Palak Daal Recipe

A palak daal recipe from Kasa's Anamika Khanna - a hearty pot of spinach, lentils, and spices. Kasa is a favorite Indian restaurant of mine here in San Francisco.

Palak Daal

Wayne and I regularly frequent a place called Kasa. It takes just about ten minutes to get there on foot. It's casual, fast, and I know exactly what I like - kati roll, paneer, unda-style with side of daal. The other day I was chatting with Anamika, one of the owners, and she mentioned that she was teaching a cooking class as part of a fund-raiser.

Palak Daal Recipe

I have to admit that I'm always checking the Kasa blog with the hope that Anamika will post some of her recipes. So when she mentioned she was going to be teaching palak daal - spinach and lentils, and then offered to email me her recipe, I was pretty excited. I'd take a cooking class with Anamika any day, and in the meantime, this was the next best thing.

Palak Daal Recipe

So, I'm excited to share my attempt at Anamika's daal - it's rich, filling, and nutritious. The fragrant spices filling the house were welcome (on yet another) rainy day. Thank you for sharing the recipe Anamika, big congratulations on your new location, and if you ever teach another class I hope to be first in line!

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Palak Daal

Spinach can be particularly muddy this time of year it seems. I fill the large bowl from my salad spinner with cold water, place the spinach in the basket the place it into the bowl of water. Swish the leaves around a bit to loosen any dirt. Drain and repeat. This usually does the trick. I use the same approach with kale and leeks as well. As far as peppers go, I used serrano chile peppers here, and used a pure red chile powder made from a mildly spicy red pepper, not cayenne in this case, I suspect that would be a bit on the too spicy side...but if that is all you have, adjust to what tastes good to you. I skipped the asafetida, but if you have it on hand, start with a pinch. Leftevers were delicious reheated with a generous splash of coconut milk. And lastly, if you are having trouble tracking down white urid daal / ivory lentils, feel free to experiment with other types of lentils.

1 cup / 6.5 oz / 185 g white urid or urad daal, picked over and rinsed

6 cups / 1.5 liters water, plus more if necessary
1/2 pound spinach, washed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 medium green chile peppers, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon pure red chile powder
a pinch of asafetida, optional
more salt to taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large pot over medium-high heat combine the daal and water. Bring to a boil, then add the spinach, ginger, turmeric, 3/4 of the green chiles, and all of the tomatoes. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the lentils are extremely soft. You may need to add a bit more water during the cooking process to keep the lentils soupy. After an hour and a half, stir in the salt.

In a separate pan, heat the butter and cumin and fry until the cumin seeds start to pop. Now add the red chile powder (and asafetida if you're using it) and fry for another 30 seconds. Taste and add more asafetida if you like. Add this butter mixture to the lentils and allow to cook for another five minutes. Taste, and season with more salt if needed. I also enjoyed a touch of lemon juice added at this point. Serve topped with the cilantro and the remaining green chiles.

Serves 4-6 with rice or roti.

Prep time: 20 minutes - Cook time: 120 minutes

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I made this two nights ago and ran into two issues. First, it ended up like soup, way too watery. I used golden lentils and it's possible they don't require as much liquid as the white lentils. To anyone not using the white, keep that in mind and add a little water at a time. Also, I kept the lid on during simmering. It might have been better off, well, off, so some of the water could evaporate. Second, watch out for the red pepper in the butter, it can burn very quickly. Thankfully I realized this before adding to the pot of lentils and tossed it out and easily made a new butter mixture. It tasted great, but the consistency was just all wrong.


Re: asafoetida.. I cook Indian/Paki/Bengladeshi cuisine quite a bit and find that if I am out of asafoetida/hing powder, it just doesn't QUITE taste right. It doesn't take much, and yes, it's QUITE a pungent and unique smell, but I think it's a crucial balancing taste in a great many curry style dishes. If you have an Indian/Paki market near, stop off and buy a small container. It will likely be compounded with gum arabic, but it's still better than nothing! I special order mine so I have the unadulterated powder for my recipes. Definitely worth the effort!

Stephen J

I have an Indian cookbook which has a recipe almost identical to this but it is served with fried onion rings on top. This seems like a good substitute for asafetida which is kind of onion-y. This is truly delicious. I served it with naan and cauliflower done also Indian-style. Serrano peppers and New Mexico red chile powder worked great. Could eat this every day. One billion Indians can't be wrong about dal.........


