Palak Dal or Dal palak or Spinach dal is a popular dal in India that is very comforting and highly nutritious. This instant pot dal palak is a lifesaver on busy weekdays which can be made in a pressure cooker or slow cooker too. vegan & gluten-free that can be served as a soup or side with rice or roti.
I personally don’t like the fact that when it comes to Indian dals, tadka (not tarka!)dal has taken a prominent place across the Indian restaurants globally, especially in the West. Sure I do love tadka dal but there are many other mind blowing flavours odfdals such as this Andhra Gongura Pappu(sorrel leaves dal) and Raw Mando Dal. And then there are versios made with tangy tomatoes , bottle gourd, ridge gourd etc.
When it comes to weight loss, I love one pot dals that pack a ton of flavour and nutrients too, so I much prefer spinach dal and those that are listed above. Palak dal has many variations within India itself, here i’m sharing the simple instalt pot dal palak made in North Indian style.
We South Indians make it slightly more tangier with the usage of tamarind and a hint of hing too.Whichever style it is, spinach dal packs a ton of flavour and rich in iron.
What is Dal Palak?
Palak = Spinach
Spinach dal or dal palak is a dish made with lentils cooked, fresh spinach and mild spices. every region in India has it own recipe. In south, we call it Palakura pappu in Andhra and in Tamil Nadu, it is called Paruppu Keerai Masiyal.
Why you will love this recipe?
Spinach dal packs ton of flavour and nutrients from lentils and spinach in a single bowl.
My instant pot spinach dal recipe can be done under 30 minutes with no need of constant stirring and checking.
You can make a complete meal in one go by also cooking rice at the same time.
Can be made into soup or dal, your choice. This is so much better, inexpesive than those lentil soups you get in the major UK supermarkets frozen food shelves.
Spinach for Weight Loss
Weight Loss Spinach is rich in insoluble fibre which is the key element which helps in weight loss as it keeps you full for longer and the calories will not get absorved into the body sooner. It is low in calories, high in fibre, iron and relatively rich in protein for a green leafy vegetable.You can add unlimited amounts of spinach in your diet to up your weight loss game.
Lentils – traditonal recipe calls for toor dal, split pegio pea. masoor or yellow moong dal or yellow lentils also can be used.
Spinach – Fresh spinach is the best than frozen. Few rmeove stalks but I don’t.
Onion – finely chopped red onion forms the base for all indian dishes.white or yellow onion also works fine.
Tomato – to add tanginess. you can also use tamarind if you like.
Chilli– red dried chilli for temperng and optioal green chilli for extra spice.
Spices – red chilli powder and turmeric are good enough. Few add garam masala too but I feel it kind of robs the plain dal taste.
For tempering – mustard seedms cumin seeds and channa dal. sorry that I have missed to include garlic for the picture above.
Oil – I use vegetabke oil to make this vegan, ghee also can be used.
How to make instant Pot Dal Palak
Press SAUTE mode on instant pot and heat oil. Splutter cumin , mustard seeds and add chanan dal. Fry for 10 seconds and add crushed garlic,broken red chilli and chopped green chilli . Fry foru couple of minutes until the onions turn slightly pink.
Add 1 finely chopped tomato(I had puree lying in the fridge),salt and cook until the raw smell goes out of tomato.
Add in spice powders and fry for a minute, Add ½ cup of washed split pegion pea or toor dal and mix well.
Add 1.5 cups of water, mix well and close the lid. Press CANCEL and press PRESSURE COOK mode and set the timer for 6 minutes. make sure to turn the valve into sealing mode.
After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR). Open the lid and add washed and finely chopped spinach.the leaves get wilted with the heat.
If you think the dal is too thick or thin, adjust water according and cook for 5 minutes by pressing the SAUTE mode again.
I like fresh tempering so I repeat it once more using curry leaves, dried chilli, mustard and cumin and red chilli powder.Drizzle this tempering over the dal when serving . It is optional but adds such a beautiful pop of color!Serve hot with rice or roti or as a soup.
How to make Dal Palak in Pressure Cooker?
Pressure cook lentils,salt , green chilli and turmeric on high flame until 2 whistles.Then let the pressure release naturally by itself. Make tempering in a separate pan and drizzle over the cooked dal and mix well. Everything else remains the same.
Serving Palak Dal
This Dal Palak pairs perfectly with basmati rice. You can also pair with cooked barley, quinoa or cauliflower rice.
also goes well with indian flat breads like roti, chapati. Or serve it as a soup with a slice of toasted rye bread.
If you are not a vegan, replace oil with ghhee to elevate the taste of the spinach dal.
Vary the Greens: You can alsouse fenugreek leaves (methi), sorrel leaves in this recipe in place of spinach. I doubt kale and havent tested it.
Dal: Moong dal,red masoor dal, channa dal , yellow lentils also can be used in place of toor dal.To make this recipe with Chana Dal (split chickpeas), follow the same steps but cook the dal for 12 minutes on high pressure.
Andhra Palakura Pappu: To make this recipe Andhra style, also use tamarind along with tomato.
Storing Leftover Dal
Spinach dal tastes even better afetr a day, Refrigerate it for 3 days ad reheat in microwave before serving. you can also freeze this upto 3 months.
Recipe tips & FAQ
Wash the lentils well in cold runing water until all dirt is removed and soak them for 30 minutes optionally.
Use fresh spinach rather than frozen. If there is more water left , cook in saute mode for couple of minutes.
Use the same method as that of pressure cooker but cook the dal until atelast 40 minutes on low to medium flame. You may need additional cup of water.
It is same as spinach dal made with yellow mong dal instead of split piegeon dal or toor dal.
Yes, use a pot in pot method for cooking rice. Use trivet to separet the dal and rice cotainer. It cooks perfectly .
You can also subscribe to Fat Rainbow so that you never miss any new updates and also get free healthy snacks e-book. If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a Comment, Rate It and Tag us in your photos #FATRAINBOWCOOKS on INSTAGRAM
If you like dal recipes, I have more on the blog such as
- Sorrel Leaves Dal
- Mango Dal
Instant Pot Dal Palak
- ½ cup split pegion pea toor dal, washed and drained
- 2 cups spinach washed and finely chopped
- 1 onion small, finely chopped
- 1 tomato roughly chopped
- 1 green chilli optional, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon vegetable oil or ghee
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmerice powder
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon channa dal optional
- 1 red chilli dried
- 2 cups water
- Press SAUTE mode on instant pot and heat oil. Splutter cumin , mustard seeds and add chana dal. Fry for 10 seconds and add crushed garlic,broken red chilli and chopped green chilli . Fry foru couple of minutes until the onions turn slightly pink.
- Add 1 finely chopped tomato(I had puree lying in the fridge), salt and cook until the raw smell goes out of the tomato.
- Add in spice powders and fry for a minute, add ½ cup of washed split pigeon pea or Toor dal and mix well.
- Add 1.5 cups of water, mix well and close the lid. Press CANCEL and press PRESSURE COOK mode and set the timer for 6 minutes. make sure to turn the valve into sealing mode.
- After the instant pot beeps the cooking is done, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR). Open the lid and add washed and finely chopped spinach.the leaves get wilted with the heat.
- If you feel the dal is too thick or thin for your preference,adjust the water according and cook for 5 minutes by pressing the SAUTE mode again.
- I like fresh tempering so I repeat it once more using curry leaves, dried chilli, mustard and cumin and red chilli powder.Drizzle this tempering over the dal when serving . It is optional but adds such a beautiful pop of color!
- Serve hot with rice or roti or as a soup.