils stew or soups, but they are also widely used in popular desserts and snacks. Here are some lentils (dal) based desserts and snacks you may want to try: Moong Dal Halwa Recipe, Moong Dal Dhokla, Moong Dal Toast, Khasta Moong Dal Kachori, Chana Dal Namkeen, and Moong Dal namkeen.
Dal is such a versatile dish, and there are many ways you can make a simple dal. You can make an everyday homestyle dal such as , , , or you can make rich and creamy exotic get-together or potluck worthy dals such as .
When you talk about spinach, it is also widely used in many gratifying Indian recipes. There is a variety of Indian dishes made with palak that would make you love this leafy green vegetable a bit more. Some awesome palak recipes to try are , , , , , , or .
Lentils (dal) and spinach (palak) go so well together. It is one of such recipes which is prepared at every Indian household with their own variations. Below are some variants of Dal Palak.
- Dal Palak Tadka:
Some people like to make tadka dal where boiled dal is cooked with onion tomato masala. Then this hot dal is tempered with freshly made onion garlic and chili tempering.
- Mixed Dal Palak:
Here a mix of lentils is cooked with blanched spinach (palak), onion, tomato, and seasonings.
- Moong Dal Palak:
In this recipe, yellow or green split moong dal is cooked spinach, and then it is mixed with onion tomato masala.
- Hing Dal Palak:
Here you can choose any dal of your choice and cook it with spinach leaves, salt, turmeric powder, and garam masala powder. Then this cooked Dal is tempered either with cumin seeds asafoetida and red chili powder. Or, it is tempered with cumin seeds, green chili, and garlic tempering.
In this recipe, I am showing you how to make Dal Palak tadka with a lentils mix. It tastes exactly like the Dal Palak you get at the Indian restaurants.
What are the features of Dal Palak?
This Dal Palak/Spinach Dal …
✔ is loaded with spinach and lentils goodness
✔ is simple and easy to make
✔ is a comforting, and hearty dish that tastes super delightful
✔ is vegetarian & gluten-free and can also be made vegan
✔ is also suitable for plant-based diets when made without ghee
✔ made with basic ingredients
✔ is so full of different textures and flavors
✔ is great for weeknight/weekend meals
✔ is creamy and rich
✔ is ready in under 30 minutes
What Dal is used for making Dal Palak?
Dal Palak recipe can be made either with one lentil or with a mix of lentils. I like to make mix dal palak because it is loaded with more nutrients and has a nice texture and taste.
Below are Dal options to make Dal Palak.
Option 1: Dhuli Moong Dal (Split Green Gram), Or Moong Dal Chilka (Skinned Split Green Gram)
Option 2: Whole Moong
Option 3: Toor/tuvar Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) + Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)
At my home, I make the Dal Palak recipe with all the options given above and they all taste very exotic and flavorful. **I chose the Option 5 in this recipe post. **
What are the variations of This Dal Palak Recipe?
Spinach (palak) can be replaced with other greens such as Swiss chard, fenugreek, kale, turnip greens, or collard greens.
You can also add vegetables like butternut squash, cabbage, pumpkin, mushrooms, broccoli to this Dal Palak recipe.
What are the ingredients used for making Dal Palak?
Dal Palak is made with some basic ingredients which can easily be found at any Asian grocery store. Below are the ingredients you will need to make this aromatic Indian Dal Palak:
I have used a combination of toor dal, chana, masoor dal, and moong dal.
- Spinach (palak):
I’ve used freshly sliced and blanched spinach in this recipe. You can also use frozen spinach here. You can also swap regular spinach with baby spinach.
I have used chopped yellow onions to the onion tomato masala, and sliced onions to the tempering recipe. Shallots can also be used here.
I have added freshly chopped tomatoes to this dal palak recipe.
- Ginger & Garlic:
I added chopped ginger and chopped garlic to the masala, and sliced garlic cloves to the second tempering.
- Whole Spices:
I have used cumin seeds and dried red chilies in this dal palak recipe.
- Powdered Spices:
Some basic spices like red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, gluten-free asafoetida, and salt are added.
- Oil & Ghee:
Oil is used for onion tomato masala, and ghee is used for the second tempering here. You can swap ghee with oil to make it vegan.
- Lemon juice, coriander leaves, and green chili.
How to make Vegan Dal Palak?
This recipe is almost vegan because it uses ghee in second tempering (tadka). To make it entirely vegan, swap ghee with vegan butter or vegetable cooking oil.
How to make No Onion No Garlic Version of Dal Palak?
Dal Palak is an easy recipe that can be made with or without onion and garlic. It would come out super delicious no matter how you choose to make it.
To make No Onion No Garlic Version of Dal Palak, remove onion and ginger from the ingredients list and follow the same recipe.
Can I freeze Dal Palak?
Yes, this Dal Palak (Spinach Dal) recipe is totally freezable. You can freeze the leftover dal in a freezer-safe
container for up to 1 month. Just thaw frozen Dal at room temperature before serving and then heat it up. To spruce up the seasoning, add some garam masala and fresh coriander leaves to Dal Palak (Spinach Dal).
How to serve Dal Palak ?
How to make Dal Palak?
