Aarti Paarti Ep. 26: Beatnik Spinach!

It’s getting to the end of the month, which means I’m looking for cheap recipes! Thank goodness for my stash of Indian vegetarian recipes; I already have the spices, and the lentils in my cupboard, so all I had to do was buy a bag of spinach, and hey presto: dinner’s ready!

Spinach with moong dal (a small yellow lentil, which you can find at Indian groceries, and online) offers you all the nutrition of leafy green vegetables, alongside a light dose of lentil protein, and the healing properties of both turmeric and garlic.

Cool, huh? Real cool. Beatnik cool, even. Yup, stay with me… there’s a connection. Check it:

Spinach with Yellow Moong Dal (lentils)

1 handful (about ¼ cup) yellow moong dal, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
2 tbsp vegetable, canola or peanut oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 medium clove garlic, crushed and peeled
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise (about 1½ cups)
1 green Serrano chile, sliced and seeded if you don’t want it spicy (optional)
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ hing (asfoetida poweder, available at the Indian store)
1 medium roma tomato
1 bag baby spinach

Serve with: brown basmati rice and plain yogurt

1) Heat oil in big skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

2) Add cumin seeds and garlic. Wait until the seeds have finished spluttering, and then add onion, Serrano chile and ginger. Saute until onion has softened.

3) Add spice powders, and sauté for 30 seconds.

4) Add tomatoes; cook until they go mushy.

5) Add lentils, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook about 5 minutes until the lentils are almost cooked.

6) Add spinach, covering to allow the leaves to wilt. Toss, and cook another 5 minutes so that the flavours go through the spinach. Add a little water if the dish gets too dry. It should have a sauce-y consistency. Serve!


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22 thoughts on “Aarti Paarti Ep. 26: Beatnik Spinach!

  1. Do I make too many comments?
    (sheepish face)
    I just think you are so helpful! Your recipes are great and your videos are always fun.

  2. oh gosh, not at ALL! i love comments! was that in response to my "2 tbsp of oil" thingy? if so, that's my conscience talking, not you!

  3. Aarti,
    Yay for stewy-veg dishes over rice with yogurt!! I eat this type of food ALL the time, and I'm thrilled to add a new one to the repertoire. And since I have everything in my apartment pantry/fridge already except the spinach, this WILL be an exceptionally frugal meal. Hurrah!Thanks lady!

  4. Aarti,

    Lovin' the recipes and good times. I'm going to have to try out the bacon-wrapped dates from a couple back. Yum-ee!!! I noticed a good-sized kitchen cart in your kitchen and am curious to find out where you got it. I've moved into a place where something about that size would be perfect. Many thanks. Keep on doin' the awesome videos!

  5. So, I made this tonight w/ a friend and it was very yum. Mmmm. I mixed up the yogurt with a little lime juice and zest (I have a thing about lime). Thanks for the recipe Aarti! I think this one will become part of my circulating recipes!

  6. Love the fact you’re doing lots of veggie dishes, another one for me to try! Who’s Lonely Foodie? We have a shared passion, I also have a thing about lime! It’s sacred in our house, goes in beer, salad dressings, stir fries, any excuse to use it x

  7. This looks yummy. I don’t have yellow moong dal but I do have red moong and I have yellow toor. Would either of those substitute? So many indian dals!

  8. Hey! The recipes are fantastic! I watched your show today on a jetblue tv and it was brilliant. The kale/mango salad and the sloppy raisin joes are fabulous. I can not pronounce the names AT ALL! But I love the food and can replicate it ….somewhat. I have a small request….I know names (just because of restaurants and an organic tv dinner line- that I will NOT name) but even knowing some of the ingredients …I can not make it. How do you make Palak Paneer (spinach)? Tofu anything too. You are great! Great job on the show. I am sharing your recipes and raving about you. Thank you for brighting up our families life.

  9. Aarti,
    Congratulations on the win for the newest Food Network Star! You really deserved it. The others were quite good and of course, we would have watched them but we really thought you offered the most. I was really anxious for Herb to bring some health recipes to the network, there are no healthy shows that I can find.

    Recently I lost weight on the HCG diet and I really want to keep it off so I am looking at food differently now. The HCG diet called for no more than 500 calories a day with NO FAT/CARBS so I was very limited in what I could eat but I managed to get pretty creative and lose the weight still.

    My question to you is, do you think you could have any of your recipes evaluated for calorie or nutritional content? That would be so helpful. I just watched the Beatnik Spinach video and it looked so good that I would love to try it.

    Why don’t you consider a show every now and then dedicated to a low calorie but very tasty recipe? I used the yogurt cucumber sauce once and it was great!

    Best to you


  10. thanks for all you do and contributing you Indian heritage influences as well as you good looks, great smiles, and terrific disposition and friendly attitude. I have longed for 30* years to have some Indian influenced cooking on air. When PBS was essentially the only source on TV for cooking, there was only American and French cooking with just a little Chinese influence presented. As time progressed, many cultures have become more and more dominant in the USA, but way too many not a part of this piece of the American experience. Food is one of the best ways to learn a culture and its people and I am glad to be able to bring in some Indian food influence in my cooking through your work. I love Indian food, and eat it as much as practical. Unfortunately, my Indian friends over the years never shared any info on this. Again, I am glad you see you on the tube and to learn from you.

  11. Just wanted to say I ‘ve been a life long spinach hater and i have made this recipe twice and can’t get enough of it. Thanks for sharing your blessings with the world.

  12. I have been a life long spinach hater and I have made this recipe twice and can’t get enough of it. thanks for sharing your gift with us.

  13. I want to try this recipe for my toddler kid but not sure if it would taste good even without Serrano Chile. Any suggestions??

  14. I am totally inspired by you. You cook some amazing dishes and I def will be trying this for dinner tonight. I love watching your show on food network, and I hope to continue learning more indian dishes. thanks!

  15. I LOVE your recipes. I have a question about hing. I know it is made with wheat like soy sauce is. I cannot have wheat (I’m gluten-free). Is there another spice I can substitute with or is it OK to just leave it out? Do you know if there is a GF hing available?

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