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Red Lentil Dal with Spinach


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped or pushed through a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons of Panchpuran or 1/2 tsp black, or white sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, and (if available) 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon or lime, juiced (equal to about 2 tablespoons)
  • handful of baby spinach


  • Clean 1 cup of red lentils using a metal sieve and picking out any impurities you see. Then rinse the lentils well with cold water.
  • Pour cleaned lentils into a medium sauce pan. Add 3 cups of water. Bring lentils and water to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  • As the lentils are cooking, start preparing the onions and spices.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions. Cook until translucent.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring continuously, making sure that the garlic does not burn.
  • Add your spices to the onion and garlic. In my case the panchpuran, asafetida and turmeric. Cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the onions and spices to the cooked lentils. Add salt. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add lemon or lime juice. Cook for another couple minutes. Adjust salt if necessary.
  • Stir in chopped baby spinach and cook for another minute.
  • Remove from heat and serve with rice or naan.