Saag Masoor Dal (Indian Dhal with Spinach)

    40 mins

    This is truly a vegetarian comfort food. Add the coconut milk towards the end of cooking and this dish freezes well too.

    241 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
    • 3 1/2 cups water
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
    • 500g spinach, rinsed and chopped
    • 30g butter
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. Rinse lentils and soak for 20 minutes. Drain.
    2. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and stir in lentils, turmeric and chilli powder. Cover and return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook 5 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add more water if necessary.
    3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and gently fry onions with cumin and mustard seeds, stirring often. Cook until onions are transparent, then add to lentil mixture. Stir in salt, garam masala and coconut milk and cook until heated through.

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    Reviews in English (178)


    I tried this recipe once a few weeks ago and was moderately happy with the results. I tried it again last night, but made a few adjustments: I started to saute the onions first (and added 3/4 tspn curry powder) and let them caramelize (about 20 minutes on low.) I added a pouch of vegetable buillon to the boiling water, doubled the salt and used 3/4 tspn chili powder instead of the 1/2 tspn in the recipe. Lastly, I used 1 package frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and drained), and 3/4 cup plain (NOT vanilla) yogourt. My boyfriend grew up eating Indian food, and I was put on a pedestal after making this dish! I served with whole wheat tortillas as I didn't have naan or roti available. This (adjusted version) recipe is now forever in my collection and I know it will be well-received by all. Yeah for me!  -  18 Jan 2003  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I have recently switched to a vegetarian diet and am collecting good vegetarian recipes. I have been looking for a good dahl recipe and this is it! After reading the other reviews, I tripled the salt, doubled the tumeric and cumin and added a little red pepper. My husband, a meat eater, was ranting and raving about wonderful this dish was. I served it wtih naan and rice. I have sent this recipe to friends who asked for it. Definately a keeper! Will make it again and again...Thanks for the recipe Gillian!  -  20 May 2002  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I have made this recipe three times so far and it tastes very good. I made it twice with brown lentils (supermarket variety) without spinach or coconut milk. It tasted great but the cooking time was about 40 min rather than 20 min because of the different type of lentil. Just be aware of this if you are using brown lentils. The brown lentils retained their shape, which I liked, but it might not be as authentic. I also made it once with red lentils and spinach (no coconut milk). It was again very tasty, but there was WAY too much water called for. The red lentils (as expected) broke down in texture and cooked very quickly, but I had to cook at least an extra 20 minutes to get rid of the extra water. I only used 6 oz. spinach too, so I imagine if you add all the spinach there might be more water in there. Just realize when you make this recipe you may have to play with the timing or water amounts the first time. I'll make it again with brown lentils, cooking for about 40 minutes. Tastes great!  -  21 Dec 2003  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)