Dal Paalak

This is one of my favourite dal recipes – it’s simple, tasty and comes together very quickly.

The list of ingredients is quite short:

  • Split skinned red lentils – a couple handfuls
  • Spinach, chopped – 150 gms
  • Garlic, minced – 1 tsp, heaped (Reduce for a less garlicky taste.)
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 to 1/2 tsp, depending on how yellow you want the dal to turn out.
  • Salt – to taste

Soak lentils for 15 to 30 minutes. Cook them with turmeric powder and a bit of salt till soft and breaking apart. I used a pressure cooker – I turned off the heat when the cooker came to full pressure and let the pressure release naturally.

Heat a kadhai (or wok or other pot), turn down heat and put in the garlic. When it starts to stick, add a small splash of water. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and when it wilts, mix in cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and garam masala. Cook covered for 5 minutes.

Pour in the lentils, add a dash of salt and mix very well. Let it simmer for a minute, while mashing the lentils. The final dal should have a bit of a creamy texture, like so:

dal paalak

Pineapple Curry

Once upon a time when I was a teenager who couldn’t cook at all, I saw someone make a pineapple curry on a cooking show. I scrambled to get some pen and paper to note down the recipe, and barely managed to get the key ingredients down. I don’t know if I got it right but that doesn’t matter because this tastes really good!

pineapple curry

You need:

  • Pineapple chunks (I used one small fresh pineapple)
  • Coconut milk – 8 to 10 tbsp
  • Ginger, finely chopped or minced – 1/3 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp, level
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp, level
  • Green cardamom pod – 1, big
  • Red chilli powder – 1/8 tsp, or more to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

Heat up a wok (or other pan), turn down heat and toast mustard seeds till they start popping vigourously. Throw in the cardamom pod and toast for a few seconds. Add cumin seeds and toast for about 10 more seconds. Then the curry leaves go in and when they begin to dry out, it’s time to put in the ginger. When the ginger starts to stick, add a splash of water, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Stir and cook for about a minute.

Add pineapple chunks, mix well and let them heat through. Pour in the coconut milk and a few splashes of water as needed. Cover and let it come to a gentle simmer. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat and mix in salt. Let the curry sit for 10 to 15 minutes before you dig in!

I’ve only tried this with plain steamed rice, but I bet it would taste great with biryani, pulao or fried rice.