Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Spinach Dal (Palakura Pappu)

Pressure-cooking with toor dal is the most common way that we consume green leafy vegetables like spinach etc., in our home. Combine all the ingredients below; mix them with one glass of water and pressure cook. Within a half an hour, you can have a tasty, nutritious dal. Mix it with steamed rice for a complete meal, or enjoy it like a light and filling soup.


One bunch of Spinach, washed and cut or tiered into big pieces
One cup of Toor dal (Kandi Pappu)
One medium sized tomato and onion, cut into pieces
One tsp of chilli powder or 7 to 8 Indian variety green chillies
Half tsp of turmeric (pasupu)
Key-lime size tamarind (Chinta pandu)
One glass of water
For popu or tadka:
1 teaspoon of peanut oil or ghee
1 teaspoon of each - cumin, mustard seeds, minced garlic, chana dal, urad dal and few pieces of curry leaves and dried red chilli pieces

Spinach, Onions, Tomato and Tamarind, Red Chilli Powder and Toor dal

After pressure-cooking all of the above ingredients, add 1 tsp of salt and with a whisk or a wood masher make a paste of spinach dal.

In a saucepan, add one tsp of oil or ghee and lightly fry the minced garlic, urad dal, chana dal, cumin and mustard seeds, red chilli pieces and curry leaves. This is called “Popu” or “Tiragamata”in Telugu. Without the Popu the dal is not ‘dal’, so don’t even think about skipping this step. Popu not only adds wonderful fragrance to dal, hot oil or ghee with all other toasted ingredients makes the dal more palatable, sort of like dressing it up.

Add the spinach dal to the popu and combine them together. Serve the dal with rice or with chapati/roti.

 Spinach Dal pressure cooked and salt just added before making the dal into a pasteDoing the popu or tiragamata
Spinach DalSpinach dal, Rice and Papad

Our meal:
Spinach dal with rice, ghee and papad and of course a cup of yogurt on the side.

Recipe Source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Spinach, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Tuesday March 29, 2005 at 6:05 pm- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

46 comments for Spinach Dal (Palakura Pappu) »

  1. Hi, your recipe brought back the smile on my face. I was disappointed today coz I made the same dal in the morning with lots of hopes and when i tasted it at lunch, it wasnt that good. So i just typed “palakura pappu” in google and voila…i found this recipe on top. Thanks a lot. Also I discovered that i found a khazana of recipies.
    By the way, the thing that i missed in my dal was tomato. Lemme try next this the next time i make palakura pappu.

    Comment by Supriya — August 18, 2005 @ 5:20 am

  2. Nice

    Comment by Anonymous — November 16, 2005 @ 7:38 am

  3. Spinach Dal

    Mahanandi is one of the first food blogs that got me interested and rightly so. Here’s an absolutely great healthy and easy to make recipe that you could whip up daily. I have been on a healthy binge (for me and the family) and nothing like spin…

    Trackback by TwoEats — January 7, 2006 @ 12:32 am

  4. Hi Indira,
    Your recipe for spinach dal is the best.My spinach dal curry never came out this hubby liked it a lot..& did compliment me..but credit goes to u indira.thanx a lot!
    BTW i tried your okra curry along with this was amazing.There’s nutin like spinach dal & okra combination..yum!!:-)

    Indira replies…
    Thanks for the feedback and glad to be of any help, Jeans. Spinach dal and okra curry - that’s a good combination.

    Comment by jeans — February 16, 2006 @ 4:04 am

  5. spinach dal & okra curry with rice i mean:-)

    Comment by jeans — February 16, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  6. Hi Indra,

    Wonderful dish.


    Comment by Mani — February 20, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

  7. Indira - do you pressure cook the tamarind pulp - no right you just squeeze the juice out I am guessing. I don’t think you will be reading this now but I want to make this now :-(

    Indira replies…
    I add the tamarind pulp - two or three small pieces as whole for dal. Because I pressure cook them, they also get cooked and mix with dal thoroughly. Different from sambhar, where I add only squeezed juice of tamarind. Makes sense? :)
    Hope this helps!

