Chana dal with spinach and tomato


My mother’s favourite thing to eat on cold days is dal with crispy hot toast.

I very seldom make dal , reason being is that I can’t make it properly to save my life. Yes I can make a plain dal, where you just boil till soft, blitz till smooth and then add this and that to it… but who wants to eat the same dal over and over again.

When it comes to Indians and their dals, the range is wide and the curries that are made from these various types are amazing.

For example, my parents always use the word wedding dhal and moong dal. But as soon as I read the word lentils which is a common word used in English recipe books than the word dal, then I hit a blank and seem to lose concept on how to cook. I must have a dal block if you ask me.

That was until I was reading  Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian Indian cook book and I came across a recipe for a dal, that seemed easy and I was really really keen to try it out.

It came out delicious and it tasted just like my mother’s


  • 2 x cups chana dal, boiled with a tsp turmeric powder till soft, drain and set aside.
  • ½ x tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 ½ x tsp salt.
  • ¼ x tsp asafoetida powder.
  • ½ x tsp mustard seeds.
  • ½ x tsp jeera seeds.
  • 2 x dried chillies.
  • Curry leaves.
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 x gloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 2 x tsp grated ginger.
  • 2 x tomatoes, grated.
  • Handful of roughly chopped spinach.
  • 2 x tsp masala.


  • Heat some oil in a pot.
  • Add the Asafoetida powder and give it a stir.
  • Add the mustard seeds and wait till the mustard seeds star to pop.
  • Add the jeera seeds and dry chillies and allow the chillies to darken a little.
  • Add the curry leaves, salt and onions, saute till the onions are transparent.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and give it a good stir.
  • Add the grated tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft.
  • Add the dal, spinach and about 2 x cups of water.
  • Allow to cook till the spinach starts to wilt.
  • Add the turmeric powder, masala and give it a good stir.
  • Carry on cooking till the dals gravy is to your liking.

Tell me what you think of this recipe