With coming of Autumn, people find themselves craving warm nurturing foods that are easy to prepare and boost their systems. This is one of my personal favourites, spinach toor dhal, or spinach lentil soup. It’s the perfect recipe for the season because it is delicious and contains many ingredients that support your system. It is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
There are many available lentils on the market, and if you are not familiar with the world of lentils they all seem to be the same. That said, each variety of lentil has its own unique taste, texture and flavour. Toor dhal (or split pigeon peas) is my favourite variety of lentil (although you can use other types in most recipes). It has a rich flavour, smooth texture and minimal after taste. Toor dhal is a rich source of protein and is considered both a lentil and a vegetable. It is low in fat and cholesterol, a good source of folic acid, fibre, and carbohydrates.
Spinach is also an absolutely essential food. It is rich in antioxidants and It is also a good source of dietary fibre. If you want to be creative with this preparation you can also add other vegetables to this mix, like zucchini, but this is optional. Zucchini in rich in vitamin C, and contributes to overall respiratory health. These vegetables can be cooked separately and added at the end.
The tadka for this dhal is what is added to the dhal once it has been cooked. Tadka can essentially be translated as the seasoning for the lentils. This is made with sautéed chopped onions, garlic, and spices. This recipe uses turmeric, asafoetida, cumin powder and chilli powder. Within the realm of kitchen medicine, turmeric is king. It is said to be anti-inflammatory and can be used both internally and topically. Asafoetida makes lentils easier to digest, and reduces flatulence. Cumin aids in digestion. Onion, ginger, and garlic also aid in digestion. This trio of vegetables also improve health. Mustard seeds are an aromatic spice rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorous and they also boost your system, and contribute to overall health.
The dhal can be cooked with a pressure cooker or, if soaked for six to eight hours it can be cooked on the stove. I prefer the later method as pressure cookers are sometimes cumbersome to use, but make the cooking time faster.
Enjoy this healthy and delicious Spinach Toor Dhal