Easy Moong Dal Palak (Instant pot & Pressure cooker)

A creamy, flavorful palak dal recipe made with simple everyday ingredients and saves you time and calories! Learn how to make this easy moong dal palak recipe on stovetop/ instant pot/ pressure cooker.

moong dal palak in a metal bowl.

About the recipe

An easy recipe for palak with dal that never fails to make an impact, whatever the time of the year and wherever you are. Like the popular chole masala, this dal can also be made in about 30 minutes (or less if you use pressure cooker or instant pot).

Have this dal and rice for a delicious and quick weeknight dinner. Or use naan, chapati or paratha to scoop out this curry for a satisfying vegan Indian meal.

Moong dal is nothing but split and skinned green moong beans (and palak is spinach if you didn’t know).

Recipes with moong dal are popular because it cooks faster than most other dal varieties like chana dal and toor dal. It can be easily cooked in a pot on stovetop even if you don’t have a pressure cooker or instant pot.

You can also make coconut mung bean curry with whole moong beans by soaking and sprouting them. The green skin adds more texture and flavor to the curry.

This dal palak recipe is mildly spiced so if you want to introduce Indian curries in your menu or to your kids, this recipe qualifies as the best candidate. (A close second would be the Kerala egg roast recipe.)

One of the easiest and yummiest recipes with moong dal, it is also chockful of nutrients and uses just 2 teaspoons of oil. So HEALTHY!

Want to prepare a last-minute dinner? An inexpensive but nutritious meal? Comfort food that’s also healthy?

This palak moong dal will be the answer to all your curry woes. I promise.

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Why you’ll love this recipe

  • I would recommend this quick and easy dal recipe for newbies entering the “world of curries”.
  • It doesn’t need curry powder or coconut milk.
  • It requires no roasting or blending; just tempering towards the end of cooking.
  • This palak with dal requires very few basic ingredients.
  • It takes less than 20 minutes to cook. Or even less if you have a pressure cooker or instant pot.
  • The protein-rich moong dal combine with the nutrient-dense spinach to give you an entirely plant-based health boost.

Ingredients

labelled ingredients for palak dal recipe.
  • Moong dal- split and skinned moong beans
  • Palak/spinach
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Green chilli
  • Turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • For tempering (tadka)
    • sesame oil or vegetable oil
    • mustard
    • urad dal (split & peeled black lentils)
    • dry red chilies
    • a few curry leaves

How to make moong dal palak

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Instant pot or pressure cooker

Place lentils with all the vegetables and spices with water (2½ cups for 1 cup of moong dal) in the pressure cooker or instant pot. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on medium flame in the pressure cooker. If using an instant pot, pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

Stovetop method

This method takes a bit longer but is doable. Cook lentils with all the vegetables and spices, except spinach. Cook in a pot on medium flame with an additional cup of water. Do not close. When dal is cooked to a soft and creamy consistency, add spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the flame.

Tempering (tadka)

Roast mustard, chilies, urad dal and curry leaves in oil and add to dal palak. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s as SIMPLE as that.

Recipe tips

If you have the time, rinse and soak the lentils for about 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. This serves 2 purposes: it results in a more flavorful and creamy dal. It also helps in better digestion of dal and avoids bloating.

If you’re new to lentils, add a pinch of asafoetida to make dal easier to digest. Alternatively, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.

If you like your dal spicier, add 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder when you roast the chilies and urad dal for tempering. Add 2 tablespoons of water, bring it to a boil and pour the tempering onto the cooked dal.

palak moong dal in a metal bowl with a bowl of rice next to it.

What do you pair palak dal with?

Printable Curry Paste Recipe

Grab a printable copy of the curry paste that helps home cooks like you cook different curries in 30 minutes or less:

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Health benefits of lentil/dal

  • Lentils are an inexpensive way to get a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • They are great sources of health-promoting phytochemicals.
  • Lentils are rich in protein, which makes them an excellent alternative to meat.
  • The fiber-rich dal improves your overall gut health.

Love dal but not in a mood for curry? Go for the chana dal soup with turmeric for that hot and spicy comfort. Or try the beetroot dal vada, a simple snack with chana dal. Chana dal salad is another healthy dal recipe you might just love!

Looking for more?

Health benefits of palak

Given its health benefits such as 15 different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and rated as one of the most protein-rich vegetables, spinach can help improve your overall health and fitness levels, including heart, bone, muscle, blood, hair, skin, eye and gut health. In short, it is a superfood loaded with goodness for every part of your body!

