Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Spinach ~ Garlic Dal (Palakura~Vellulli Pappu)

Toor dal and spinach – no onions but lots of roasted garlic makes this dal unique. You may already know, spinach and garlic make a great combination. In this recipe, garlic is finely chopped and roasted to gold color. Cooking in this manner completely changes the character of the garlic. The garlicy smell disappears and what standouts is the mellow sweet and cashew nut like taste, giving the spinach dal a flavorful boost.

Preparation is 3-step process. (1) Cook toor dal until it falls apart (2) saute garlic and spinach (3) mix cooked toor dal and spinach-garlic. Add seasoning and simmer the whole combination for few minutes.


½ cup of toor dal and half teaspoon of turmeric in 1 cup of water
Cook the dal until it falls apart
Mash the dal to smooth paste using a wood masher and keep it aside

Meanwhile Prep Work:
1 bunch of spinach – cut into small pieces
1 small whole bulb of garlic – peel and chop garlic into small pieces
4 dried red chillies – cut them into small pieces
Soak marble-sized tamarind in half-cup of water for juice

Do the Tadka:
Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a big saucepan. Add and toast:
Dried red chilli pieces
Few pieces of curry leaves
One teaspoon of each – cumin and mustard seeds

Stir in garlic. Saute to until golden. Take care not to burn.
Add the finely chopped spinach and saute until the leaves wilt and come together

Stir in and Simmer:
Stir in smoothly mashed toor dal to this sauteed spinach-garlic mixture
Add a tablespoon of tamarind juice, also half teaspoon each of – chilli powder and salt or to taste.
Stir to combine. If the dal is too tight, add about half cup of water.
Mix; close the lid and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.

Serve hot with ghee and rice for a great satisfying meal.

Spinach-Garlic Dal with Rice
Pickle, Rice, Spinach-Garlic Dal and Ghee – Meal Today

Recipe Source: Amma, Nandyala

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Garlic (Vellulli),Spinach,Toor Dal (Monday June 26, 2006 at 1:34 pm- permalink)
Comments (41)

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41 comments for Spinach ~ Garlic Dal (Palakura~Vellulli Pappu) »

  1. I agree that the garlic when roasted to golden color, gives a completely different taste. I often make spinach with masoor dal for rice, and spinach with toor dal for chapathi. The curry looks wonderful. Indeed a homely meal you have served! Am I the first to comment?

    Comment by RP — June 26, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

  2. First or last, you are always numero uno at “Mahanandi”, RP. 🙂
    Yep, me too. Spinach dal tastes great both with rice and chapati. SO easy to prepare, I particularly like this spinach-garlic combination.

    Comment by Indira — June 26, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

  3. My husband loves the combo of garlic, spinach and dal. Your pic looks mouth watering.

    Indira replies:
    He got a good taste.:)
    Thanks Krithika.

    Comment by Krithika — June 26, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

  4. hi indira,
    I had asked you a question about urid daal on your idli page..i did not get the concept of whole urid daal vs broken.. because all i see in the grocery store is split urid dal. how does whole round urid dal look like.
    I agree what you have written about garlic.It sweetens when you roast it. My favorite is when i roast the whole garlic(just the top root part cut off and rubbed in olive oil and salt )in aluminum foil placed in oven. YOu get these in plenty in cafe express as condiments and they are fun to pop them in mouth just by themselves.

    Indira replies:
    Hi Eve:
    There is not that much of a difference in split versus whole urad dal. Though I prefer whole urad dal for idlies, sometimes I do make them with split ones. Few Indian stores (mainly those in big cities like subji mandi etc) carry whole urad dal. It looks like white round ball. I will post a photo soon.
    Roasted garlic is the best, isn’t it? We often prepare them like that for our garlic roti or bread.

    Comment by Eve — June 26, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

  5. Hi Indira

    Spinach-garlic dal looks great, I made palakura pappu just now which tasted good , should have seen this recipie a little bit earlier, never mind, my next dish with palakura is spinach-garlic dal!!!

