Ashisha's spinach lentil soup

Gathering Around the Table

January 30, 2019 | People | Volume 23 Issue 3
Barb Draper | Editorial Assistant
Photo courtesy of Ashisha Lal

In 2018 Ashisha Lal, a young Mennonite from India, worked at the Mennonite Central Committee thrift shop in Kitchener, Ont. This spinach lentil soup (Palak dal) reminds her of her mother who died of cancer. Read her story here.

¼ cup pigeon pea lentils or yellow split peas
¼ cup red lentils 
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup chopped tomato
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1-2 green chilies, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon red chili powder
2 - 2½ cups water for cooking lentils
½ - 1 cup water, to add at the last step
2 - 3 tablespoons ghee or oil
Salt as required
Cilantro for topping

Wash the lentils and prepare in a pressure cooker with 2 to 2 ½ cups water, turmeric powder, tomato and chopped garlic. Pressure cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils become soft and mushy. Mash and set aside. (If using a regular pot, cook the lentils for about 1½ hours.)

Heat ghee or oil in a pan, fry cumin, then add chopped ginger. Fry until the raw ginger aroma abates. Add chopped chili and fry for half a minute. Add chopped spinach, red chili powder and asafoetida and sauté until spinach becomes soft and stops releasing water.

Add mashed lentils to spinach and add water (½ - 1 cup to desired thickness). Add salt and cilantro and simmer 5–6 minutes. Serve hot with rice and a side vegetable dish or salad or Indian yoghurt.

This recipe serves four people.

Photo courtesy of Ashisha Lal

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