A few months ago, my husband and I were invited to an Indian dinner by our friends Joe and Peggy Thomas. Peggy purchased the dinner at a Southside Support fundraising event. Well of course we would love to go! Meera Sarin welcomed us warmly into her home. Meera and husband, Deepak, moved from Delhi to the U.S. in 2012. Meera regaled us with stories of her homeland, her work and the food. The food! Thank you Joe, Peggy, Meera, and Deepak for an amazing evening. Enjoy her recipe for Dal Palak (Lentil Spinach).
Meera Sarin is a certified dance and art therapist. She was one of the first women to graduate in child development in the 1970s in India, where she taught home economics for 40 years. She began working with special needs children in India in the ‘80s and was the director of a special needs school. Meera and her family moved to the United States in 2012. She continues her passion for special needs with Southside Support, a nonprofit that provides support to families and caregivers of special needs children, by generously donating Indian cooking classes as a fundraiser.
Ingredients & Substitutions
There are some ingredients in these recipes that may not be readily available in Fayette County, but they are available at Indo Pak Grocery, 6989 Highway 85 in Riverdale.
If you don’t have the ingredients, here are some substitutions. Instead of mango powder, use lemon or lime juice. Instead of fenugreek you can substitute parsley.
- 1 ½ cups spinach, preferably fresh or frozen
- 1 cup brown or any yellow lentils (dry)
- 2 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil
- 1 pinch dried fenugreek (or asafoetida)
- 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 pinch ground red cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- Salt to taste
- Wash the lentils and chop the spinach. In a pot, add lentils, spinach, salt, turmeric and 1½ times that amount of water. Cook over medium heat until the lentils are soft.
- When ready to serve, place the ghee in a tiny pan. Heat and add fenugreek, cumin, and chopped garlic. Stir and cook just until the garlic begins to brown. This takes just a minute or two. Add red pepper and stir. Pour hot over the lentil mixture and serve.