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Spinach and Coconut Dal

by , featured in Chetna's Healthy Indian Vegetarian
Published by Mitchell Beazley
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Spinach and lentils is a very typical combination and I have got a few ways to cook them together, but this particular recipe is special. It flavours the spinach with lovely spices and coconut, making the taste unique. You can eat a bowl of this on its own, or serve it with rice.

Image of Chetna Makan's Spinach and Coconut Dahl
Photo by Nassima Rothacker


Serves: 4

For the lentils

  • 250 grams toor dal
  • 1.2 litre water
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

For the spinach

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 50 grams fresh coconut (roughly chopped)
  • 200 grams fresh spinach
  • 100 millilitres boiling water

For the tadka

  • 1 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida


Spinach and Coconut Dal is a guest recipe by Chetna Makan so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. Start by combining the lentils, water, salt and turmeric in a pan and bringing them to the boil. Reduce the heat, then cover and cook for 40–45 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
  2. To cook the spinach, heat the ghee in another pan and add the urad dal. Cook for 2 minutes on a low heat until slightly golden, then add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, dried red chillies and coconut. Let it all sizzle for a minute.
  3. Add the spinach and boiling water. Cover and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz to a purée.
  4. Tip the purée into the pan of cooked lentils and return to the boil.
  5. For the tadka, heat the ghee in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, dried red chillies and asafoetida and let them sizzle for a minute. Stir this mixture into the lentils and serve.
  6. Store in an airtight box in the fridge for 2–3 days. Reheat well before serving.

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