Did you know these fun facts about spinach?

  • March 26th is National Spinach Day.
  • The spinach growing town of Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of Popeye in 1937.
  • In the 1930’s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.
  • Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.
  • Cooking spinach increases its health benefits.
  • Spinach can reduce hunger and cravings.
  • Spinach is best eaten boiled since boiling gets rid of oxalic acid which is linked to kidney stones.
  • During World War I, spinach juice was added to wine and given to soldiers who had been injured, because spinach pumps up production of blood.

More curry recipes

moong dal palak in a metal bowl.

Easy Moong Dal Palak Recipe (Pressure cooker and Instant pot)

A creamy, flavorful palak dal recipe made with simple everyday ingredients that saves you time and calories! Learn how to make this easy moong dal palak recipe on stovetop/ instant pot/ pressure cooker.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 112 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker or instant pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup moong dal (split and skinned moong beans)
  • 2 cups palak/spinach roughly chopped
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 large green chili (or 2 small) finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon hing (asafoetida) see note 1
  • cups water

Tempering

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons urad dal (split & peeled black lentils)
  • 2 or 3 dry red chilies
  • a few curry leaves

Instructions
 

How to cook palak with dal in instant pot

  • Rinse and place dal with all other listed ingredients except salt in the instant pot with water. Close and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally. Add salt and mash. Transfer to a serving bowl.

How to cook moong dal palak in pressure cooker

  • Rinse moong dal a couple of times. Place them in the pressure cooker and add the rest of the ingredients (except salt) with water. Do not mix. Close and cook on high flame. When it reaches high pressure, reduce flame to medium and cook for 4 whistles or 10 minutes.
  • Once the pressure is released, add salt and mash everything together. Transfer to a serving bowl.

How to cook dal palak in a pot on stovetop

  • Place dal with all the listed ingredients except spinach in a deep pot. Do not close. Add an additional cup of water (3½ cups in total) and bring it to a boil.
    Simmer and cook until the lentils turn soft and the whole mixture turns creamy. Stir occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking to the bottom. If it becomes dry and sticky, add boiling water, ¼ cup at a time. It would take about 20 to 25 minutes for the lentils to cook.
  • Add spinach and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add salt and mash with a ladle for a creamy consistency.
    Transfer to a serving bowl.

Tempering (tadka)

  • Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard. Once it starts popping, add urad dal. Once it roasts to a golden brown, add red chillies and curry leaves. Roast for 2 minutes. Drizzle on the curry and serve hot with rice or roti.

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Notes

  1. Hing or asafoetida is an Indian spice that’s usually used with dal. It helps prevent gas and bloating. It is optional and is okay to leave it out (unless you have a sensitive stomach). You can also use ½ teaspoon minced ginger instead.
  2. If you have the time, soak lentils for 10 to 15 minutes. It will improve the flavor of lentils and make them creamier.
  3. Dal tends to get thicker over time.  If you’re serving it later and you feel it is too thick, add ¼ cup of hot water (or as needed) with a dash of salt.
  4. If you like your dal spicier, add ½ to 1 teaspoon (depending on your required spice level) of chili powder when you roast the chilies and urad dal for tempering. Add 2 tablespoons of water, bring it to a boil and pour the tempering onto the cooked palak dal.
  5. Make ahead option: This dal palak stays fresh in the refrigerator for 2 days. Freeze it if you want to store it longer. It can be frozen for about a month.
Easy Moong Dal Palak (Instant pot & Pressure cooker)

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This post was last published in March 2018. It has been updated with new photos to give you an awesome experience.

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18 thoughts on “Easy Moong Dal Palak (Instant pot & Pressure cooker)”

      1. Preety Kaur Ahluwalia

        Are you suggesting raw spinach in wraps and sandwiches is not good as the body does not then absorb the nutientscand spinach should be cooked 4-5 minutes to gain all the nutrients

        1. Hi Preety,
          Thanks for taking the time to comment!
          The oxalic acid in raw spinach blocks the absorption of minerals like iron and calcium. When you cook spinach, the oxalic acid breaks down and hence the nutrients are absorbed better. Blanching also helps. (source)

  1. I make a similar curry with spinach. The only difference is that instead of lentils, I use gram flour as a thickening agent to my sabji. I love spinach! And, for the tempering, I use garlic and cumin seeds.
    Loved your recipe, too! 🙂

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