Andhra Style Palak Dal

April 1, 2015mayurisjikoni
Blog post


Recipe: Andhra Style Palak Dal

Andhra Style Palak Dal is a simple, but ultra comforting and healthy dal or curry loaded with spinach. Best enjoyed with rice and a dollop of ghee.

Dal means any curry prepared using legumes or pulses. Indian cuisine uses a variety of legumes. We tend to use moong, urad, split chickpeas, peas, pigeon peas and a variety of beans. Each state of India prepares dal or legume curries in a different way. While for most the basic ingredients are same, the variation comes in the spices and herbs used. Generally dals are enjoyed with rice but some can be enjoyed with roti or paratha.

Palak is the Hindi word for spinach. So this Dal is loaded with fresh spinach.

Andhra Style – well, that means this dal is quite famous in the Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. Usually split pigeon pea or toor (tuvar) dal is used. Simple to make, the dal is a bit on the hot side but one can make it less hot, chilli wise. The flavours come from the simple spices, curry leaves,garlic and tamarind. It is known as Palakura Pappu.

Amazing and Flavourful Dal

Visits to India means eating out. While I still have to acquire a taste for most of the fusion food, like chinese dosa, served with sweet and sour sauce and all that, I do love eating the more traditional food and street food. During one of our visits to Bangalore my daughter’s friend suggested we go to Nagarjuna, an Andhra restaurant in Bangalore. It is one of her favourite restaurants. While my daughter, her friend and my hubby were all excited about having mutton fry, I was imaging extra hot food which I cannot stomach!

However, I was pleasantly surprised that the food was not that hot – chilli wise. I went for the vegetarian thali which means you get a few vegetable sabjis, dal, rice, pickles, rasam, buttermilk, yogurt, sweet, etc. Basically a full meal all served on fresh banana leaves. Half the excitement for me was that, eating food off the banana leaf. I fell in love with the flavour of the palak dal that they served.  The manager didn’t want to tell me the recipe but told me that it is toor dal.

The hunt for the recipe began. Went online and checked out several of them. Got the recipe from my neighbour in Bangalore and tried it out at home. Now it has become a regular dal that hubby and I enjoy. Make it especially on days when I don’t want to cook too many dishes. Andhra Style Palak Dal with rice takes care of the carbs, protein and vitamins and minerals.

A visit to Bangalore is incomplete without enjoying a meal at Nagarjuna and that too with my daughter’s bestie and her hubby.

BELOW ARE TWO WAYS TO MAKE ANDHRA STYLE PALAK DAL – on the stove top as indicated in the recipe card and in an Instant Pot as shown in the video.

Some More Dal/ Legume Curries You May Want To Check Out:

Sabut Moong Dal is a nutritious, healthy, creamy and delicious that is usually enjoyed with some plain rice, roti or paratha. Easy to prepare, its the best way to include this new superfood in yoru daily diet.
Check out this recipe
A healthy creamy curry that goes well with plain rice, Roti or Naan. Urad dal or Split Black Gram Curry is a good way to include plant proteins in your diet.
Check out this recipe
Spinach Masoor Dal or Spinch Puy Lentil Curry is a wholesome, healthy, easy to prepare, creamy, with flavors of spinach and coconut. Best enjoyed with some plain rice or any Indian Flatbread.
Check out this recipe

Kulath Ki Dal/ Horsegram Dal

Tuvar Ni Dal, Gujarati Style


The Group Foodies_Redoing Old Posts, started by Renu helps the members to make an effort to update old posts. Cannot believe that we’re in the 67th event.  This group helps me to stay focused and update old posts not only with better photos but also trying to make each post more SEO friendly. Some of them I’m also trying to add videos. Check out my You Tube Channel MAYURI’S JIKONI

This it is the makeover for a dal recipe that I really like – Andhra Style Palak Dal. I made it in the Instant Pot and works like a magic.

First Published on 01/04/2015 – updated on 07/01/2021

BELOW ARE TWO WAYS TO MAKE ANDHRA STYLE PALAK DAL – on the stove top as indicated in the recipe card and in an Instant Pot as shown in the video.

Talking of Dals or Legume Curries, I usually don’t make a dal from chana dal or split chickpeas. Don’t know why. However, after seeing Renu’s Chana Dal Chataka, I am tempted to try this dal with the hot tempering added in individual bowls at the time of serving.

Ingredients Required For Andhra Style Palak Dal

  • Toor Dal – tuvar dal, split pigeon peas
  • Spinach – wash and chop the leaves and tender stems
  • Onion – peeled and chopped finely
  • Garlic – peeled. Some of is sliced and the rest is minced
  • Tomato – use 2 fresh tomatoes finely chopped or use tomato puree
  • Green Chilli – paste or finely chopped
  • Ginger – finely chopped or paste
  • Whole Dry Red Chillis – for tempering
  • Mustard Seeds – rai
  • Cumin Seeds – jeera
  • Fenugreek Seeds – methi dana
  • Turmeric Powder – haldi
  • Coriander Powder
  • Red Chilli Powder – add according to your taste
  • Tamarind Pulp – if you have whole tamarind then take a lemon size amount of it. Soak it in hot water for 15 -30 minutes. Rub between your fingers and remove the seeds and fibres. Strain the mixture using a sieve and using a spoon rub the pulp against the sieve. You should be left with fibres and hard shell only. Can use ready made tamarind paste.
  • Asafetida – optional. Use asafetida or hing that does not have wheat flour if you want it gluten free. Or simply omit.
  • Oil / Ghee – I have used both. If you want a vegan version of the dal then omit ghee.
  • Curry Leaves – fresh or dried leaves
  • Water – tap water
  • Salt – add according to your taste

