Rajasthani Palak Dal (Garlic-Spiced Spinach and Lentil Dal)

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5 min


45 min



Rajasthani Palak Dal (Garlic-Spiced Spinach and Lentil Dal)

Photography by Erik Putz; Food styling by Ryan Barclay; Prop styling by Madeleine Johari

This creamy dal from the northwest of India is lightly spiced with cumin, turmeric and garlic, with the addition of fresh spinach.


  • 1 1/3 cups moong dal , (husked and halved yellow mung beans)
  • 7 3/4 cups water , divided
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) , or sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
  • 1 green bird's-eye chili , slit lengthwise, salt to taste
  • 100 g spinach , washed and chopped, juice of 1 lemon


  1. Put the moong dal, 3 3/4 cups water and turmeric in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, half-cover and simmer for 30 min until the dal starts to get mushy, stirring a few times while it’s cooking. Turn off the heat, mash lightly.
  2. Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until they begin to sputter. Add the garlic and chili and fry for a few seconds, moving them around in the pan to make sure they don’t burn. Reduce the heat to low, then add the cooked moong dal, a little at a time, and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Season with salt to taste and add remaining 4 cups water. Cover and simmer over low heat for 4 min. Add the spinach and continue to simmer for a further 4 min, with the lid on. Add the lemon juice and stir.
  4. Turn off the heat, remove chili (optional) and serve warm. This can be eaten with chapati flatbreads or rice.