Indian cooking uses a variety of lentils to make all kinds of dishes. From spicy appetizer and entrees to sweet desserts. I will be posting quite a few lentil recipes in the coming weeks to show you the versatility of cooking with lentils but also the different types of lentils that are available and the amazing amount of recipes you can make. The lentil I have used for this recipe is mung dal which are yellow in color. They are also called split and hulled green lentils.
Spinach and dill is used to add to the lentil that has been cooked in spices. A big bunch of spinach should be used as it shrinks after cooking. I only use organic and fresh spinach from the University Avenue farmers market in Seattle. It is an awesome farmers market as they only carry local, organic and seasonal produce.
I also added a fresh bunch of dill to the recipe as it adds quite a bit of flavor to the dish. If you do not like the flavor of dill, it is okay to omit it from the recipe. But I think you should still make the recipe with it and taste it. Since different cuisines and recipes cook the same ingredient in very different ways, they tend to taste different.
This lentil recipe is excellent and is very nutritious and tasty. The dill gives it a refreshing taste and aroma to the dish. But if you do not like dill, it tastes good even without it. You can cut down the quantity of the dill if you like. See the section under Cooking Ingredients link on the left to get details on where you can buy good quality spices.
4 cups water
1/2 cup mung dal (split and hulled green lentils)
1 bunch of spinach chopped into small pieces (or 3-4 cups packed baby spinach)
1 bunch fresh dill chopped coarsely (1 – 1 1/2 cups dill)
1 medium tomato finely chopped
2 tablespoons of ghee (or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
3 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger
Wash mung dal 3-4 times under running water until water runs clear. Soak mung dal in 4 cups of water for 1/2 – 1 hour.
In a 1 quart saucepan, bring the mung dal and 4 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Take the dal off the heat and add turmeric to the dal. (Mung dal cooks really fast. Make sure you watch it and take it off the heat as soon as you see it starting to disintegrate.)
In a 4 quart saucepan, heat the ghee over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and stir fry for 20 – 30 seconds
Add coriander powder and fry for 20 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes along with the chili powder. Fry the tomatoes until well cooked approximately 5 minutes. Add the grated ginger along with the dal to the tomato mixture and stir well. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes
Fold in the spinach and dill to the dal and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add salt to taste.