Dal palak recipe Pakistani is one of the most soul-satisfying plant-based meals that is delicious, wholesome, and full of nutrients.
This daal saag recipe Pakistani is beautifully rich in color and a comforting meal to make in just 20 minutes.
What Is Dal Palak?
Dal palak, also known as spinach dal, is a nutritious and versatile Indian curry cherished across different regions of India.
Each family has their unique version of this common dish, traditionally made with toor dal (or split skinned pigeon peas), fresh spinach, spices, and herbs.
The preparation often involves pressure cooking the lentils with onions, tomatoes, and chopped spinach, followed by a process known as tempering.
The secret to a perfect dal palak recipe lies in the cooking technique. Overcooking the spinach can dramatically alter its flavor and texture. Hence, adding the spinach once the lentils are soft cooked helps retain its delicate flavor and buttery taste.
This dish, rooted in tradition, brings a heartwarming and homely flavor to any meal, reflecting the diversity and richness of palak in Indian cuisine.
Why You Will Love This Dal Palak Recipe?
The beauty of dal palak lies in its simplicity and robust flavors. Unlike other dal recipes like toor dal, dal tadka, or dal fry which often require an extensive list of ingredients, this recipe is made with minimal spices yet is packed with flavors.
It’s super delicious and remarkably quick to make; you can have it ready in just 20 minutes. What’s more, dal palak is meal prep friendly.
You can prepare a big batch and either pack it in your lunch box with some plain basmati rice in a separate container or freeze it for later. This makes it an ideal choice for busy weekdays or when you need a comforting meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
Dal Palak Recipe Pakistani
- 1 ½ cups red lentil or yellow split peas (or combination of both)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 big tomato cut into 6-8 wedges
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Spinach leaves about 4 cups
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups of water
- ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
- 2 teaspoons butter (optional)
- To make dal palak Pakistani recipe, take olive oil in a pressure cooker and cook it over medium heat. Stir in chopped onions once the oil is hot and cook until they become softer and semi-transparent.
- Put in garlic and cook for a minute until aromatic. Turn off the heat, add turmeric, cayenne, coriander, and cumin and stir well to mix.
- Add water, lentils, tomatoes, and salt and mix into the onion mixture. Cover the instant pot with lid, press the manual button, and adjust the cooking time to 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, turn off the warming mode by pressing the cancel button and wait for 10 minutes before opening the valve to discharge pressure.
- Remove the tomato skin and whisk together the lentils to blend, and mash the tomatoes.
- Stir in Pakistani spinach recipe with cilantro and butter if needed. Stir to mix, and the remaining heat will droop the spinach quickly.
- Top dal palak recipe Pakistani with yogurt and cilantro and serve with naan, roti, or over brown rice.
Expert Tips For The Best Dal Palak Recipe Pakistani
For the best texture in dal palak, use tender spinach stems if they’re available. If the leaves are large and the stems are fibrous and dense, opt to use only the leaves.
2. Frozen Spinach
When fresh spinach is not available, especially off season, frozen spinach is a great alternative. Make sure to thaw and squeeze out the excess water before using it in your recipes.
3. Other Leafy Greens
In addition to spinach leaves, try adding fresh fenugreek leaves (methi), fresh amaranth leaves (chaulai), or kale for a twist on the traditional dal palak recipe pakistani.
For dal palak, you can experiment with different lentils like moong lentils, red lentils, or chana dal. Remember to soak chana dal in water for about 30 minutes before pressure cooking for the best results.
5. Cooking Lentils
Always choose fresh lentils that are within their shelf period as aged or old lentils can increase cooking time. If your lentils are undercooked, simply add more water and continue to pressure cook until done well.
The choice of fats can significantly impact the flavor of dal palak. While ghee (clarified butter) adds an authentic flavor, a neutral tasting oil can be used for a lighter version.
To adjust the flavor, increase green chilies and red chili powder for a spicy dal, or decrease these spices for a milder version. A bit of lemon juice adds a refreshing tang.
The consistency of dal palak can be altered to your preference by adding less or more water once it’s cooked. Make it thin or thick as per your liking.
Storage Instructions For Palak Dal Recipe Pakistani
- Dal palak can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Use an airtight container to maintain freshness.
- The dish thickens as it cools down. If you have extra spinach dal and are planning to store it for later, keep the consistency a bit thinner to prevent it from thickening up too much.
- You can freeze dal palak for up to 3 months. When defrosting and reheating, note that the texture may become mushier, but the flavor remains good.
