Hearty, Coconut Spinach Dal served with fluffy basmati rice and warm naan – the perfect comfort food.
This year we decided to put a focus on a few key recipe traits; whole foods, easy to make and delicious! This hearty Coconut Spinach Dal checks all those boxes. A creamy coconut milk base with stewed red lentils and layered with fragrant seasonings. All paired with fluffy basmati rice and a warmed naan. There are some recipes that feel like a big warm hug, this is one of them.
This is one of Dev’s favourite winter foods. A good, hearty Indian curry is all she needs to get through one of her least favourite times of the year. It’s comforting and cozy – all that’s missing is a warm blanket and the comfort of your couch. Coconut Spinach Dal blends a medley of delicious spices and seasonings with creamy coconut milk and red lentils into a beautiful fragrant and delicious dal.
But first, what is dal?
Dal is both an ingredient and a dish: it refers to a type of dried split lentil and the deeply spiced stew made from simmering the split lentils until broken down. In this case we’re talking about the latter. How dal is prepared depends on what region of Indian you’re taking inspiration from. There are two main ways to serve up Dal. In southern India, dal is soupy and served over rice; in northern India, dal is a thicker consistency for scooping up with roti, the traditional Indian wheat flatbread. Our recipe leans more to the northern India variation but we also opted to serve over rice, but if you’d like a soupier dal just add more water until you get the consistency you want!
To make this Coconut Spinach Dal you start with a heavy bottomed pot, like a dutch oven. Heat over a medium heat and add a little oil – once warmed sautee onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant. Once fragrant we added in layer upon layer of spices. Alternatively you could use a dal spice mix found at the grocery store, but building your own allows you to control how much of each spice you put in. Stir in the spices and allow to cook a few minutes, bonus points if you start seeing the bottom of the pot brown – that’s where all the delicious flavour is! Pour in coconut milk, water and bouillon paste – stir to combine. Add in the split red lentils and cook until just tender. Stir in some spinach and enjoy a big bowl of dal-iciousnes.
Creamy Coconut Spinach Dal
- 15 g (4 cloves) garlic, minced
- 110 g (4 medium) shallots, diced
- 25 g ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp corriander
- salt and pepper
- 18 g (1 tbsp) bouillon paste
- 400 mL (1 can) coconut milk
- 720 mL (3 cups) water
- 300 g (1.5 cups) dried red lentils
- 142 g baby spinach
- 6 naan bread
- coconut yogurt, for topping
- cilantro, for topping
- In a heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat add oil and heat for 1 minute. Add shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add spices and stir to coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add bouillon, water and coconut milk - stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then add lentils and turn heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 min.
- Once cooked, turn off heat and stir in A LOT of spinach, handfuls at a time.
- Serve with naan or rice, coconut yogurt and cilantro to taste.