    Indira replies:
    If you try, let me know how you like it. Thanks Menaka.

    Comment by Menaka — June 26, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

  6. Hi Indira,
    Great blog – I’ve been reading for months and tried out a few recipes, but haven’t posted until now.
    We just got a bunch of greens from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Farm Share – but, no spinach. Ever try this recipe with kale or mustard greens? Or have any other greens suggestions?

    Indira replies:
    No spinach, I am surprised, isn’t it the peoples favorite green?
    I think this recipe tastes good with kale, but with mustard greens, I am not sure.

    Comment by Kumar — June 26, 2006 @ 2:48 pm

  7. Indira,
    The second photograph in this post is great. Reminds of home. So simple, so earthy, so homely.

    Indira replies:
    Yogurt and fruits are missing from the set (I removed them because of overcrowding), otherwise it would have made a complete homely meal.:)
    Thanks Vaishali.

    Comment by Vaishali — June 26, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  8. Indira, the empty steel plate is mine, you know! I will get ready, ok.

    What I do is once a week, is a little larger scale popu/tadka with mustard, dry red chilli and generous doses of cumin and urad dal.
    I keep about a few days stock this and use half a tespoonful of these in my dal-rice or pickle-rice. That is apart from the popu in the dish. That is my popu indulgence.

    Also, can I contribute to your kitchen utilities list? How?

    Indira replies:
    You don’t even have to ask for it, VTP. We are the true followers of “Athidi Devo Bhava” tradition.
    That sounds good, adding little bit extra punch to the meal.
    You sure can. Publish the image on your blog on Sundays. I will link to it from my Sunday ‘Indian Kitchen’ series. or if you want, you can send the image with details directly to me to publish on my blog. Your choice.
    Thanks for your interest in this series.

    Comment by Vidyanath Tirumala P — June 26, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

  9. Hi Indira,
    Very nice presentation. I make spinach sambar using onions. Never knew the recipe using garlic untill now. Over the weekend i tried redbell pepper chutney, it was big hit. Thanks for the recipes.

    Indira replies:
    Glad you tried and liked the chutney recipe, Madhu. Thanks for letting me know.

    Comment by Madhu — June 26, 2006 @ 5:15 pm

  10. Hi indira! i know spinach and garlic daal tastes so good amd moreover it is so healthy and nutricious food for people with cholestrol problem too. I’ll cook this atleast twice or thrice every week.My secret is because it is very fast and easy to cook.

    Indira replies:
    I got this recipe from Lakshmi of Prasad, Bhargavi. I usually prepare the spinach dal with onions, green chillies etc., When I tried this recipe at her home, I liked it somuch, and she kindly shared her family recipe with me. I’d have called you, if I knew that you too prepare the same way.:)
    I agree totally. and in this recipe, even with that amount of garlic, you won’t feel the unpleasant smell of garlic.

    Comment by bharghavi — June 26, 2006 @ 5:45 pm

  11. I adore garlic, spinach and masoor dal. That is true comfort food to me.

    You have me needing to make a pot of this tomorrow!

    Indira replies:
    We share some genes, it seems Barbara.
    Comfort food for me means dal.
    Your meal is going to be splendid for tomorrow. I am confident.:)

    Comment by Barbara — June 27, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  12. You have spread the feast, Now can I come for lunch please…:):)That pickle jar is the cutest!

    Indira replies:
    Why do you think we are taking photos, instead of serving up. We are waiting for you. Come soon, everything is getting cold. 🙂
    You are always welcome to our home Sumitha. You know that, right?
    I got it from flea market for 25 cents. isn’t it pretty?

    Comment by Sumitha — June 27, 2006 @ 3:16 am

  13. wow, that dal looks SCRUMPTIOUS!

    Indira replies:
    All capitols,… 🙂
    GLAD you liked it Shammi.