    Comment by tilo — February 21, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

  8. Hi Indira,
    thanks for the clarification. I Have to wait till tomorrow because I am out of onions!

    Indira replies…
    You’re welcome Tilo. Do let me know how you like it.

    Comment by tilo — February 21, 2006 @ 10:36 pm

  9. Hi Ms.Indira,

    Your recipes are really good and look same as shown in your recipes pictures.Thanx a lott!!!

    query 1 :Iam new to usa and would like to know some good recipes using phyllo pastry sheets,puff pastry sheets,black eyed peas,butternut sqauh,asparagus.And also could u please let me know the recipes for apple jam,tomato jam or any other fruit jam ?And i would appreciate if u give good recipes with bottlegourd,ridgegourd ,bendi,tindoora,cabbage.

    Query 2 : Could u please tell me where to buy panneer in usa ? Indian stores/american stores?

    query 3 : Normally in india,people believe that food with palak(spinach)-tomato combination might lead to stone formation in kidneys?How much true is it?Your recipes for palakura pappu,palak panneer is with tomatoes.Could u please justify this?
    Awaiting for your early reply,

    Comment by lakshmi — February 23, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  10. what to do if I don’t have Pressure cooker to cook spinach Dal?

    Comment by lnimmagadda — March 13, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

  11. Hi, just wanted to let you know your palak dal was a hit in my house last week….in fact its so good that i’m making it for company tomorrow…even though dal is considered ‘everyday’ food in india, this dal is exceptional…thanks a lot for giving me a recipe where I can finally enjoy spinach

    Indira replies:
    That’s great Nabeela. I’m glad this recipe is a hit at your house and thanks for the feedback.

    Comment by Nabeela — March 16, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

  12. excellent…………..good keep it going.
    make people live.

    Comment by kiran — March 22, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

  13. Hi Indira garu,
    keep up the good work It is the so simple food that I too cook daily, but the way U presented is wonderful. I also belong to Rayalaseema, Kurnool, nandyal, cuddapah and tirupathi for 13 yrs :-) )

    I also have this doubt, People in India say Palakura+tomato not good for kidneys, I love the taste and stopped cooking it nowadays.
    How far is this true?

    Comment by Nirmala — March 31, 2006 @ 5:00 am


    Comment by parvathi — April 19, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

  15. yummy.. that was one good lunch I just had of Spinach dal, Parappu usli with green beans & rice…. my hubby loved the usli… I also tried the methi dal & dondakaya curry a couple of days back & wow did my tastebuds do a jig ??!! :) Indira, we’re enjoying your recipes so much.. I’m so happy I stumbled across your blog.. the ridge gourd curry & sorakaya curry were yum too… & I must compliment you on the tasteful presentation of these dishes… you sure have a way with them…. I’m soon going to be trying the Mango dal & the Plantain curry… maybe tomorrow…. mmmm… my mouth is already watering..

    hey.. there’s another variation of methi-palak dal that I learnt from a friend… would like to share with u.. here goes… heat some oil & do popu with mustard, cumin, minced garlic, pinch of hing, chopped green chillies & onion.. then you add one medium sized potato peeled & cubed, a medium tomato chopped, chopped spinach, chopped methi, chana dal, salt, turmeric, coriander powder & salt & pressure cook… mash the cooked dal (all potato pieces to be thoroughly mashed)… add a dash of lime juice… tastes real nice… she told me this is a Sindhi recipe call Sai Bhaji…. hope you will like it….

    Indira replies:
    Hi Meera, I am glad you had success with those recipes and enjoyed them with your family. That’s always good to hear.:)
    Thanks for letting me know and also thanks for sharing your methi-palak recipe with me.
    Looking forward to reading more of your comments/input on my blogged recipes. Thanks.

    Comment by Meera — May 10, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  16. Hi,
    my name is Priyam and im 14 years old. My mom went out of town for a wedding so I had to cook for my dad and i. I saw your website and i made spinach pappu and it was great. Your directions are super easy and the recipe was great. Thank u sooooooooo much. Have a great day.