I made the switch to vegan this month and this is my new favorite comfort food (I subbed olive oil for the butter). Thanks Heidi!


I made this recipe with a yellow lentil. It was great!


this is so classic. love it. i like using moong dal as a sub in this sort of recipe - cooks in 30 minutes. very nice and comforting in wintertime.


So good! I used red lentils instead which cooked really fast, and then I had to boil the liquid down to the right consistency. Really yummy though and I loved the flavours of the spices that were added in later. I kept coming across little cumin seeds that burst with flavour when I bit into one. I had it with brown and wild rice. Then the next day reheated with a dollop of fresh home made yogurt. I live in South East Asia so I can get these ingredients so easily.


This looks really delicious. I'm inspired and can't wait to try this. Thanks for sharing!


Unbelievably fabulous! I made it last night when it was sooo cold and snowy. Perfect for a cold day. I used only 1 jalepeno and it was plenty spicy. Used NM red chili as well. Thanks for finding this recipe Heidi!

On a limb with Claudia

I made this and served it with brown rice and chicken I marinated in plain yogurt, lemon juice and Indian type spices. It was delicious and i would definitely make it again. I could not find the asafetida but will try again to find it. I'm so curious. I did use frozen spinach because I swam that night and it was late. All good. Thanks for another great recipe.


MMM, I love anything with the word 'palak' in it. Especially paneer palak! Yum.Made one of your recipes from the book the other day and am still loving every bit of the book.

Sweets at Vicky's

Hi Heidi! I made this over the weekend and it tasted delicious! It was a lot more soupy, though, than your photograph. Could I add less water next time? I was thinking 1-2 cups less. I served it over coconut rice spiced w/ turmeric, and it was a perfect match!


i'm such an incredibly huge fan of your recipes -- thanks so much for them! when i gave this one a shot though, i ended up with a large pot of watery mush. should i have been simmering the daal uncovered? thanks again!!!


This is my first comment ever,and I have out done myself cooking this Dhal recipe.It is sooo authentic.I have tried many recipes for this,but you have it goin' on with this one. Thank you Heidi!!


We didn't have the green chile, so we used a small piece of habanero... We'll use the green chile next time because we were stingy on the habanero, and it wasn't as spicy as we expected. That said, though, REALLY good recipe. The dish is creamy and warm tasting, and we used ghee instead of butter at the end. Served with steamed rice and naan. Might not be ordering in Indian so often anymore! Thanks for sharing.


I made this last night and was very pleased with it, even though it broke some of the 'rules' I have become familiar with, such as adding spinach towards the end of the cooking time. However I don't think you'd get the consistency you are looking for if you waited to add it. I love the addition of lemon, it just gives it a tang that I enjoy. I topped it with a bit of yogurt and ate it with pita bread, as I had no naan or roti on hand. It was also delicious warmed over for lunch today!


this is great! Just dont accidentally the whole thing :)

Eric Faelston

Hello Heidi.. it was so exciting to read this post - it's not common to see Indian recipes on blogs like this - and as an Indian, I was pretty proud and surprised too. I just sent you an email - relating to this - if you might have the opportunity to go through. Thanks again for this one and hope you have more Indian food to enjoy.


wow! Heidi, thanks for this!


@AnnefromNC: I can see the logic of your formulation "I T chopped, peeled ginger," but the comma placement is incorrect. If you put a comma between two adjectives, you're implying they're coordinate, or independent. So, what you're saying is actually "1 T chopped and peeled ginger," which isn't quite right either, is it? The sense I think you're after is that you should measure out a tablespoon of ginger that has been first peeled and *then* chopped, right? So those are cumulative, not coordinate adjectives. The correct expression then would be "1 T chopped peeled ginger." Hope that suggestion is OK: you and Heidi seemed to be talking at that level of precision already, so I thought it would be OK to chime in :)

Lynda Walsh

I love how the spices in Indian cooking are meant to help digestion as well as taste good!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

hey heidi, nice to see a subcontinental dish on your blog. my mom makes this dish very often and we simply love it. @ liz- that dish you described is called dahi bara in urdu/ hindi and most people simply fall in love with it.