This is an easy and simple lentils dish which can be made in 6 simple steps. Following are the 6 steps needed for cooking dal palak:
Slice and blanch spinach. Keep it aside.
Boil soaked lentils with salt and turmeric until soft and mushy. Add hot water to adjust the consistency.
Make onion tomato masala by sautéing onions, tomatoes, green chili, ginger, garlic, and powdered spices in hot oil. Add blanched spinach and cook.
Add cooked dal to onion tomato masala. Mix well. Add lemon juice and garam masala powder and mix again. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
Make second tempering by sautéing onion, garlic, dried green chili, and red chili powder in hot oil.
Pour hot tadka over hot dal palak. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve it as a stew or curry to relish with rice or flatbreads.
For a full list of Dal Palak Recipe ingredients and step-by-step photo and video instructions, please see the recipe box on this page.
How to make Dal Palak without a pressure cooker?
If you do not have a pressure cooker, then you can cook Dals in a stove-top pot like a thick-bottomed dutch oven. You might need to increase the water when cooking in a stove-top pot. The water you are adding should at least be 2 inches above the lentils.
To cook dal in a stove-top pot, bring the dals and water mix to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the dals are tender and mushy. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent Dals from sticking to the bottom. Then follow the same recipe.
What are Pro tips and variations to make the best Dal Palak?
Tip 1. In this recipe, I used Serrano Chilies which are not hot. They enhance the flavor and taste of the dal without making it spicy or hot. If you want hot green chilies, then feel free to use any variety of green chili in this recipe.
Tip 2. Adjust the spice levels by reducing or increasing the green chilies and red chili powder.
Tip 3. You can reduce or increase the amount of spinach in this recipe.
Tip 4. The ratio of dals (lentils) should be 1:1.
Tip 5. You can add more or less spinach.
Tip 6. I added garlic and onions to the second tadka. But you can also use only garlic for a distinct garlic aroma.
Tip 7. If you want to make a home-style dal, then you can skip the second tempering. This dal would still be creamy and taste delectable.
Tip 8. I added regular red chili powder to this recipe. You can also swap it with cayenne pepper.
Tip 9. When blanching spinach, make sure to reserve the nutrient-rich water to cook dal.
Tip 10. To make this Dal Palak dish kid-friendly, remove the red chili powder from the recipe.
Tip 11. I have added blanched spinach to the cooked dal because that way spinach retains its color and flavoring. If you don’t want to blanch the spinach, then you can either boil it with the Dals or add them raw to onion tomato masala along with spices. Then cook it until soft.
Dal Palak - Spinach Dal (Step-by-step photo instructions)
Blanching spinach (palak):
- Stack all the spinach leaves, and slice them finely.
- Add 750 ml of boiling hot water to a pot.
- Now add all the sliced spinach leaves to the pot. Press the leaves with a spoon to immerse them in water.
- Cover the pot with the lid and let them blanch for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, uncover the pan and drain softened spinach leaves with a slotted spoon. Keep the leaves aside and reserve the spinach water. We will use this water for boiling dals.
Making Dal Palak;
- In a pressure cooker add all the soaked lentils along with salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and reserved spinach water. Stir it.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles over medium heat. Turn off the heat, and allow the pressure to depressurize naturally before opening the lid.
- Open the lid, and add hot water to adjust the consistency. Mix well until combined. You can also use a wired whisk to mash the dals if they are not creamy.
- Heat oil in a broad pan.
- Once hot, add cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds.
- Now, add chopped ginger, chopped garlic, and mix well. Sauté 2 minutes. Add pinch of asafoetida and mix well.
- After that, add the chopped onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add sliced green chilies and cook until onions turn translucent.
- Now add chopped tomatoes and mix well.
- Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes add 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon coriander powder.
- Mix everything well and cook until tomatoes are soft & mushy and the raw smell from spices is gone.
- Now, add the blanched spinach to the onion-tomato mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cooked dal to the onion tomato mixture and stir well until combined.
- Add garam masala powder and mix well. Let it come to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat and drizzle with a splash of lemon juice. Mix well.
How to make Instant Pot Dal Palak
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat ghee in it.
- Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, and asafoetida to it. Stir well and sauté 2 minutes.
- After that, add the chopped onions and green chilies and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes, and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, and salt to taste. Mix everything well and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
- chopped ginger, and chopped garlic to it.
- Now add rinsed and soaked dals to the pot. Mix well.
- Add 3 cups water and mix again.
- Cancel the SAUTE mode. Close the lid, and set the valve to sealing.
- Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 11 minutes.
- NPR (Natural pressure release). Once the pin drops, open the lid.
- Press the cancel button and then press the saute button. Mix well and mash dal lightly using the back of a spoon. At this point, you can add hot water to adjust the consistency.
- Add blanched spinach, 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder, and mix well.
- Cover the Instant Pot with a lid and let the dals cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Drizzle with lemon juice. Mix well, and cover the Instant Pot until you are ready to serve Dal.
Making second tempering (tadka):
- Heat ghee/oil in a frying pan.
- Once hot, add cumin seeds, sliced garlic, sliced onions, and dried red chilies.
- Sauté until they are golden.
- Now turn off the heat and add red chili powder. Mix well and sauté for a few seconds or until the raw smell from chili powder is gone completely.