    Indira replies:
    Wow, Priyam, good for you and that was very sweet of you to prepare a meal for your dad. I am glad the recipe worked out for you and thanks for letting me know. I greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks and you too have a pleasant day.

    Comment by Priyam — June 2, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

  17. Hi Indira,

    I made palakura pappu today for lunch, my husband says it is the tasty pappu i ever made since we got married.
    Thanks a ton!!!


    Comment by Menaka — June 21, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

  18. Good work. I tried it today for the first time and it is great! The instructions are very clear to follow.

    Comment by Sethu — August 20, 2006 @ 9:38 pm

  19. Gr8 job…in japan we only get palak …we also fine different leafy vegetables but we indians dont use and i dont know many of the names bcoz of language weekly once i will make palak dal..anywayz nice post.

    Comment by priya — September 2, 2006 @ 5:43 am

  20. Hi Indira, thanks a lot for your recepe. have been wanting to have palakura pappu for a long time and you solved my problem. just made it and it was wonderful . reminded me of home. even my european friends were licking their fingers!

    Comment by siddharth — November 14, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  21. I am cooking this now..
    Will tell you how it was in half an hour.. :)

    Comment by Suryavadana — November 20, 2006 @ 7:05 am

  22. Hi Indira, I just dote on cooking..and that lead me to your blog. I could not but help admiring you for giving the best for us ‘foodies’ with lotza innovativeness to the contemporary and traditional cooking

    Comment by meena — November 27, 2006 @ 12:23 am

  23. Love this recipe.
    Looking for this for a long time.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Holidays!!

    Indira replies:
    Happy Holidays, JJ!

    Comment by Just for fun — December 22, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

  24. Hi Indira,

    Thanks a lot for such simple and a delicious receipe.

    Comment by kiran — May 10, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  25. I tried your recipe. Everybody in my family including my kids love it. Thank you for sharing your recipe.I like the way your blog is organized by vegetables.It is easy for me to find a recipe to cook with the vegetables I have on hand!

    Indira replies:
    Glad to hear that you and your family liked this recipe, Jayashree. Thanks for your feedback.

    Comment by Jayashree — June 23, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  26. Hi, search for palak pappu for a long time, simple steps and the result is very tasty & amazing. Thanks a lot. I bookmark this site for future reference. Ramesh, Kuwait

    Comment by Ramesh — August 28, 2007 @ 2:45 am

  27. hello,

    can u tell me instead of raw tamrind i have ready made tamrind pulp..will this be used same as raw tamrind.


    I prefer raw tamarind but readymade tamarind pulp works too.
    - Indira

    Comment by ashu — September 13, 2007 @ 2:55 am

  28. Palakura pappu has be one of my favourit curry. My (mom-in-law)makes the world’s best pappu and now I too can.
    Thanks Mahanandi and thanks all


    Comment by Indu — November 13, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  29. hi ,

    your Palakura Pappu curry is really yummy .., remembers of my mothers taste when i prepared it .., i enjoy doing most of your receipes published.

    Comment by hemavathi — December 3, 2007 @ 8:29 am

  30. […] Another regular at our table was Indira’s garlic-spinach-dal. At last I had a recipe very close to the dal that is always a part of the thali at Andhra Bhavan, which we patronize regularly. An easy quick recipe for a one pot combination of greens and lentils; all you need with it is steamed rice. […]

    Pingback by Here’s to the old… « A Mad Tea Party — January 1, 2008 @ 12:20 am

  31. hi,

    I have tried your methi aloo receipe, which was delicious!!!!!!!!!!!, loved it.
    I quite like spinach dal receipe. I have to try it next week and let you know the results. Just one question. How long do i need to pressure cook???? please do reply.

    Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Kamal — January 31, 2008 @ 10:07 am

  32. hi indira,
    i just came by your blog today while searching for a spinach dal recipe. I am finishing up my remains as I type this :) Thanks, the recipe was awesome. I think it was the tamarind that gave it that extra punch. :) Now, thanks to you, I have one more addition to soul food for the cold, grey winter of Edinburgh :) Thanks again!

    Comment by Gayathri — February 8, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  33. Hi..
    Your website is fantastic..tried a lot of dishes,everything came out very well.Thanks a lot..Do u have a recipe for asparagus?Looking forward to your reply..

