Soppu saaru ( Spinach and dal curry)

Spinach curry
One of my favorite curry! Its super simple and goes great with rice or ragi mudhe.

What you need: Serves 4
4-6 green hot chillies
1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
3-4 fresh garlic petals
1 small sized shallot/onion
1 medium sized tomato
1/2tsp jeera (cumin)
1/4tsp black pepper seeds
1tsp coconut flakes dry/fresh (optional)
1/2 cup thogri bele (toor dal/masoor dal) Soak in 1 cup of water for 15-30 minutes, that way it cooks faster.
Salt to taste

To temper: 1 tsp olive oil, a little mustard and cumin seeds. A few red chillies, curry leaves and a pinch aseofotida.

In a thick bottom pan, cook the dal in 2 cups of water till the dal cracks up and is soft to touch. Pressure cooking it is faster. One or two pressures is ideal.

In a skillet, add the spinach, whole tomato, peeled whole onion, garlic and green chillies. Cook on medium heat till the spinach is soggy. Don't overcook or it will loose its nutrients and color. Put it in a blender, and let it cool a while. Add the jeera, pepper seeds and coconut to the boiled greens in the blender. Grind to a paste, add some water if its too thick.

Heat the skillet (the same one that you boiled the greens), add oil, when it begins to smoke, quickly add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cover it, it is sure to splatter and mess your stovetop. Add the red chilly and curry leaves, cover again, now add the ground spinach paste, add 1tsp or more salt, cook on low heat for about 2 minutes. Add the cooked dal, cook on medium heat till it comes to a boil. Add asefoetida before serving ( also called hing, and is great for digestion, or should I say... controls flatulence.. OK I said it )

Serve the curry with rice or ragi muddhe. A boiled egg on the side, or sliced cucumbers taste good too.