Soppina Saaru / Spinach Dal

Biennial summer vacations as kids were mostly spent in Bangalore at my Grandma's house with all the cousins getting together. We would bike, climb trees, and eat nellikai (Indian Gooseberry), run to the little tuck shop and buy sweets and candy even though we weren't supposed to. One of my most cherished memories was my brother, my cousins and I dancing on the road in front of my Grandma's house enjoying the Monsoon rains. I miss those days and I miss her.

We knew the pantry would be stocked with benne biscuits and khaara biscuits and every other day she would get puffs and buns from the Iyengar Bakery. Soppinna saaru with avarekai eaten with Raagi Mudde would also always be part of the menu during our stay. Here is my Mom's version of it which I also love. Its quick, delicious and very nutritious. This recipe uses very little oil. Enjoy :)

3/4 cup toor dal
1 bunch of spinach (washed well and the ends cut off)
1 small piece of pumpkin (skin peeled)1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic peeled
2 green chillies slit
2 tsps sambar masala
1 pinch turmeric
1pinch of hing or asafoetida powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
Salt to taste

1. In a pressure cooker add dal and rinse with water.
2. Add pumpkin, spinach, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, split green chillies, garlic cloves, sambar masala, turmeric powder and salt.
3. Add 2-3 cups of water, close pressure cooker, place on heat and cook for 3 whistles.
4. Remove from heat and wait for it to cool.
5. Remove lid from pressure cooker and mix well.
6. In a pan add a little oil and when hot add mustard seeds.
7. When mustard seeds start to splutter add hing and curry leaves and then add to the dal mixture.
8. Mix well and taste. Add salt if necessary and serve hot.


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