Indian Dahl with Spinach Recipe -
Indian Dahl with Spinach Recipe
  • READY IN 40 mins

Indian Dahl with Spinach

Recipe by  

"This is a very yummy, authentic dal. For variation, add coconut milk towards the end of cooking. Freezes well."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    40 mins


  1. Rinse lentils and soak for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and stir in salt, lentils, turmeric and chili powder. Cover and return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook 5 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add more water if necessary.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute onions with cumin and mustard seeds, stirring often. Cook until onions are transparent, and then combine with lentils. Stir in garam masala and coconut milk and cook until heated through.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
May 15, 2003

I tried this recipe once a few weeks ago and was moderately happy with the results. I tried it again last night, but made a few adjustments: I started to saute the onions first (and added 3/4 tspn curry powder) and let them caramelize (about 20 minutes on low.) I added a pouch of vegetable buillon to the boiling water, doubled the salt and used 3/4 tspn chili powder instead of the 1/2 tspn in the recipe. Lastly, I used 1 package frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and drained), and 3/4 cup plain (NOT vanilla) yogourt. My boyfriend grew up eating Indian food, and I was put on a pedestal after making this dish! I served with whole wheat tortillas as I didn't have naan or roti available. This (adjusted version) recipe is now forever in my collection and I know it will be well-received by all. Yeah for me! :)

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 04, 2008

Looks good. A bit of change in cooking. After butter melts add mustard seeds first. Let tem pop then add cumin seeds,let them brown, then add onins.

Mar 05, 2003

I have recently switched to a vegetarian diet and am collecting good vegetarian recipes. I have been looking for a good dahl recipe and this is it! After reading the other reviews, I tripled the salt, doubled the tumeric and cumin and added a little red pepper. My husband, a meat eater, was ranting and raving about wonderful this dish was. I served it wtih naan and rice. I have sent this recipe to friends who asked for it. Definately a keeper! Will make it again and again...Thanks for the recipe Gillian!

Dec 22, 2003

I have made this recipe three times so far and it tastes very good. I made it twice with brown lentils (supermarket variety) without spinach or coconut milk. It tasted great but the cooking time was about 40 min rather than 20 min because of the different type of lentil. Just be aware of this if you are using brown lentils. The brown lentils retained their shape, which I liked, but it might not be as authentic. I also made it once with red lentils and spinach (no coconut milk). It was again very tasty, but there was WAY too much water called for. The red lentils (as expected) broke down in texture and cooked very quickly, but I had to cook at least an extra 20 minutes to get rid of the extra water. I only used 6 oz. spinach too, so I imagine if you add all the spinach there might be more water in there. Just realize when you make this recipe you may have to play with the timing or water amounts the first time. I'll make it again with brown lentils, cooking for about 40 minutes. Tastes great!

Feb 06, 2006

I have had 3 bowls of this! This is incredible and one would swear it came from an Indian restuarant. I had Masoor Dal (split red lentils) which cuts down on the cooking time. Only had frozen spinach and added 1 package. Did not have coconut milk so added a handful of unsweetened coconut and then stirred in a heaping tbsp. yogurt at the end. The blend of spices is incredible! The only addition of spice I used was 1/2 tsp. curry powder but kept all the other spices and measurements the same. Didn't do lentils in seperate pan. Just added them to the onion/garlic/mustard seed saute. Used 'roasted garlic chicken broth' in lieu of water. About half way thru I added spices and then spinach at the end. I had a bowl without the spinach and that was equally as good. I'd prepare this again and again even if I didn't have spinach. Served over Basmati rice that I dressed up with some whole cloves, onion flakes, green peas, and safrin. A+++ thanks for the recipe!

May 12, 2007

The rating is with the changes made from suggestions here. I doubled the spices, used broth instead of water. I didn't carmelize the onions, however, which wasn't missed. I tasted the dahl before I added the coconut milk (very tasty!), and then added the coconut milk. The addition of the coconut milk made it a tiny bit richer, but certaintly not sweeter. I wonder if the previous reviewer who was so disappointed with the addition of the coconut milk used sweeted coconut milk? It turned out wonderfully. Btw, this makes 4 main course helpings, not 4 side dish helpings, as I quickly learned from having doubled the recipe!

Jan 16, 2003

Really, really tasty! I substituted yogurt for the coconut milk and halved the amount of butter, and it was still great!

Nov 13, 2002

I've been looking for a dahl recipe for awhile and this one turned out really good. I made it more of a Chana Saag though. Which means that I added more spinach and chickpeas. I also added more salt(1tea), more garam masala(1tab) and a little red pepper(1tea). I eat Indian food alot, so this recipe will certainly become a part of my rotation of dinner meals.


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  • Calories
  • 362 kcal
  • 18%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 44.9 g
  • 14%
  • Cholesterol
  • 15 mg
  • 5%
  • Fat
  • 13.4 g
  • 21%
  • Fiber
  • 18.3 g
  • 73%
  • Protein
  • 21 g
  • 42%
  • Sodium
  • 693 mg
  • 28%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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