Dal palak or spinach dal is a popular Indian lentil dish. It is vegan, gluten-free, and kid-friendly. It is nutritious and very easy to make in the instant pot.
It is served in Indian meals along with Indian bread, rice, and complementing curries. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and lentils also freeze well if you are looking for meal planning options.
Spinach dal ingredients
Spinach dal requires few basic ingredients like lentils and spices which are cooked in tomato-onion gravy. Whole spices are tempered in ghee or oil (for vegan)
Once the lentils are cooked, chopped spinach or baby spinach is added to make spinach dal.
Which dal is used for dal palak?
Dal palak is a versatile dish and can be made with any dal like moong dal, chana dal, toor dal, or even mixed lentils. I have made this recipe using yellow moong dal but it can be easily adapted with other dals.
Do I have to soak moong dal?
Moong dal cooks very easily and ideally, there is no need to soak it. However, it is important to thoroughly rinse it with water to get rid of any chemicals and debris.
Sometimes there can be a bad batch of dal that does not cook easily, in which case soaking it for about 30 minutes before cooking is preferable. I always make moong dal without soaking and it turns out perfect in the instant pot.
How to make spinach dal in instant pot?
It is very easy to make spinach dal in the instant pot as there is no need to monitor it and you can walk away while it gets cooked.
To make spinach dal in the instant pot, first, saute the whole spices in ghee or oil. Then add some chopped onions, ginger garlic paste, and saute them until onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes, spices, salt, moong dal, water and cook on high-pressure mode for 4 minutes followed by a natural pressure release.
I like to add some water while cooking and some after cooking. This helps instant pot to come to pressure in less time.
Once the pressure is released, open the lid, add the chopped spinach or baby spinach, garam masala powder, and give it a good mix. Add some water to adjust to the desired consistency.
What do you eat with spinach dahl?
If you have leftover dahl, you can thicken it by heating it for sometime make dal paratha (stuffed flatbread). It goes well for kids lunch box.
How do you store dal in the fridge?
Any leftover dal can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. When you are ready to serve it, you can simply reheat in the microwave, cooktop, or in the instant pot.
Dal has a tendency to thicken after refrigerating, so you might have to add some water while reheating it to bring it to the desired consistency.
Can you freeze and reheat cooked lentils?
Moong dal can be frozen for up to a month in freezer-safe containers or freezer-safe bags. When you are ready to heat simply defrost the lentils in the microwave.
After defrosting the lentils, you can reheat them in the microwave or on the stove. The lentils may thicken after freezing so you can add some water while reheating it to bring it to the desired consistency.
If you are meal planning and storing the moong dal for later use, you can avoid adding the spinach while cooking and just freeze the cooked lentils. When you reheat the dal, you can add the chopped spinach at that time.
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Dal Palak In Instant Pot (Spinach Dal)
- 1 cup Moong dal
- 3 cup Water (and more after cooking)
- 1 large Tomato (chopped)
- 1 cup Onion (chopped)
- ½ tsp Ginger paste
- ½ tsp Garlic paste
- 2 cup Spinach or baby spinach (packed)
Oil and spices
- Lime juice (few drops)
- Rinse moong dal in water 2-3 times and discard the water.
- Turn on the instant pot on saute mode with normal setting.
- Once the instant pot is hot, add ghee (or oil for vegan).
- Once ghee is hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
- Add hing, whole red chili, and cloves.
- Add the onions, ginger and garlic paste. Saute until onions are translucent (this can take about a minute)
- Add the tomatoes and give it a good mix.
- Deglaze the pot with a spatula.
- Press cancel to come out of saute mode.
- Lock the lid with pressure knob in sealing position.
- Pressure cook on high pressure mode for 4 minutes followed by natural pressure release.
- Open the lid, add spinach, garam masala and give it a good mix.
- Optionally add more water if needed and saute for a minute.
- Add a few drops of lime juice while serving.