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Spinach Dal Fry

Instant Pot Spinach Dal Fry is prepared with spinach and lentils. This comforting and healthy dish is also known as Palak Dal.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Diet Vegan, Gluten-free, Healthy-ish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Nisha


for instant pot lentils

  • 1 ½ cups toor dal / split pigeon peas
  • 3 cups water you can add more later
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

for stovetop cooking process

  • 1 ½ tablespoon avocado oil
  • teaspoon asafoetida, hing use gluten-free hing
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 inch piece ginger chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 5 ounces baby spinach chopped
  • add dal
  • add ½ cup water up to 1 cup if need be
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon amchur powder mango powder
  • add tadka

for tadka / tempering

  • 1 ½ tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder



  • Soak the lentils in enough water so they're submerged. Drain and rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Add the soaked lentils along with 3 cups of water.
  • Close Instant Pot and cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes.
  • In the meantime, chop the ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Slice the green chilies (or you can chop too).
  • Set aside the dry spices - asafoetida (hing), cloves, and cumin seeds.


  • Heat up a dutch castiron on medium heat, once hot, add oil followed by the dry spices - hing, cloves, and cumin seeds. Saute for 45 seconds.
  • Add the onions, season with a little salt to taste, and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly brown and caramelized. This brings out the flavor of the dal so make sure you cook the onions properly.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Immediately add the following spices - a little salt to season the tomatoes, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and cumin powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now add a ¼ cup of water so the spices don't burn and cook down the tomatoes for another 3-4 minutes.
  • In the meantime, chop 5 ounces of baby spinach. I simply bought a 5-ounce bag from Whole Foods.
  • Check on the dal cooking in the Instant Pot. Stir it.
  • Back to the tomatoes - they've formed a paste-like consistency.
  • Now add all the chopped spinach. This will take a minute or two to cook down.
  • This is what you should have.
  • Add all the cooked dal to the spinach mixture.
  • Stir.

Prepare Tadka

  • In a small tadka pot, heat up oil, and then add Kashmiri red chili powder - this adds color and smokiness, but no spice. Alternatively, you may also use paprika.
  • Add tadka to the spinach dal.
  • Add garam masala and amchur (mango) powder.
  • Top over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro, onions, and achaar. Enjoy!



This recipe was updated on November 5, 2022.


Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2545IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg
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