    Comment by Shubha — April 2, 2008 @ 4:49 am

  34. Namaste Indira garu, mee recipes chala baguntayi.Daya chesi naa doubht clear cheyandi. Meeru e pala kura pappu lo tomato add chesaru , taste chala bagundi kaani tomato pala kura tho kalipi vandite kidney lo stones vasatayani vinnanu. Meeku deenni gurinchi emina teliste cheppandi.PLEASE tappuga anukovaddu.

    Namaste Sravanti.
    Tomatoes has a substance on overeating may cause kidney stones. Anduvalla anukuntaanu mana daggara palakura-tomato kalipi cheyaru. Nenu kooda modata lo chese daanini kaadu. Kaani US lo konni samvastaraalu unnaka, eevidamu ga cheyatamu modalu pettanu. Meeru annatlu ruchi baaguntindi.
    Meeku andolanagaa unte, tomato veyakundaa cheyandi. Utti palakura, karam podi ledaa pacchi mirchi vesi, koncham chintapandu to. Ala kooda chestaanu nenu. Aa pappu kooda ruchi ga untundi.

    Comment by sravanti — April 3, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  35. Hi! Your pappu recipe is the simplest I have ever seen! I used to do each step separately- cook dal,palak,onions& tomatoes and popu -making the whole process quite lengthy! :)
    Thank you!

    Comment by ana — November 30, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  36. thank you for putting these great recipes here! i just found the site yesterday and i’ve been looking for a recipe for spinach pappu for ages. one quick question do you use regular toor or oily toor? i’ve noticed that oily toor is available in the market and kannadigas don’t use it but the andhra pappu tastes so different that i wasn’t sure.

    Hello Abha,
    I use only plain toor dal for cooking pappu, sambars, rasams. The recipes are with plain toor dal only. Hope this was helpful to you.

    Comment by Abha — March 5, 2009 @ 8:24 am

  37. Made this tonight… had to use chana dal for lack of toor dal. It was still delicious. Thanks!

    Comment by Monica Shaw — September 2, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  38. I am starting preparing now.

    Really, I want to become a master of cookery. My future wife(not yet married) must appreciate for it.

    I’ll tell you how it will become once that is made.

    Comment by Krishnagopal — November 12, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  39. it worked for me! Thanks.

    Comment by srikanth — February 28, 2010 @ 2:10 am

  40. Hi Indira,

    I am writing to you from Bangalore. Both me and my hubby are great fans of an Andhra Restaurant called Bhagini just for the dal they serve in their meals menu. However I had no clue what it is called and how to search for the recipe. Thats when someone told me its called poppu/pappu, but the recipes available on the net were not matching with the taste we like. Then I noticed the presence of spinach in their dal and hence googled for the same and found yours :)

    Thank you for sharing this recipe as we no more need to spend 75 bucks to have rice and pappu at Bhagini ;)

    Comment by mridula menon — December 22, 2010 @ 2:20 am

  41. I heard that tomato and spinach will cause dangerous chemical reactions in stomach and results stones in kidney

    Comment by Santosh — March 26, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  42. Hi,
    your blog seems to be very popular.
    I tried out your palakura pappu recipe and its awesome… heavenly!!! my husband loves andhra food and your recipes are keeping us very happy :)
    thanks for sharing them. Would love to see more of mango based recipes as its summer here.

    Comment by Priya Rao — May 5, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  43. Could you tell us how many whistles are required for this recipes before the cooker is removed from fire?

    Also, when you say ‘1 bunch / bowl’ of Spinach leaves - does this mean 10 - 15 leaves?


    Comment by SP — May 18, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

  44. Thank you very much for this recipe. I tried it yesterday and the dal was delicious. I loved it and felt that I had yummy dinner after long long time.

    Comment by lovercindrella — August 16, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  45. hi..lokks yummy, planning to try it today..thanks

    Comment by ravina — May 26, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  46. This is the best Spinach dal I’ve tried. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe!

    Comment by Calla — July 16, 2015 @ 9:56 am

Your Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI