If I wrote an autobiography it would be called The Dal Diaries: Stories of a Reluctant Cook. When it is cold I crave dal and when it is warm I crave dal. When I am sad I want dal and when I am happy I *drumroll*….want dal. In my head there is a dal for every mood and it is my mission in my life to get my kids to feel the same way. Dal Roti was a staple meal for me growing up and if I shut my eyes and think about family meals during my childhood in Jeddah or later years in Karachi I always see a steaming bowl of dal on the table. That smell of the hot baghaar in it’s whirling sizzle as it hits the dal remains one of my favourite aromas. Just imagine, sizzling baghar…hot dal palak… THE SMELL!
Dal is rich in iron and as I, like many South Asians, have low iron levels. Since I am a food over pills girl I do my best to include iron rich foods in my diet. All dals check that box. I have also recently made a concerted effort to have more meatless meals and dal leaves me feeling full longer than other vegetarian dishes. It also is probably a tad bit healthier than my other great love which is Potatoes. Arhar/Toor Dal takes a long time to cook, but using the Instant Pot makes the process much faster. See, this Instant Pot Dal Palak it is a winner all around.
What Makes this Dal Different
Now let’s talk more about this Instant Pot Dal Palak. If you have made any of the dal recipes on my blog then you will see that this one is quite different. The fresh grated ginger makes the biggest difference. It creates a flavour that is sharper, punchier and brighter than most and I love that. Most dals are better the next day, but this one even more so as the flavours meld together. Since it is made from dals that thicken naturally I do suggest adding water and reheating your leftovers stove top. I have also made this Instant Pot Dal Palak with Kale and it totally works. If you are reluctant to go the ginger root or simply don’t like the flavour feel free to skip it entirely or halve the quantity. Also half the time I make it I skip the red chilli powder and compensate with loads of green chillies for a different flavour. What you do is up to you 🙂
Three different lentils combine for this hearty comforting dish perfect any time of the year.
- 1/2 cup Arhar/Toor Dal
- 1/4 cup Moong Dal
- 1/4 cup Masoor Dal
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (optional, see notes)
- 1 tsp Grated Ginger
- 1 Diced Tomato
- 3.5 cups Water
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup Diced Cilantro
- 2-4 Minced Green Chillies
- 3-4 cups washed, chopped spinach
- Additional salt to taste
- 3 Sliced Cloves of Garlic
- 3/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 3-4 Dried Whole Red Chillies
Add all the IP ingredients to the pot - Put on Manual for 18 minutes. Quick Release.
Mix in all the ingredients in the Add Ins category, taste, adjust seasoning. I usually add more lemon/salt
Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a small pan, when it is hot add the cumin seeds, garlic, and dried red chillies, cook till the garlic is amber coloured and pour over daal.
- use whatever combination of dal you like - simply adjust cook times! Chana Dal works very well
- I sometimes omit red chilli powder and just up the green chilli, but if you want a more traditionally Pakistani taste then halve the ginger, add 1/2 tsp garlic paste and use 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
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