Dal Paalak Saag / Grams Spinach Mash

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Some recipes are so simple and basic to the roots but still so flavorful. I am a sucker for easy, delicious, nutritious and rustic recipes, like I am a sucker for folk tales, songs and dance forms. The folk form is simple, adaptive and still gorgeous, be it food or art. 

Food is Art !


Chana dal is split Bengal gram bean and gives a nice flavor and texture to anything that it is cooked with or by itself. It is a pure vegetarian delight and if I call it a vegetarian’s meat, I am not faking it.

Paalak is Spinach and Saag is the preparation with any kind of greens like mustard leaves, spinach, kale or amaranth or methi leaves. 

The Dal Paalak Saag is one such recipe. Basic. Rustic. Flavorful. Healthy. Delicious.


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Dal Paalak Saag

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kitchen Equipments Required

A sauce pan with lid or pressure cooker, chopping board, knife, a small sauté pan, potato masher.

Chana dal – 1/2 cup, washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes.

Spinach – 2&1/2 cups. You may use part kale or mustard leaves too.

Tomato – 1/2 cup, finely chopped

Ginger – 1 small piece, chopped fine

Green Chili – 1 small, finely chopped

Oil – 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp

Cumin powder – 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Water – 3&1/2 – 4 cups

For tempering 

Ghee/Oil – 2 tsp

Asafetida / Hing – a pinch

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Dry red chili, whole – 1

Red chili powder – 1/4 to 1/2 tsp


1. Take the sauce pan and heat 1 tsp oil in it. 

2. Lower the flame and add finely chopped tomatoes, green chili, ginger, turmeric, cumin powder, red chili powder and sauté for 2 minutes. 

3. Drain the chana dal and add to the pan. Sauté again for 2 more minutes. 

4. Now add the chopped spinach or greens of your choice. Stir well and cook for another 2 minutes till the greens are wilted. 

5. Add 3&1/2 cups of water and salt to the pan. Stir. Cover with lid. Cook on lower medium flame for 15-18 minutes. Stir occasionally in between. 

6. Remove the lid. The Dal grain should be fully cooked, not necessarily mushed. Take the potato masher and go through the saag and mash coarsely. The Dal Palak Saag is ready.

Preparing the Tempering

Heat ghee in the sauté pan. Add hing/asafetida and cumin seeds to it. Lower the heat. When the seeds splutter, add whole dry chili and chili powder. Switch off the gas stove. Add the tempering on the top of dal.

Serving Suggestions – It is best served with rotis, paranthas and naans or even Jeera rice.

Make it this weekend and enjoy with family and friends!


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  1. This was the first recipe of yours that didn’t 100% turn out. The flavor was bomb, but it was way too soupy. In fact, I wasn’t able to mash any of the Chana Dal because of it. Is 1/2 cup the right amount for them?

    1. Claudia – my guess is on the quality of the Chana dal. Normally Chana dal swells up beautifully and ready to be mushed. Did you soak the dal for 20-30 minutes?
      Also, once it is all mushed with a potato masher, it becomes thick in consistency.
      I would say, if you liked the flavors, then dontey it again. May be use lesser water to avoid the soupyness of the recipe. Also cook the Chana dal longer till it is of desired consistency.
      Let me know your thoughts. I always appreciate your comments.

  2. Trying today . Simple and very inviting . Best part is no garlic and onions so my daughter will love this dish today . Will share my pic later 🙂 thanks for Sharing simple healthy ideas .