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


  • Prep Time5 mins
  • Total Time45 mins
  • Makes4 servings
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


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Turn off the heat, remove chili (optional) and serve warm. This can be eaten with chapati flatbreads or rice.