Thursday, February 28, 2019

Masoor Dal With Spinach & Tomatoes (Red/PinkLentil Stew/Soup With Greens)

Masoor Dal With Spinach & Tomatoes, Rice
Masoor/Red/Pink Lentils are actually neither red nor pink but a peachy salmon color! They are a common and popular ingredient in many cuisines. Quick cooking  and chockful of nutrition, they can fill the bill no matter which cuisine. They are the quickest cooking member of legume world (takes only 20 minutes!).

The combination of rice, dal, and greens never loses its charm for me; so simple yet wholesome and delicious. Serve Dal With Spinach and Tomatoes over rice, other grains, or with roti in the Indian Style or as a stew/soup. Either way it is hearty comfort fare and a delicious winner regardless of the season.

The perfect side for Dal With Spinach and Tomatoes is a fresh chopped salad. Toasted papadams, pickles, roasted veggies, etc. are other delicious sides.


I like to add the tomatoes (lots of it too - love the combination of tomatoes with the spinach) at the end so remain quite discernible without turning too soft and mushy. If you have tomatoes languishing in the kitchen ready to be used up, put them to use them here.

Frozen spinach works well in this recipe; 8 - 16 oz package should do it depending on the amount of spinach you like.

6-8 Servings


1 cup Masoor/Red/Pink Lentils
1 medium yellow Onion, finely diced
1 Jalapeno/Serrano Chile, cored and minced
1 one-inch piece fresh Ginger, finely grated 
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp ground Coriander
1-1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1-2 pinch Cayenne
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric 
1 cup Water
2 Stems fresh Curry Leaves
Sea salt
1 large bunch OR 8 oz bag fresh Spinach, coarsely chopped
2 medium Tomatoes, diced
4 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro

Lime/Lemon Wedges for serving
Hot cooked grains/breads for serving


Sort, wash, and soak the lentils for 30 minutes if possible. Drain, rinse and drain well. Place lentils in a 2-quart pan, add enough fresh water to cover the lentils, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover partially and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes or so. Stir ocassionally and make sure to add a little water if needed to keep dal from burning.

In a 3-4 quart heavy-duty pot, cook the onion with a pinch of salt and a spritz of water over medium-low heat stirring occasionally, until beginning to color and caramelize, 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle a little water as necessary to keep the onion from burning. 

Add the chile, garlic and ginger to the onions; cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until they soften.

If using frozen spinach, add it now and cook until it is no longer frozen simmering gently.

Add the curry leaves and the cooked dal and bring back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

If using fresh spinach, add it now. Stir in the fresh spinach and simmer just until wilted. Remove from heat.

Heat a small pan and add the cumin seeds; stir and shake until they start to puff and pop a bit and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground coriander, cumin, and cayenne; stir for a few seconds to toast the spices. Tip the spices into the dal and stir well.

Stir in the  tomatoes.

Cover and let the dal rest for about 10 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and serve hot as a soup/stew or with your favorite grains and/or breads. Pass the lime/lemon wedges.


Dal With Spinach & Tomatoes, Rice

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