Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lasooni Dal Palak | Spinach and Lentils Seasoned with Garlic

Today, let's chat about Proteins. People who eat non-vegetarian food get their proteins from the animal sources like fish, meat & egg. The sources of protein for vegetarians are pulses or legumes & a few vegetables. That is the reason, I suppose, dal plays such an important role in Indian cooking. Any dish, which contains both legume and grain, is a complete source of protein. Our ancestors have done an excellent job by carefully selecting ingredients that go into making any dish in such a way that the nutritional value of the dish rises up always. Kudos to them !!!

I cook leafy vegetables at least 2-3 times a week. I try to explore simple, tasty & healthier curry recipes. I don’t like adding cardamoms, cinnamon & whole lot of spices in everyday food. I like it to be simple. Given a chance, I even avoid garlic & onions. As ayurveda suggests, garlic, onions & few other vegetables increase the “khrodha, kama & other harmful feelings inside the body”. Hence, it is advised to limit the usage of such vegetables to toddlers, young children & adolescent youth. I strongly believe in them & try to avoid them as much as possible. I suggest everybody cooking for young children to avoid such vegetables once a while to keep them calm & focused.

Now, don’t think I have gone nuts. I’m asking you to avoid them & myself preparing dal with loads of garlic. Isn’t it like “do what I say & don’t do what I do”? Note that garlic has umpteen health benefits too. One should not forget that. I feel, we need to know the chemistry of a vegetable to reap the benefits from them. For older people or middle aged people, it works like magic in reducing the bad cholesterol & safe guards the heart. Now that, we know both the advantages & disadvantages of garlic, we can decide when to use them & when not??Am I right?
Was I clear or did I confuse you guys more? Before I confuse you completely let me come back to..err…., Lasooni Dal Palak.

Lasooni Dal Palak is an amazing dish that can be served with either rice or rotis. I got two lasooni dal palak recipes while browsing. One was from One Hot Stove of Nupur ((I mostly followed her)& other from SaffronTrail. I used some ingredients & some nice points from both the recipes & created my own!!. Believe me, it tasted fantabulous. Ever since I prepared this, I have been crazy about it & these days whenever I buy palak, it is only lasooni dal palak at our home until my family complain about it ;)

  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 1 cup masoor dal
  • 3 pods garlic, sliced
  • 1 pod garlic minced
  • 1 medium sized onion sliced
  • 1 tomato chopped finely or ½ cup tomato puree
  • 2 cups finely chopped spinach/palak (I used frozen palak).
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder/paprika
  • 1 tbsp ghee/oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera/jeerige
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt according to taste

  • Mix both the dals & wash them in running water two or three times.
  • Add 1 cup water, chopped green chilli & turmeric to the washed dal. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • Allow the dal to cool. Meantime, fry the sliced garlic pods in ghee until golden brown. Remove them & drain them on absorbent paper.
  • Prepare the tempering/tadka by using the same ghee (used for frying the garlic). When ghee is hot, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds splutter add minced garlic & onions. Sauté till onion turns golden brown.
  • Add the finely chopped spinach/palak, red chilli powder & cook the spinach for 3-4minutes. Follow spinach by finely chopped tomatoes & cook the tomatoes for 2-3minutes.
  • Mash the cooked dal gently & pour it to the pan. Add ½ cup of water, salt & mix well. Boil the dal for 3-5minutes on a slow flame.
  • Turn off the flame, add lemon juice. Mix well. Garnish it with the fried garlic & serve it hot with rice or rotis.