Palakura Pappu (Spinach Dal)

Palakura Pappu or Palak dal is a  traditional south Indian dal prepared with lentils, spinach and green chillies. It is a healthy one pot curry prepared with 1 teaspoon of oil and in less than 20 minutes. Palak dal goes well with any Indian bread ,steamed rice or jeera rice.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 5 to 6 servings


  1. Tuvar dal/ split pigeon peas: 1 cup
  2. Spinach: 1 medium sized bunch (cleaned, washed and roughly cut)
  3. Onion: 1 medium sized ( cut into large pieces)
  4. Tomato: 1 to 2 medium sized (cut into large pieces)
  5. Green chilli: 4 to 5 (according to taste)
  6. Garlic: 3 to 4 cloves
  7. Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
  8. Turmeric: ½ teaspoon
  9. Tamarind: a small lemon sized or ½ lemon
  10. Salt: 1 teaspoon(according to taste)
  11. Oil: 1 teaspoon for tempering
  12. Mustard seed, cumin seeds, urad dal: 1 teaspoon (for tempering)
  13. Red chilli: ½ broken for tempering
  14. Curry leaves: 4 to 5 for temperingIMG_5625


  1. Wash dal with water 2 times.
  2. Take a pressure cooker and put washed dal and add 11/2 cup of water.IMG_5628
  3. Add cleaned and roughly chopped spinach, onion,tomato,green chillies, ½ teaspoon turmeric,1 spoon cumin seeds, 2 garlic cloves, small lemon sized tamarind. (If you want to add lemon juice, you can avoid tamarind. Do not add lemon juice at this point of time. You can add lemon juice just before serving the dal).IMG_5633
  4. Cover the lid and allow to cook on medium flame till 2 whistles to come. Switch off the flame and allow to cool for 5 minutes before opening the lid.
  5. Open the lid and add salt and mix well. Transfer dal to a serving bowl.IMG_5644
  6. Now it is the time to prepare tempering.
  7. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal,red chilli, chopped garlic. Allow mustard to crackle. Switch off the flame.IMG_5646
  8. Add curry leaves and mix.IMG_5649
  9. Pour tempering over spinach dal. Pour juice of 1/2 lemon over the dal and serve.IMG_5650
  10. Serve tasty and healthy Spinach Dal along with roti or steamed rice, any pickle and Papad.


  1. You can also use mixed dal and spinach to prepare this dal.
  2. Replace spinach with Fenugreek leaves to prepare tasty Methi Dal.
  3. Replace spinach with Amaranthus leaves to prepare Tothakura dal.

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