Spinach, like eggplant, was something I avoided as a child. I didn't care how many times I heard that it was good for me. Even being a fan of Popeye didn't help. And then I was introduced to Indian cuisine.
The culinary ingenuity of the subcontinent transformed spinach from a childhood "yuck food" to something I regularly crave. Speaking of cravings, I love channa dal (small, split chickpeas). They just take forever to cook, which is why I eat quick-cooking masoor dal (pink lentils) more frequently.
1 Tbsp oil or ghee (I use olive oil for pretty much everything, regardless of cuisine)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp hing
2 black cardomom pods, pounded and broken
1 bay leaf
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup channa dal
6 cups water (or more as needed)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garam masala
1 can of spinach
1 cup tomato sauce
salt to taste (I didn't add any salt as the canned spinach and tomato sauce had plenty)
Sauté A for about 1 min in saucepan, then add B. Sauté for a minute more, or until garlic becomes golden brown. Add C to saucepan and stir well. Bring to a high boil, then lower to a vigorous simmer.
Depending on the age of the dal, it will need to simmer from 1-2 hours. A pressure cooker can really cut the time down on this, but sadly I no longer have one :(. Once the dal is well-cooked, add D and serve! I was hungry, so I chowed down on this all by myself, but this recipe can easily feed 2-4 people if served with rice.
Palak Dal (Spinach Split-chickpea Stew)
For the protein-conscious, this recipe packs a total of 62 grams of protein (48 from the legumes and 14 from everything else).