I tried this recipe yesterday because I am not a chef but I cook for a family of ten and I triplicate the recipe and they were delighted with this gentle flavor recipe. Thanks to the person that published it because she is wonderful and on top of that people like me that we don't need to eat meat every single day is healthy, rich in flavor and presentation was elegant. Please those are the recipe that we need in this blog. Thanks Heidi and thanks Anamika..


This looks so fantastic. Thanks! I will try it with coconut oil. (@KL Yes, my lentils usually only take 20-25 minutes and they are perfect. She must want them to get really soft, but it's probably not necessary).


sounds good!!!!!!


KL, for faster cooking times, cook in pressure cooker.. it takes only 10 mins. As a south indian, growing up 5 days a week for lunch , everyday we eat some kind of lentil. Accompanied with rice and vegetable curry. And eat meat in weekend. So most of my family is very healthy, no cholesterol or heart problems.

South Indian

My mom wants to try the recipe but is wondering why the cooking time for the lentils is so long. I've checked similar recipes and most are within 30-45 min. max. Thank you for your feedback on this. HS: That's just how Anamika wrote up the recipe. I'd say, you can certainly taste along the way, and put the pot off the burner whenever you think the lentils are to your liking.


i usually make spinach with chicken or potatoes but now i will definitely try palak daal . Hopefully my family will like it

naina kayani

My family and I, we all simply love lentils, grains and greens. Not that we are vegetarians, but my sister is somewhat vegetarian. And I love to experiment recipes with lentils. They are great and there are so many recipes we can actually try out. I must thank you for the lovely recipes. I'm from Malaysia and our recipes are mostly very spicy and they are simply delicious and hot hot hot. I've tried the lentil burgers earlier. I created the recipe myself. Will share with you one day.

Nor Aini Adnan

Kasa was one of my top places to grab a quick bite when I lived in the neighborhood-- so, this recipe is a treat as I've been missing some of my favorite foods. It looks fantastic and I can't wait to make it this week.

lisa @ dandysugar

Thanks so much for another delicious recipe! My 18 mos. old absolutely adored this soup (minus green chilis and extra chili powder), and mom & dad just added spice to our bowls. The lemon juice at the end really balanced nicely and the lentils turned out great w/ this combination of spices. A wonderful meal for a cold January night!


Spinach dal is a very flexible dish to make, and you can keep it simple or be very adventerous and take it to another level. White urad dal can be replaced by tuvar dal with which spinach really goes well. One of the staple thing we make is ground spinach with tuvar dal and garnishing it a blended mixture of coconut, green chili and toasted cumin. Keeping it within the same theme as in this recipe, one can play around with whole red chilis, garam masala, coriander powder (I never use hing), taramind pulp water, and instead of urad, use boiled yellow split peas.


I didn't have the white lentils, used green that I had. And I made it in my crockpot. (I know, I'm one of those annoying people who make changes to the recipe and then comment LOL) Maybe it was because of the green lentils used instead, but they didn't use up all the liquid. SO, this was Dahl soup. BUT it is one of THE BEST soups I've ever had. How tasty!! I can just imagine the dahl being delicious too. Next time I will try the correct lentil but for now, I'm LOVING my soup!! :)


Yum! I know what I'm making for my next book club!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

This is great--I've been wanting to make daal for a while now but haven't found a recipe I like that goes beyond "cook lentils!" BTW, did you hear or already know about this website called Apparently they scour food blogs and pull posts together, sometimes with a source link but SOMETIMES NOT! I've seen you on there at least once, might want to check it out?


Thanks for another lovely recipe! On your recommendation, I picked up a copy of Julie Sahni's Vegetarian and Field Grain's book. It also also a wonderful source for dahl, but, like so many others, I'll have to search for the white lentils. Anyone in Houston have a suggestion for a good Indian market (preferably close to the SW Freeway). I've yet to really look, but sure there must be a good source for fresh, authentic ingredients.

Jennifer @ T-Bones & Tofu

Thanks for another lovely recipe! On your recommendation, I picked up a copy of Julie Sahni's Vegetarian and Field Grain's book. It also also a wonderful source for dahl, but, like so many others, I'll have to search for the white lentils. Anyone in Houston have a suggestion for a good Indian market (preferably close to the SW Freeway). I've yet to really look, but sure there must be a good source for fresh, authentic ingredients.