- To reheat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then warm it in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a splash of water if it has thickened considerably as it sits.
Variations Of This Daal Recipe Pakistani
Variations of pakistani dal recipe offer exciting twists to the traditional dish, catering to diverse palates and dietary preferences.
- Dry version (sabzi): For a different take, try the spinach dal as a semi-dry sabzi. Simply skip adding water and adjust the consistency as needed. A drizzle of lemon juice mixed in before serving enhances the flavor.
- South Indian version: Known as Palakura pappu in Andhra Pradesh and paruppu keerai masiyal in Tamil Nadu, this dal uses tempering of ghee, mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, garlic cloves, dry red chilies, and curry leaves for a distinct regional flavor.
- Prefer a garlicky dal?: Simply add thinly sliced garlic cloves in a second tempering for that extra punch.
- Pumpkin: Incorporate diced pumpkin cubes to create a unique pumpkin spinach dhal. Cook the pumpkin along with the dal in a pressure cooker for a hearty variation.
- Palak chana dal: Using chana dal, soaked for a few hours and pressure cooked on medium heat, offers a richer texture.
- Other lentils: Experiment with split moong dal, petite yellow lentils, or red lentils (split masoor dal) for palak moong dal or palak masoor dal recipe. Mixing and matching different lentils can provide a delightful variety.
- Other greens: Beyond spinach, try using greens like fenugreek (methi), kale, collard greens, moringa leaves, turnip greens, or beetroot greens for a nutritious twist.
Serving Ideas For Dal Saag Recipe
Serving pakistani daal recipe offers a variety of delightful options, each bringing out its unique flavors and textures, perfect for different meal settings.
- Moong dal palak truly shines when served piping hot alongside basmati steamed rice, brown rice, jeera rice, or even quinoa. The combination of the soft dal with these grains is both comforting and satisfying.
- For a lighter yet flavorful meal, pair spinach dal with mild-flavored pulao such as peas pulao or corn pulao. This pairing balances the flavors beautifully.
- Enjoy spinach dal with Indian bread like roti, paratha, phulka, or chapati. Add a side of kachumber salad or carrot sambharo for a complete and nutritious meal.
- Serve it as part of a traditional Indian thali. Accompany it with other sabzi dishes like aloo methi, aloo bhindi, aloo gobhi, along with rice, flatbread, yogurt or raita, pickle, and papad for a feast that celebrates variety and flavor.
- For a lighter option, transform chana dal palak recipe pakistani into a lentil soup or stew. This makes for a comforting light meal, particularly soothing during colder weather.
FAQs About Dal Pakistani Palak Recipe
1. Can I Make This Pakistani Spinach Recipe Without A Pressure Cooker?
Absolutely! If you don’t have a pressure cooker or instant pot, you can use a regular pot. Start by bringing the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook uncovered. Stir occasionally until the lentils become soft and mushy. Be mindful that it might get thick, so soaking the lentils beforehand can reduce the cooking time.
2. Is This Palak Mix Dal Recipe Pakistani Gluten-Free?
This depends on the type of hing (asafoetida) used in the recipe. While pure asafoetida is gluten-free, most commercially available compounded hing is mixed with flour or rice flour. Always check the label of the container to ensure it’s pure and suitable for a gluten-free diet.
3. Can I Make A Vegan Version?
Yes, creating a vegan version of this daal saag recipe is straightforward. Simply swap the ghee with a plant-based oil to adapt it to a vegan diet.
4. Can I Cook The Rice Along With The Dal In The Instant Pot Using The Pot-In-Pot (PIP) Method?
Definitely! Cooking dal and white rice together in an instant pot using the Pot-in-pot (PIP) method is a great time-saving method. Place a trivet in the pot, and then put rinsed rice, water, a pinch of salt, and a stainless steel container on top. Follow the usual pressure cooking instructions.
5. Can I Use Frozen Spinach Instead Of Fresh?
Yes, you can use frozen spinach as a substitute. Just make sure to defrost it and squeeze out any excess water before adding it to the dish.
6. How Many Calories In A Bowl Of Chana Dal Palak Recipe?
A bowl of palak chana dal typically contains a balanced mix of calories derived from carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
7. Is Palak Dal Good For You?
Dal palak is renowned for its nutritional values and health benefits. It’s a perfect combination of lentils and vegetables, offering a healthy balance to your diet. It’s rich in greens and protein, making it an incredibly flavorful dal that’s beneficial for your health.
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