Palakura pappu recipe – Learn to make healthy spinach and dal curry.
While using any leafy green like palakura, menthi kura, gongura, I don’t prefer pressure cooking them since they get overcooked & most of the flavor is lost.
When it comes to making a pappu for meal, I always prefer to make a smooth and creamy dal like sorakaya pappu, mamidikaya pappu or tomato pappu, where all the ingredients can be dumped to cook in the pressure cooker and later tempered.
While making spinach or any leafy greens with dal like gongura pappu, I don’t prefer to overcook them which often happens by pressure cooking. So I just add them to the cooked dal to retain the nutrients and taste.
In Telugu palakura is the name for spinach or palak and pappu is dal. This Andhra style dal can be prepared in many ways. I am sharing 2 methods in this post.
The first method yields a soupy dal. The second method yields a semi dry pappu and just takes 20 mins. This spinach dal can be refrigerated for later use too and stays good for 2 days. It is usually served with rice and pickle. It can be relished with chapathi and a bowl of vegetable salad too.
I have not used onions and tomatoes in the recipe. You can use them if you like. I have included the steps in the instructions.
The chilies that you see in the last picture below are the curd chilies (majjiga mirapakayalu) which are often used in South India along with papadams. I fry them along with the tadka and add to the dal and use some for garnishing.
How to make palakura pappu
1. Soak tamarind in little hot water. Set aside. Wash and cook 3/4 cup pappu/ dal with 2 cups water in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. If cooking in a pot cook till soft. Mash the dal to smooth, if you like. You can cook tomatoes, onions, chilies along with the dal if using or can be added at the next step.
2. While the dal cooks, pluck spinach leaves with out stems. Wash them in lot of water several times. Drain them. Chop and add them to the dal along with little more water. If you like to add tomato, chili and onion add it now if you have not added in step 1. Cook on a medium flame.
3. When the spinach is cooked completely, it looks wilted and blends well with dal. Add salt and turmeric. Stir and mix well.
4. Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Add mustard and cumin. When they splutter, add curry leaves, chili and garlic. You can add chili now, if you have not added at step 2. Add hing. Pour the tamarind juice to the pan. Switch off the stove.
5. Pour the thalimpu/seasoning to the dal. Mix and stir. Some people like to cook further for few minutes but I don’t.
Palakaura pappu is ready to serve with chapathi or rice.
Palakura pappu recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 bunch Indian spinach (palakura or palak)
- ½ cup dal or pappu (any lentils) (kandhi pappu or pesarapappu)
- 1¼ cup water (¾ cup for dry version)
- 1 to 2 green chili slit
- 1/3 teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- 1 tsp tamarind or lemon juice
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1½ tablespoon oil or ghee
- 1 pinch mustard seeds
- 1 pinch cumin seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- 1 Pinch hing or asafoetida (optional)
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 6 curd chilies optional
Method 1 – pressure cooking
- Pluck the spinach leaves and check them for worms. Rinse them well in a large pot filled with water. Repeat rinsing a few times. Drain the leaves completely and chop finely.
- Add dal to a bowl or cooker and wash it a few times until water runs clear. Pour 1¼ cups water, green chilli, chopped spinach & tamarind. Cover it. You can also skip adding spinach now and add it once the dal is cooked completely.
- If making it in a bowl, place it in the cooker and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles on a medium flame. If cooking directly in the cooker, then pressure cook for just 2 whistles.
- When the pressure releases, mash the dal and add salt and turmeric. Mix well. Pour ghee to a small tadka pan and heat it. Add cumin, mustard, red chili and garlic. When the spices splutter add curry leaves and hing. Pour this to the cooked palakura pappu.
Method 2 – open pot method.
- Rinse dal in a pot and pour ¾ cup water. Cook it on a medium flame until it is almost cooked but not mushy. You can also add in tomatoes and green chilies if you like.
- While the dal cooks, clean the spinach. Pluck the leaves and discard the stems. I usually open up the leaves and inspect them for larvae or worms. Wash thoroughly multiple times in a large utensil filled with water to remove mud.
- Chop or tear the leaves which ever you prefer to. When the dal is fully cooked but not mushy, add the spinach and salt. Mix well.
- While the spinach cooks, heat a small pan with ghee or oil. Add the curd chilies, fry till they turn crispy. Set these aside to prevent burning.
- Next add mustard, cumin, garlic, red chili when they begin to splutter add curry leaves. Add turmeric and hing.
- Check if the spinach is cooked, then pour the seasoning to the dal. You can add the curd chilies or you can save them aside for garnish. Mix, cover and off the stove.
- Palakura pappu is ready to serve with rice or phulka. Squeeze in some lemon juice while serving.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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