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

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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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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