    Comment by shammi — June 27, 2006 @ 4:56 am

  14. Hi Indira,

    Loved the dal – made it last night – the smell and taste of garlic is just so divine. My family loved it immensely.

    Wonderful site ! Thanks a lot


    Indira replies:
    That sounds like wonderful dinner. I am happy to hear that you all liked this recipe.
    Thanks for letting me know, I greatly appreciate it.

    Comment by Sangeeta — June 27, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

  15. hey,
    came upon your site by chance!
    and I must say that its amazing! I am a grad student so need all the help I can get in cooking! and you take beautiful pictures!!

    Indira replies:

    Comment by disha — June 27, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

  16. hello indira,

    I am a frequent visitor to your site. Just wanted to tell you that its a wonderful site and keep up the good work. I would love to see your photo.

    Comment by jyothy — June 27, 2006 @ 4:13 pm

  17. Hello Indira,

    “where is spoon? i am feelin soooooooo hungry?!!”

    My husband found out what is so striking in that photo(ready to serve). He was looking for a spoon so that the food be served!! Its so well presented, that i was just feeling why the plate is empty, with so many delicasies around.
    One awsome pic.

    I tried you Pala kura pappu, and the taste is so subtle and delicate, first time when i made, i had with pappdam, i just had had and had…. for long time tasting every bite of it. Fantastic result!

    Comment by Aparna — June 27, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

  18. Hi Indira =) this one looks fab! actually all your recipes look fantastic! I can’t wait to try it on…may be on Saturday =D I will let you know how it turns out. Usually during the weekend (in the part of the world I live in it’s Thurs & Fri)I usually take a break from cooking =)
    I tried your recipe potato chana and also potato tamarind sauce. It was yummy…except I think I put too much of tamarind. Next time I will take it easy hehehehehehe…
    Keep up the excellent work Indira!

    Comment by Lil — June 27, 2006 @ 10:13 pm

  19. Indira,

    We tried this with methi instead of spinach (with majjiga mirapakayalu instead of red chillies) for dinner tonight and it turned out great just like every recipe of yours!

    I usually pressure cook my greens along with the dal but since I don’t like to overcook my vegetables (if I have a choice) I liked your recipe a lot! This is how I will make my dal with all greens from now on.


    Comment by Aparna T — June 28, 2006 @ 12:06 am

  20. Indira, love the pictures. This is one of my husband’s favorite. My version eliminates the tamarind and adds an extra spoon of jeera…

    Comment by Anu — June 28, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

  21. Jyothy : Thanks!

    Aparna: Believe it or not, I actually placed serving spoons on plates, but the image looked busy and I didn’t want it overcrowded so removed the spoons.:)
    Yep, other version also tastes great, that’s how I often prepare spinach dal. I am glad you liked that recipe.

    Aparna T: I’ve been looking for new recipes to try with methi. I am going to take your word and try cooking methi with garlic.
    Me too. I often pressure cook dal with spinach. But this recipe is a nice and tasty variation, glad you liked it too. Thanks for the letting me know.

    Anu: Without tamarind also sounds good. I’ll give it a try. Thanks.

    Comment by Indira — June 28, 2006 @ 10:02 pm

  22. Hello Indira,

    I tried this dal today and it came out really well. My husband doesn’t like garlic and he didn’t mind it in this dal.

    The spinach looks so green… In my usual way(I pressure cook it with dal itself) greens take almost black colour. This looks pretty healthy.

    Thanks a lot,

    Comment by Sushma Shinde — June 29, 2006 @ 9:17 am

  23. Hi Indira,
    I have tried ur spinach-garlic dal, it was yummy, the roasted garlic smelled very good in the dal.
    Thanks for the recipe


    Comment by Prathibha — June 29, 2006 @ 10:55 pm

  24. hi indira.

    paala koora / spinach are same ?