Jennifer @ T-Bones & Tofu

I love it when you give SF restaurant recommendations. I rarely get out of Nob/Russian Hill, so it's nice to have a different destination.


My mother makes this all the time so of course I am partial to her recipe, which uses mug ni daal. It may also be called moong daal, not entirely sure. Probably a variation due to location (we are from the west part of India) as I have never seen white daal before. Also thank you for shouting out to Kasa! They inspired me to create my own kati rolls, which I now do regularly. While their stuff is good, it is a lot cheaper making it than eating it!


Hi. This as so many of your recipes looks fabulous. I noticed that almost every time I go to print a recipe with your print button, that things that should only go on one page end up going to a second page with only on the second page. Is there a way to fix this? It would be great to save the extra paper. Thanks for all of your wonderful posts!


I'm kind of hesitating about cooking spinach for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so I'd like to ask why this is necessary?


Jose' Manuel- No es arroz, son lentejas blancas!


Hi Heidi --- I saw your reply above to the person who asked about "red chile powder". I still don't have a clue what you are referring to. The recipe brought to mind SW/Mexican chili powder, which is red, but not used in Indian cooking to my knowledge. Your answer above made me think of hot paprika. Serranos are green, so I don't think the powder was made from them. If you'd like a great recipe for punjabi chana, I have tweaked one to where I like it a lot. So do others. Peter


Daal palak is indeed good winter comfort food. In my home we make it with toor dal (pigeon peas). If you like to experiment with different greens, you should try swapping the spinach for fenugreek (methi) leaves, salted ahead of time and squeezed out to remove any bitterness. Add a 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds when popping the cumin to round out the dish.


Nice recipe. I find that cooking spinach for that long results in an unpleasant texture, that is why I added it 15 minutes before he dish was done. Oz

Osvaldo Pardo

This daal looks just stunning ! Love it


Kay--I have the Aloo Chat recipe. I'd be happy to share. Now how do we get in touch?!


definitely going to try this one as indian is my most favorite food and i am growing spinach as we speak in my new garden bed! very timely heidi! thank you.


I love Daal! great recipe, thanks.

tobias cooks!

Does anyone know if this could be adapted for a slow cooker?


That looks great! I've never seen white lentils before, seems like I've been discovering new lentils a lot lately. I picked up a package of black beluga lentils a few weeks ago. Love lentils! Jenn

Jenn (

I'm going to hope that this will work with frozen spinach. Not sure a half pound frozen is the same as a half pound fresh due to water weight but I am going to assume so. If so, this is perfect as it's "pantry ready" and I can make it when the cupboard is bare...Also I have some ginger I need to use up while it's still fresh (I don't use ginger much so while I'm sure it's easy for some to go through it all, not so much for me).


it's not a good idea to leave asafoetida out. i'm from south india and my mom has always taught me that many of the spices used are for medicinal purposes or to counteract something in the food. lentils will cause serious bloating and asafoetida is included to counteract that. happy cooking!


Can't get enough daal. Thanks for the recipe. I'll make a batch for my freezer work lunches. :)


asafoetida is absolutely essential imho! some background: classical Indian vegetarian cooking forbids the use of onions and garlic, because they are associated with the cooking of meat. Asafoetida, or hing in Hindi, provides the tang and savory sharpness of onions and garlic, but without the lingering heavy feeling those ingredients can produce. If you find that you love it, try asking for it at your favorite Indian restaurant in lieu of the onions and garlic in your favorite dish. (Chole, or channa masala, is completely transformed by hing rather than onions.) Another wonderful thing to do with urad dal is to make bada/vada: soak about 1/2 cup overnight, drain, and then grind it to a slighly rough paste along with salt, pepper, hing, and a little cayenne and fresh cilantro, and then fry as you would falafel. Then you can eat them with chutneys, or for a really special treat, immediately immerse the fried bada in a bowl of whisked yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk at room temperature. The dumplings develop a thick, creamy coating that tastes far more complicated than it is. YUM!


Thank you for sharing, and kudos to Kasa! We have learned over the last few years that really, fresh and spicy, flavorful foods can make for a lifestyle change that is not only good for your diet, but also good for supporting local business. It has become a motivating factor for us in our daily food choices and preparation. We'll be sure to check out Kasa next time we warm our bones in Big Sur and head to the city. Ishteh Koob (Bon Appetite)

Sugar + Spice

Thank you for such a delicious Daal recipe. Like many of the other commentators I also had all the right ingredients at hand. I used French Green Lentils and a teaspoon of salt instead of half. I also used a quarter of fresh Meyer lemon juice (which added a nice touch of sweetness). I served it with your Tokyo Five Grain a dollop of yogurt and a scant amount of saffron. It was absolutely amazing. Thank you thank you thank you!


I love Veena and Soma's suggestions, but I'm also wondering if anyone has tried other types of lentil yet. I'm curious about what types would work and which ones won't.


A very aromatic dish. In the eastern regions of India we cook this with the yellow mung dal after lightly roasting the dal on a dry skillet (till it gets fragrant). you might like too! give it a try if you can.


Thank you for sharing this recipe! I wouldn't know where to begin otherwise and this looks wonderful!

Simply Life

Hi Heidi, You can put in a tweeny weeny bit of sweetening, just to tease your tastebuds, but not to the level where it's detectable on the tongue. Usually just the same amount of sugar as salt. Only add sweetening if there is a souring agent like lemon juice added, just to round the sourness. It makes for a wonderful difference in any indian dhals or curries ;)


Thanks for posting something that really is Indian cuisine. I am so tired of spin offs... I have been following your website for a while now, and I love it ! :)


I am going though SUCH a lentil fetish at the moment... And this looks just stupefyingly delicious. Thank you!


I am going though SUCH a lentil fetish at the moment... And this looks just stupefyingly delicious. Thank you!


so glad to see an Indian receipe here, it goes well with boiled rice or fried rice and also with Indian bread (plain roti and tandoori roti), The same receipe can be followed with so many other lentils and legumes, The amount of spicyness depends totally on our taste, I run a small cooking class mostly based on traditional ways, my mamma says that we are a link between the traditionals and the moderns and if we don't take care of the heritage, it will be gone for everm very soon

neha panchal

So great to see Kasa promoted- we know one of the other partners and are thrilled for their (well deserved) success! And I'd love to be in the loop if/when cooking classes by Anamika happen again, too.

Chef, Interrupted

I made this with red lentils tonight. Very delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


Made this for dinner tonight along with your seeded flatbread recipe which served as kind of a naan bread -- everything was FAB-U-LOUS!!! Once again, you've provided an amazing recipe that is both healthy & sooooooo flavorful!!! To eat healthy with flavors like this -- it's pure joy!! Thank you, Heidi!!


Hi Heidi, I'm a big fan of your blog, and many times read it like I would read a novel, just for the pure joy that is your writing. I'm Indian, and I'm excited to see this recipe. Its interesting to see that you used urad dal for this recipe, I've never seen that before. I've only seen this made with tuvar/toor dal or split pigeon peas. Will try it with urad dal!


I absolutely love Palak and this recipe seems simple enough that I would feel really confident preparing. I may make a Palak Alu following your recipe and just replace the daal with Potatoes.

umm food

great photos! spinach daal is one of my favorite comfort foods! it works really well with toor daal and moong daal as well (which is apparently really healthy for you). mustard seeds are a great addition for a slightly smoky flavor too. a big bowl with a buttered roll is a great lunch...simple and perfect :)

nithya at hungrydesi

Ha, I just made my own Palak Daal last night! How serendipidous.


I think I actually have everything to make this in my pantry. Sounds so comforting and delicious! Yum!


This looks great! I just learned to make a type of daal at a free cooking class my local co-op offered. It was fantastic. They used clarified butter, which is called ghee, for sauteing the veggies. Have you used ghee? How does it compare to the regular butter called for here? Thanks! HS: You can substitute clarified butter here no problem. It's fantastic, I cook with it often, and has a high smoke point making it great for sautes.


I can't wait to try this! I'm trying to get legumes on the dinner table at least a couple times a week, and I've experimented with dal a couple of times. This one looks fantastic. I'm kind of afraid to cook with the asafetida, though. I'm intrigued by it, but I'm concerned that it will permeate my kitchen!