Watch How To Make Andhra Style Palak Dal/ Palakura Pappu in an Instant Pot




Andhra Style Palak Dal is a simple, but ultra comforting and healthy dal or curry loaded with spinach. Best enjoyed with rice and a dollop of ghee.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Soaking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Meal
Cuisine andhra cuisine, Indian, South Indian
Servings 4


  • 1 cup tuvar dal
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups spinach chopped
  • 1 medium onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chillis finely chopped or paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • tsp asafoetida optional

For tempering (vaghar) :

  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 whole dry red chillis
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • pinch asafoetida optional



  • Wash the dal  and soak it in 1½ cups of water for about 20 -30 minutes.
  • Put the dal in a pressure cooker along with the water it was soaked in.
  • Add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds.
  • Close the lid of the cooker and put it over medium flame. Let the dal cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and stir fry till it becomes soft and starts to turn pink.
  • Add garlic, chilli and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add chopped tomato and remaining turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder.
  • Cook till it becomes soft. Add the cooked dal.
  • Add salt and the remaining water.
  • Let the dal simmer over low heat for 10 -15 minutes.
  • Add the chopped spinach and cook till it becomes soft.
  • Add tamarind paste and mix well.


  • Heat ghee in a small pan.
  • Add cumin seeds.
  • Add dry red chillis, garlic and asafoetida. Stir fry the garlic till it begins to turn pink.
  • Add curry leaves.
  • Pour the mixture over the dal and serve immediately with rice.


  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook the dal in a saucepan till it is done.
  • You may need to add extra water.
  • If the dal is too thick add a bit of water. Usually this dal preparation is not watery.
  • Add more chilli powder if you prefer.
  • After washing the dal I prefer to soak it in warm water. It makes cooking the dal much easier.
  • To make tamarind paste, wash the tamarind and cook it in enough water till it becomes soft. When the mixture is cold, remove the fibre and seeds. Put the mixture in a blender and process till you get a paste. Strain the paste. If the mixture is too thick to puree, add a little bit more water. Store the remaining paste in the freezer for future use.
  • I prefer to add spinach at the end as I don't want it to overcook.
Keyword Andhra Style Palak Dal, Palakura Pappu, Spinach Dal, Toor Dal with Palak

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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  • tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • Sona S

    April 2, 2015 at 2:52 am

    I love all kinds of dal, it's my ultimate comfort food. This palak dal looks delicious.

  • Shobha

    April 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I just love it.. yummy food from Andhra brings back sweet memories of childhood.

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    thanks Sona.

  • beena stephen

    April 2, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Love it . Yummy combo

  • Chinese Restaurants

    September 11, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I have never tasted this dal. Looks really yummy and bookmarked right away. will be trying..

  • veda

    July 22, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I tried this dal. It was yummy. After which, my husband ordered same dal another day, in a restaurant. After which he suggested we should start a restaurant. Haha

  • Mealfoods

    March 5, 2018 at 4:50 am

    Wonderful Blog!!Thanks to sharing the your food details and great explain ….keep update..

  • Seema

    January 10, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    5 stars
    There is nothing better to have than palak dal, rice and papads. Such a comfort meal. Yumm.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 11, 2022 at 7:29 pm

      Totally agree with you Seema, I love it.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    January 11, 2022 at 8:32 am

    5 stars
    My son is fond of this Andhra style Palak dal, I keep preparing it once in a while. Loved your recipe, there is a variation in the method of cooking.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 11, 2022 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you Jayashree. I learnt it from my neighbour and making in the Instant Pot is quicker.

  • Preethicuisine

    January 11, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    5 stars
    Palakura pappu is so delicious and nutritious too. This is one of my most favourite dals. Making it in instant pot is such a breeze. One of the most regular dals at my place .

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 12, 2022 at 4:54 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi. And yes the Instant Pot version is easy.

  • Archana

    January 13, 2022 at 2:38 am

    5 stars
    Simple and yum dal that I will love. These easy and flavorful dals are a treasure. Love it as it will take an ordinary meal to greater heights.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 14, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks Archana, perfectly described, takes an ordinary meal to greater heights and this dal just does that.

  • Azlin Bloor

    January 19, 2022 at 4:37 am

    5 stars
    Such a delicious dal, so healthy and comforting too. Just imagining dipping some roti in this – yum!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 19, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you so much Azlin. Soft roti and dal also works really well.

  • Maria

    January 20, 2022 at 9:29 am

    5 stars
    Just reading the ingredients list is making me drool! We make it simply with garlic, basic spices and green moong lentils here in Punjab. I’m loving this version with bolder, deeper flavours. Definitely trying it very soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 20, 2022 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you so much Maria, we too make it with moong dal but with toor dal it tastes so different. Try out this version.

  • Kalyani

    January 20, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    5 stars
    the weather is slowly turning slightly humid but we have patches of chilly wind sometimes in the early mornin n evening. this andhra palakura pappu would be great wth some basmati rice for lunch / dinner.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 21, 2022 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks Kalyani. I find hot dal and rice very comforting during the cold season.

  • kalyani

    January 20, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    PS.. .and yes, Nagarjuna, Nandhini and Amaravathi are my top 3 Andhra restuarants in Blr for Spicy, andhra food. now you got me all craving for that, Mayuri 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 21, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      I’ve not tried out the food at Amaravathi. Must do so next time I am in Bangalore.

  • Renu

    January 21, 2022 at 10:17 am

    5 stars
    Adding of Tamarind paste to the dal definitely would add so much flavour and taste. I make something similar but do not had tamarind, would love to try with it. I love that it has spinach too, a good way of sneaking in some veggies.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 21, 2022 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Renu, tamarind adds a unique flavour which is not the same as using lemon or kokum. Yes, it is a good way to sneak in lots of spinach.

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