South Indian cuisine has a lot in common with the culinary art in the neighbouring country: Sri Lanka. The thick gravy in this recipe is originally prepared with coconut milk, as the region is abundant in coconut. I have tried it out with milk, which could be used as a substitute in regions where coconut is difficult to obtain; though the taste will vary a little. Also, in the original recipe great care is taken to see that the lentil does not become pulpy and can be separately visible. If adding it in a child’s diet, then the lentil can be cooked soft and pulpy.
Sri Lankan Palak Dal
Time taken: 50 min
Taste-o-meter: Slightly spicy
- Split pigeon peas (toor dal): little more than 1 cup
- Spinach (chopped): 1 bunch
- Small onion (finely chopped): 1
- Small tomato (finely chopped): 1
- Dry, red chillies: 2
- Crushed garlic: 1 tsp
- Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Milk: 1/2 cup
- Salt to taste
- Oil: 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds: 1/2
- A few curry leaves
- Soak the dal for 25 min and cook it in minimum water.
- Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and add mustard seeds. When it starts spluttering, add the cinnamon, chillies, garlic, cumin seeds, curry leaves and onions. Stir and fry till the onions turn transparent.
- Add the tomatoes and mix well for a minute.
- Add the chopped spinach and lower the flame. Let it cook. Keep stirring and mix all the ingredients well.
- Add the cooked dal and stir gently. Bring it to a boil; reduce fire and add the milk and salt.
- Simmer for 5 min and remove from fire.
- Serve hot with steamed white rice and pickle. This is also a good accompaniment with rotis/paranthas.