Just tried this one out for dinner, and it's great! I used green lentils because I that's what I had in the cupboard, but they worked just fine. Thanks for another great recipe, Heidi!


nice! will try next week. love all ingredients specially lentils. lets see if i find the white ones.


I was just reading about the super health benefits of Indian spices (such as turmeric and cumin), so I look forward to making this nutritious recipe and giving myself a health boost! Thanks for sharing...can't wait to try it.


This takes lentils in a whole new direction for me. And a neat turn in the road it is!


Hi Heidi, This looks delicious. You have inspired me to use dried beans--so much better than canned. I made white beans last weekend that I used all week, and this weekend I used them for your white bean and kale recipe in your book and your marathon cookies. Heidi, those cookies are a revelation! They might be my favorite recipe of yours ever, and I love quite a few. It's amazing that such a delicious cookie comes from beans and no butter at all. The bean and kale dish was wonderful too, and left my stomach feeling so full in a healthy way. Your food truly fills my mind, body, & spirit Heidi--thank you so much!


I adore dhals! Will definitely try this one!


This looks fantastic, Heidi..thank you for sharing...I love lentils and you've just inspired me to cook up the bag of lentils in my pantry to make this delicious recipe tonight!

The Healthy Apple

Thanks very much for this recipe...the spin on dahl that I was looking for! This will be my lunch for the days I am in College! Yum!! I'll be so smart and will feel great. hee hee. You are such a beautiful girl to give us all these gorgeous recipes...If we all ate this food imagine how good the world would feel.

Kyle Frances

This recipe may just be what it takes for me to conquer my fear of lentils, after getting a rock in a bowl of lentil soup ages ago. Sounds delish!


Two of my favorites in one spot: Lentils & Kasa!! Kasa remains one of the few Indian establishments in SF whose daals I approve of; even other eateries with otherwise stellar dishes seem to miss the mark on lentils. What other local spots do you scope out for Indian-style lentil dishes? I'd love to know! (and ps, still trying to figure out which pizza joint you allude to in your Best Pizza Dough Ever post of Jan 2006...)


I'm obsessed with lentils lately, and this looks like a delectable way to continue obsessing. I have about fourteen daal recipes flagged right now, but this looks more healthy. So thanks for that. Also, I posted last week about gluten, which you were thinking about a while ago. It's a really quick recipe that you'd be able to whip up and add your own touches to easily. It makes 6# of product and is a perfect freezer candidate – well labelled, of course. ;)


Fab, I bought white lentils a while back, now I know what to do with them.


Urad dal, cooked, has a mucilaginous taste that many people love and that I hate. I would substitute my favorite red lentils/masur dal. Just in case anyone else has the same reaction.


Can't wait to try this recipe I love Indian food ! Let me know if you or anyone has a recipe for Aloo Chat it is a cold potato salad, the best one I ever had used tamarind and was more vingar like where some use yogurt.


When it says "pure red chile powder" do you mean New Mexico chile powder? Ancho? Cayenne? HS: HI Cathy, see the head notes. If you have NM chile powder that would work fine.


These look so rich with flavour and spices. Though endless days of rain are hard--be glad it's not endless days of frigid winter! (Like up here in Canada.) These lentils look like the right thing to warm one up.

Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa

Looks delish! Have tried most types of lentils, but not this one. There are many Indian markets in L.A. so I'll keep my eyes open. In the meantime, I'm making red lentil soup today with leftover coriander- and cumin-roasted cauliflower. Thanks for the morning motivation!

Lentil Breakdown

Great recipe. Daal is a staple in our house, and we make lots of it with various types of lentils / legumes. This recipe can also be made with split green mung beans...highly nutritious and with a little extra added protein. Also, to Elizabeth Hay...the flavor will be different if you use cumin seeds versus ground cumin. In my experience, the seeds will give you a sharper flavor, whereas the ground cumin will be softer and permeate the entire dish. You can get cumin seeds and other Indian spices online at or any other Indian foods website.


