This is a simple daal preparation, which many a times I drink by itself. Steaming hot, flavorful and mildly spicy, this is a perfect way to end a hectic day and retire with a book on the sofa. I love indian daal, to the point that I really crave for it ALL the time. It is my favorite comfort food and like a key that never fails to open a door, it always always soothes me. A soul-food I call it. And really, preparing lentils this way is one of the simplest things on the earth. You can’t mess it up even if you tried.
It uses copious amounts of turmeric, primarily what contributes to the yellow color, although the lentils themselves give the color too. Turmeric is a special, close-to-my-heart, dear and integral part of Indian cooking and my family is by no means an exception. I use it liberally in many dishes, even in some unconventional ones, like this recipe here- the vegan carrot slaw. Turmeric epitomizes the Indian kitchen to me, indeed it’s impossible to imagine one without. And a brilliant addition it is to any kitchen too, since it’s health benefits are legendary. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory agent and a great antiseptic too. It’s potential health benefits to help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, lower cholesterol and improve liver function are only now becoming more widely known. To add to it, it is an iron dense and other micro-nutrient packed food. Really, need I give more reasons to include this little bright yellow ingredient to your cooking and more importantly, this particular daal/lentil soup?
Speaking of iron rich food, the other crucial ingredient of this recipe is spinach leaves. Packed with iron, vitamin A and other essential nutrients, it constitutes as our most favorite leafy green.
Of course by all means, you could always prepare this soup and have it like a daal. A straight forward way that would be, where you can eat it with steaming hot basmati rice!
Your Map to Spinach Lentil Soup
Author: Minty Chai
Total time: 35 min
- 1 1/2 cup toor daal
- 3 cups of water, to cook lentils
- 3 full garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 serrano chili
- 3-4 curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon each cumin and coriander powder
- 1 1/2 cup of spinach leaves
- 3-4 kokam
- 1 tablespoon goda masala (recipe coming soon)
- Wash and rinse toor daal thoroughly. To your pressure cooker or a regular pot, add the washed daal and twice the amount of water. Cook the daal well (count cooker whistles according to your particular cooker); add more water as required if cooking in a regular cooking vessel.
- In a separate vessel, heat oil sufficiently on a medium heat and add mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to rise and pop, add turmeric powder. Quickly add curry leaves and asafoetida. Add garlic, chilies and mix everything thoroughly.
- Now add spinach leaves and cook for a couple of minutes till leaves shrink to half their original size. Add cumin and coriander powder. Mix everything well.
- Add cooked daal and add enough water to get soup consistency. Add goda masala and kokum. Stir and continue to cook until the mixture boils. Once you see some foam forming on top, remove from heat and serve immediately. Add some chopped cilantro to garnish and enjoy!