    Comment by harita — June 30, 2006 @ 8:07 am

  25. Hello Indira,
    I just cooked your spinach- garlic dal. It’s yummy!!! thank you again for a lovely dish =)

    Comment by Lil — June 30, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

  26. Hi Indira,

    Tasty , healthy spinach pappu. We love this. sometimes i do like this adding chana dal,silverbeet greens , onion, green chillies, lots of garlic. tastes like gongura pappu.

    Comment by lakshmi — July 2, 2006 @ 1:12 am

  27. Hi Indira,

    I made spinach garlic dal for lunch, it tasted awesome. I used turmeric generously:) so a bit of rawness from pasupu showed, will make sure to use less turmeric next time.
    Though Iam preparing for my vet licensure exam I make it a point to visit ur website everyday and try the recipies, cant imagine my day gone without having visited ur website
    great fan of urs:)

    Comment by Menaka — July 2, 2006 @ 3:37 pm

  28. This is the second time I made this, and it was awesome this time! I just kept eating the dal long after I ran out of rotis! Thanks! 😀

    Comment by shub — July 13, 2006 @ 10:12 am

  29. Hi Indira,
    I made this last night and it tasted simply divine. My husband and I ate the whole pot. He loves toor dal, and this recipe is definitely a keeper!

    Comment by Tashie — August 2, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  30. Hi Indira,
    Prepared this daal for dinnner and both my husband and me liked it very much.. Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe.

    Comment by Jyoti — November 8, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  31. Made this daal yesterday. It was awesome. My husband and I finished it off and there were no lefovers. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by lv — December 6, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  32. I just wanted to let you know I made your dal today Indira…and it tastes great! We’re having a proper southie dinner with yogurt and papad too! 🙂

    Comment by Nabeela — December 21, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  33. Hi Indira,

    Great recipe. You have a wonderful blog. I was looking for a spinach dal recipe and came across yours. Turned out real great. My husband and I loved it.


    Comment by Dhanya — February 18, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  34. I frequently visit your site. I love your work; so detailed with pictures and illustration. My husband doesn’t like spinach at all. I tried yours and he liked it. Then on when ever I do spinach, I use this recipe. It is good with idlies too.

    Keep the good work going..


    Comment by priya — April 4, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  35. […] Having spent most of his life in Hyderabad, my husband got a chance to develop a taste for a variety of dishes from the Andhra cuisine. Palak dal being among his top favorites. Whenever we visit an Andhra joint he takes a couple of helpings of the palak dal and by the end of the meal the other items in the thali remain intact while the dal is long gone. I tried my level best to make this dal a couple of times but it never really matched up the one we ate at the Andhra restaurants. Then one day, while I was going through Indira’s Mahanandi I found the recipe of ‘Palakura~Vellulli Pappu‘ which seemed like the same dal I had been looking for all along. […]

    Pingback by Palak Dal « Roma’s Space — April 20, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  36. Tried this out today. Turned out very well.
    Here is my experience :

    Comment by Roma — April 20, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  37. can we add masoor dal instead of toor dal.

    Comment by shreya — August 13, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  38. hi i was just going through this recipe and it was interesting to find out that the recipe was given to you by a Lakshmi Prasad,coz thats my name as well and i cook spinach dal a lot as well

    Comment by Lakshmi — February 17, 2009 @ 6:08 am

  39. You picture reminds me of my childhood days and makes me hungry even after I had my lunch. I could add the pickle from the jar in the pic and clear the thing and ask for more 🙂

    Comment by GL — March 29, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  40. I too make spinach dal with garlic. Its has that unique taste. My husband doesn’t love garlic that much, but he love this curry very much

    Comment by silpa — October 7, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  41. […] I tried my level best to make palak dal a couple of times but it never really matched up with the one we ate at the Andhra restaurants. One day, while I was going through Indira’s Mahanandi I found the recipe of ‘Palakura~Vellulli Pappu‘ which seemed like the same dal I had been looking for all along. […]

    Pingback by Palak Dal « Roma's Space — May 7, 2012 @ 2:02 am

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