Hi Heidi. when you say 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped, do you mean 1 tablespoon chopped, peeled ginger? 'Cause you can't really measure a quantity of ginger whole, unless it's by weight or size. I am only asking because I aspire to write recipes and I thought I had heard that it was more correct to state in the form of the latter example. Or do you take the position that one way or the other makes no real difference? This is my "premiere" comment on your blog (which, by the way, is my number one favorite and I recommend it to everyone who will listen :) Thanks! HS: Hi Anne, I feel like I reworded that line a few times when writing up the recipe. It's the "peeled" part that always throws me. It seems to be awk. where ever I put it. Anyways, the sentiment is to have 1 tablespoon of ginger that has been peeled then chopped. So yes, I think your suggestion is probably better, proper, and more clear ;)


Palak Daal has always seemed a bit bitter to me at certain restaurants, but now that I have a decent recipe to work with I'll have to try it and see if it'll change my mind. It definitely looks divine!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Heidi, you are so true to ingredients and absolutely come up with the best recipes! If I had a piece of naan or paratha in my hand right now, I'd literally start picking at the screen on my MacBook. I noticed that the time on your recipe is 1.5 - 2 hours... I think I might put the daal in a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking time.

kamran siddiqi

Heidi you read my mind on what i am dying to cook! I recently ate a spinach side dish from an indian restaurant that i am trying to recreate. And yesturday a friend made masala doce (i think that's how its spelt) with these very thin pancake like roti but made with urad daal (lentils) and they were delicious!! So you have combined both of my recent addictions into what i can imagine will be my next addictive recipe from you!! xx

Liz B

Heidi, this is great, though I can see if I continue this infatuation with your blog, I will need to step up my on-hand ingredients; butter, salt, pepper, olive oil and cider vinegar just aren't going to cut it anymore. Thanks for the feast!

tom | tall clover farm

I was awakened from my sleepy mood by the color of this dish alone. Gorgeous. This isn't something I would have sought out - but as usual your images and words have seduced me. Mmmmm.....

Michaela @ The Gardener's Eden

Asafetida is a very acquired taste. Half a teaspoon is too much. I would suggest a pinch of it. Somesh HS: Hi Somesh, you know, that was my sense as well. I'm going to reword that section, so people can add it to their individual tastes.

Somesh Rao

Que pinta tiene tú arroz, y encima con espinacas. Me copio tu receta para hacerla pronto. Gracias

jose manuel

This looks delicious and somehow I have all of the ingredients in house -- something to try on a soggy Sunday in Santa Cruz!


Use hot water to wash spinach. It gets the mud off more efficiently.


@Katie Other than for taste, Asafoetida is usually paired with all lentil dishes in India -- not just daal, even in variations like Sambha -- mainly for its digestive and anti-flatulent properties. Lentils by themselves are not the easiest food types to digest, hence the addition.


Looks amazing! I was just saying that I needed to make some lentil dishes next week with the stock pile of lentils in m pantry (including white urad daal). I've bought these lentils at a local Indian food shop. I was unsuccessful at finding them at any of the natural food stores in town. Also, a few restrictive diet notes that may help others out. This dish is gluten free if you eliminate the asafetida. The asafetida commonly found in the states is a powder mixed with wheat flour. This dish is vegan if you use oil instead of butter to make the tarka. I always make my tarka this way (even though I'm not vegan) because of how I was taught.


Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Lentils hold the flavors of spices so well and I am a devout fan of Indian food.

Cookin' Canuck

Heidi, I love your take on most recipes. And I've been following Anamika on her blog as well. So, this is a treat for me. As a side note, ivory lentils are "urad dal" in Hindi, pronounced sometimes as "urud dal", but i've never seen "urid" before. :D

Chithrupa Ramesh

Sounds absolutely lovely.... just great!


this is a gorgeous bowl of lentils. wow!


This sounds SO lovely. I'm a big fan of dal already, and a great heap of spinach could only make it that much better. Thanks for sharing.


Oh, I so want to try these lentils, they are gorgeous.... I'm afraid that unless I special order them through the net, I won't find them in my town I love daal, but somehow only have it in restaurants, never made it myself


I made (and wrote about) something very similar this past week---lentils, spinach, sweet potato curry, with lime and cilantro. I adore it (but my kids not so much)---to me it's comfort food of the best sort.

Jennifer Jo

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I recently found some urad daal in an Indian spice shop and bought it, but haven't used it yet. I think maybe I'll try this this week. :)


Mmmmm! :)


Heidi. THis looks good but I can't get cumin SEEDS here. Can you substitute ground cumin? If so, how much? Thanks. I have never tried any of your recipes that I didnt love!

