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Palakoora Pappu / Spinach Dal / Palak Dal

Today I am posting a simple yet yummy dish most of you are quite familiar with. There are couple of my touches to this dish which makes it more tastier.  The dish is Palakura pappu or Spinach Dal.
Spinach dal can be served with rice or roti. If serving with rice, papad will be a nice addition. Another nice addition will be mango pickle(avakaya) or red chilli pickle(pandu mirapakaya pachadi).

Ingredients

1 big bunch spinach roughly copped (Use the leaves and tender stems discarding the roots and ends)
2 cups Toor Dal/Redgram Dal(Kandhi pappu)
4 cups water
3 Green chillies slit length wise
1/2 big onion chopped into bite sized chunks
1 Tomato chopped
2 tsp Red Chilli powder
Big lemon sized tamarind or 1 tbsp thick paste paste
Salt per taste
1 tsp Herb Provence (Optional)
small piece of ginger chopped real fine
2 garlic cloves minced
Dash of lemon

Tempering

3 or 4 dried red chillies
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
couple of pinches of hing(Inguva)
1 clove of garlic chopped real fine
4 or 5 curry leaves
2 tbsp ghee or 3 tbsp oil

Method

 If using Tamarind

 In a microwave safe bowl add tamarind and 3/4 cup of water and heat in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Take it out let it cool for a minute then squeeze the tamarind really hard. Save the tamarind water and discard the pulp.

If using Tamarind Paste

Mix the paste in 3/4 cup of water and keep aside

If using pressure Cooker
For cooking the dal

Wash the dal. Add washed dal, Spinach, onions, green chillies, tomato, salt, red chill powder, garlic, herb provence, ginger and water to a pressure pan/Pressure cooker. Close the lid and place on medium high heat. Let it cook for 10 minutes or till the pressure comes out from top of the lid heavily. At this point place the whistle and cook it till 4 whistles. Take off the stove and let it rest till all the pressure is gone.

Finishing off the dal

Take the lid off the pressure cooker and place the pressure cooker on the stove on medium flame. Add the tamarind water, keep stirring and let it come to a boil. At this point add the lemon juice and check for the seasonings and adjust.  You can cook this dish to your desired consistency. For me I like mine not too thick and not too thin.
In another pan heat 2tbsp of ghee. Add the red chilles and let them fry till they are little black in color. Now add the rest of the tempering except for curry leaves and let them splutter. Add in the curry leaves and let them splutter. Add the popu or tempering to the dal and give it a mix.

If not using pressure Cooker

In a thick bottomed sauce pan take the dal, onions and 4 cups of water. Cook covered checking occasionally till the dal is done. To know when the dal is done, take out a grain of dal and press it in between your fingers. It should be easily mashable and soft and not at all hard in the middle. At this point add in the rest of ingredients except for tamarind, lemon juice and tempering ingredients, Let the spinach cook.
Then add in the tamarind water keep stirring and let it come to a boil. At this point add the lemon juice and check for the seasonings and adjust.  You can cook this dish to your desired consistency. For me I like mine not too thick and not too thin.
In another pan heat 2tbsp of ghee. Add the red chilles and let them fry till they are little black in color. Now add the rest of the tempering except for curry leaves and let them splutter. Add in the curry leaves and let them splutter. Add the popu or tempering to the dal and give it a mix.

Note

Herb Provence is a combination of dried herbs - thyme, rosemary, savory, lavender, marjoram,basil, sage and oregano. Herb Provence is optional. In US most of the grocery stores carry them in the spices aisle. If not if you can find any of the herbs I mentioned above, you can make your own mix. Else do not worry :).
If you have nutmeg powder on hand add in 1/4 tsp of nutmeg powder. Trust me it tastes really good.

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