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Spinach Dhal

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This spinach dhal is so easy to make and so good!

Lately I have been experimenting with dhal and trying to come up with different recipes like this spinach dhal.

It’s nothing too out of the ordinary but it’s simple and quick to prepare. If you’re looking for Indian vegetarian recipes to try, this dhal should be on your list.

spinach dhal

Inexpensive, delicious and healthy… Give spinach dhal a try.

About this spinach dhal recipe…

Spinach and lentils go so well together. Spinach dhal like this one are served all over India, both as a main course and side.

To develop this recipe, I simply gathered a few ingredients that I knew go well with dhal and through them in.

The end result as just as good as I expected.

Working ahead…

Lately I have been trying to cook healthier meals so I almost always have some cooked dhal on hand.

It will keep in the fridge for about a week and also freezes well. So I recommend doing this.

By having ready-cooked dhal on hand, you can be free to experiment with your own ideas. They may not always be as good as this spinach dhal but with practice and a bit of creativity, you will be able to come up with many recipes of your own.

If you would like to fry up the tarka ahead of time, this can also be done a day or so before serving. Just heat it up and pour it over the cooked spinach dhal.

Step by step photos…

It’s always good to see how things are made in pictures. 

So I have done that for you here with this spinach dhal. Don’t worry too much about following the recipe exactly. You can use more or less of any of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe.

simmering lentils

Soak the dhal for 30 minutes and then bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the top.

Simmering lentils

After about 30 minutes, the dhal will become soft. Be sure to add more water as required to do so. 

Adding spinach to dhal

Once you’re happy with the consistency of the dhal, you can add the spinach. I used 4 block of frozen spinach but fresh could also be used.

Making tarka

While the dhal is simmering, make the tarka. Bring some ghee to a simmer and add the black mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the other whole spices and curry leaves.

Preparing tarka

Then add the remaining ingredients and sizzle on medium heat until the onion is soft and light brown. Stir in the ground spices.

Finishing spinach dhal

Pour the tarka over the spinach dhal and season with salt to taste.

spinach dhal

Serve with rice or chapatis.

spinach dhal

So good! This spinach dhal can be prepared in less than 40 minutes.

If you like this spinach dhal recipe, why not give some of these a try too…

Balti Dhal Fry
Chana Dhal
Tarka Dhal
Black Dhal
Chana Saag Balti

Yield: 4

Spinach dhal

spinach dhal
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 50 minutes


  • 400g (2 cups) chana dhal
  • 4 cubes of frozen spinach or the equivalent fresh
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Soak the lentils in in water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse and then place in a large pan with twice as much water. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. After about 30 minutes, the dhal will thicken and the lentils will be really soft.
  3. Add the spinach and stir well to combine. Continue simmering while you make the tarka, but be sure not to burn the lentils. Add more water if needed.
  4. To make the tarka, heat the ghee over medium-high heat. When visibly hot, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves and allow these all to infuse into the oil for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the chopped onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft, light brown and translucent.
  6. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste, garlic slivers , chillies, tomatoes and ground spices and stir it all up well
  7. Pour this over the cooked dhal and stir it in, retaining a little of the tarka for presentation at the end.
  8. Season with salt to taste and garnish with the chopped coriander to serve.

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I hope you enjoy this spinach dhal recipe. If you do give it a try, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Friday 24th of May 2024

I love this recipe and I love the fact that you kind of worked out what goes well together and created the recipe. I've started a Dhal journey and am trying to research and make different ones but many of the recipes use a pressure cooker and measure in whistles. My mother used a pressure cooker but I have no clue. Have you used one and if so, would you consider adding a YouTube educational video on how to cook lentils in one?

Love your work

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

Yes I have used a pressure cooker as I have one that’s really easy to use called an Insta Pot which doubles as a slow cooker. I’d recommend it as it really doesn’t require many instructions. Thanks Dan

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