Elizabeth Hay

I've been looking to incorporate more lentils and grains into my diet as well as spices. This looks like an excellent recipe, and is full of antioxidants! I look forward to checking out Kasa blog!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

I've been looking to incorporate more lentils and grains into my diet this year as well as spices. This looks like an excellent recipe, flavorful and chock full of antioxidants! I look forward to seeing more recipes from Kasa!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

Heidi, this looks amaazing, the only thing is I am allergic to lentils, is there anything I can substitute instead?


indian food is by far my favourite and i love this kind of dishes - so comforting, especially in the cold winter days. (we are experiencing the longest winter of my life here in germany and it pretty much sucks.) i am trying this for sure!


Palak Daal is one of my favourites! This is a nice simple version and I will give it a go soon. @ Katie - asafoetida gives a flavour similar to onion/leeks. I have friends who are Jain and don't eat onion, garlic, leeks so I have started using hing (asafoetida) a bit in my cooking so I can feed them along with everyone else. It stinks in it's powder form so have a good airtight container for it once you open the pack. I keep mine in a jar inside a ziplock bag.


Green chili pepper as in jalapeno or serrano pepper? Can you define pure red chili powder as in cayene pepper? HS: Hi D, I used serrano pepper, and a pure red chile powder made from a mildly spicy red pepper, not cayenne in this case, I suspect that would be a bit on the too spicy side...


I have never made a dal before, but this one looks simple, and has flavours that are right up my alley. I can't say I've ever seen ivory lentils before, but I'll keep my eye out.


I love this recipe. Looks simple and not too spicy. I love spicy food but not too much.


Daal is one of my favorite fast, easy, tasty meals to make. I don't eat wheat or dairy or soy, and indian food is some of the only really great food left for me! I will definitely be trying this recipe soon! I have asafetida, but I am not really sure what kind of taste it gives to the dish. I bought it for an ethiopian dish I made a while ago and haven't used it since!


I must admit, now a huge fan of Indian food but if we are being honest, I never really gave it a fair shot. This recipe looks pretty tempting, I must admit.

christie @ honoring health

ooo! my husband will be so happy when i make this for dinner next week. i'm not usually a fan of indian food, but this looks like something that could really tip the scales for me and help me appreciate the flavors he already loves. thanks for this! loving your blog- it's absolutely beautiful, and so informative.


This is practically an everyday dish for me, but the way you make it look with your photography - as something unique, beautiful and exotic, is fantastic.


This looks so great. I would love if my fave restaurants offered cooking classes. People are often amused that I teach cooking classes, without having taken any- just so tough to find the good ones that focus on delicious, healthful and simply recipes. Thank you, as always, for sharing this one.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

Hi..I've been following your blog for some time and want to thank you for some of your recipes, including this one. Just to clarify for some, white urid dal is just black lentils that have been skinned and sometimes split. The more common way to refer to them is urad. Though Hindi is a phonetic language so some may translate an a to be an i etc. etc. If anyone (including you) would like some more Indian recipe (along with dal/daals) I do have some on my I've got a cookbook out this year called The Indian Slowcooker. I hope you'll try some of my recipe (some are posted on the site). I've got your site on there as one that I follow regularly. Keep up the great work! Very Sincerely, Anupy

Anupy Singla

Will check on Kasa next time I'm in SF. I make a super easy version of daal similar to this on those evenings when I cannot muster but a pinky to cook - a ten minute meal using canned lentils. I add more veggies such as diced carrots, which gives it a little more texture. And, thanks for the link on asafetida.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks would you please spend a few minutes checking out my blog. I am a farmer who has been raising over 50 breeds of chickens for forty years.

Rooster Shamblin

I love daal but it never turns out great when i make it. I will definitely give this a try soon. Daal is total comfort food.

Tonya @ What's On My Plate

I live in SF and adore Kasa. I will definitely make this.


Those ivory lentils are gorgeous! I was tickled recently that I finally found French green lentils and red lentils locally, and now here's a goregous new lentil to look for ;-). This recipe sounds delicious. We don't have Indian food anywhere remotely near where I live, but the spiciness of this sounds right up our alley so I'll give this a try. Thanks!


Little different than what I'm used to...but something different is good.

Dave -nibbleanibble

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