Spinach tastes excellent in baked quiche, paalak paneer and paalak fritters(pakoda). But you prepare it as a vegetable, kids will ignore it. With spinach, tomatoes enhance its taste a lot. I always have a liking for paalak ki sabzi. Honestly speaking, I was a good kid with my eating habits probably because at my parent’s house it was compulsory for us to eat everything which was served in meals. My younger sister Nandini was a little rebellious with this rule and to get food of her choice she started cooking at an early age. I guess I was happy by having a variety of food (cooked by Nandini and mother) on the table, so never bothered to trouble myself in the kitchen till I was forced to live out of the town because of my job.
Coming back to spinach, my mother used to prepare daal (lentils) along with spinach. Mostly she used green split moong daal (chilke vaali moong daal) and chana daal (split chickpea lentil). I use chana daal for daal palak. Chana daal is slightly heavy for digestion so I feel that adding spinach will balance it. For tadka (seasoning) in daal I mostly use mustard oil or olive oil, but desi ghee will enhance its taste a lot and you will get wonderful dhaba style daal.
Chana daal 1cup
Shredded spinach 1/2 cup
Water- to boil daal 4 cups (after boiling if you feel daal is too thick, add some more water)
Salt- 1 tsp (add or reduce as per your taste)
Turmeric powder-slightly less than 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) – 1/8 tsp
Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 1-2
Tomato medium size 2 (chopped, grated or puree)
Grated ginger 1/2 tsp ,
Onion 1 (chopped)
Wash nicely and soak chana daal in three cups of water for an hour.
Wash and chop spinach leaves finely.
After an hour mix chopped spinach leaves and soaked chana daal together in a pressure cooker, add salt and turmeric powder and cook it until chana daal is cooked properly.
Now we will prepare our seasoning or tadka for daal. Chop onions and green chillies finely. Grate ginger and tomatoes.
Heat 2 tbsp oil/ghee in a pan and crackle cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add onion, ginger and green chillies till onions are light brown. Now add tomatoes and fry everything till it starts leaving the oil from sides.
When daal is completely cooked, add daal in this tadka, mix it properly and serve hot in lunch or dinner.