After the super cyclone Aamphan and subsequent storms & rains, now the temperature of Kolkata is increasing day by day like the number of COVID19 patients in the region. People started preferring doorstep vegetable shopping. After more than 2 months of lockdown, many offices & shops start opening now. Every person on the road looks similar because of the mask. Many people are using personal vehicles to reach their offices, shops etc. People are even using a bicycle to cover a distance like 15-20 km daily to reach their workplace because it is the safest & cheapest option, probably the only option for many people. At this situation demand of scooty & motorbikes is increasing. So the point is, everything is changing at this moment from the weather to people’s situation. People’s habits are also forced to be changed. Then why not dal curry too? So let’s have spinach dal curry (Dal Palak) dhaba style.
Just before janta curfew, I purchased many vegetable seeds a fertilizer for one a few weeks. I thought there would be a LOCKDOWN for a few weeks. But never expected such a long lockdown period.
But still, I was fortunate that I stocked some seeds & fertilizers and able to grow my own vegetable during this lockdown period. I grew brinjal, okra, chilli, bitter gourd, malabar spinach, cucumber, yardlong beans, watermelon, water spinach, pudina, winter spinach etc. Almost everything what I needed. But after the super cyclone, some plants were damaged. It took time to recover & rearrange my garden again.
I sowed methi (fenugreek) & palak (spinach) plants too. But I noticed winter leafy vegetables do not grow well in summer season even if you are growing those under shade or green net. So I cut palak and replaced it with Indian pennywort (A medicinal herb) which is known thankuni in Bengali. The rainy season is coming, so those plants will grow rapidly in the coming days.
I had only a small brunch of spinach which is not enough for palong curry. So I had to prepare either palak aloo or palak dal because those can be prepared with a lesser amount of palak leaves.
I tasted such dal palak in Haryana when I was residing in Delhi. I had that spinach dal curry at a roadside dhaba. It was super delicious. I never expected that. I was super hungry that day after travelling hours and the food was super tasty and prepared with ghee and served with fresh cream & coriander leaves. It looked mouthwatering & fresh. A full plate of salad was available for the free per table. We even asked more salad and they refilled the plate again for free. Any proper AC restaurant will ask for atleast Rs 40 per plate. That is why I could still remember the day.
I prepared the same dal palak with my own understanding and surprisingly it was delicious too. But not as much as it was at that dhaba. It might be because I was not that super hungry and as it was homemade, so not as rich as it was at dhaba. We can not add plenty of ghee & fresh cream for preparing a homemade meal.
Dal palak recipe
- ½ cup masoor dal
- 1 cup finely chopped spinach leaves
- 1 large size onion, paste
- 1 large size tomato, pureed
- 2 teaspoons ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1.5 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1.5 teaspoons red chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- Pinches of hing/asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon any vegetable oil
- ½ tablespoon ghee
- Heat oil & ghee in a cooking pot (kadai) and add cumin seeds, wait till it starts cracking
- Now add ginger & garlic paste, saute
- Add onion & tomato paste one by one and cook till it releases oil
- Now add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, hing and mix all
- Then add masoor dal and mix with all other spices and cook for next 2 minutes
- Now take spinach leaves in a grinder and pour 1.5 cups water and grind those leaves
- Pour it to the kadai, add salt and cook with dal over a medium flame
- Cover the pot with a lid and cook till dal is perfectly cooked and it reaches desired thickness & consistency