Spinach-less Blues ~ Garlic Dal with Rice and Cilantro

spicy green goodness
spicy green goodness

You can’t buy fresh spinach anywhere. An e. coli outbreak has taken it off the shelves, and while I’m glad for safety’s sake, I never realised how often I use spinach! I eat it fresh in salads. I cook it plain, with garlic, with dal, with rice, with mushrooms… well, you get the picture. To say I have been craving spinach would be an understatement. This afternoon at the market, my eyes joyfully lit upon some beeeeautiful bunches of cilantro. O lovely tender greens!

Of course I brought home several bunches. I quickly ground some with my handy Kitchen-Aid grinder, and this is what I made:

Garlic Dal with Rice and Cilantro

fresh garlic and cilantro
fresh garlic and cilantro

For dal/rice:

1/4 c. rice (I used sona masuri)
3/4 c masoor dal, divided
1/2 tsp turmeric
sufficient water to cook
salt to taste

For paste:

1 c fresh cilantro, stems and leaves, tightly packed
1 small whole green chile
2-3 big cloves garlic (can be reduced or omitted – but add extra chiles)
salt to taste

Small bit of ghee for serving


Rinse rice and set aside.

Wash cilantro thoroughly and grind to a paste with whole green chile and garlic, using as little water as possible.

Rinse dal and cook 1/2 c (reserve the other 1/4 c) in sufficient water with the turmeric and a little salt.

cilantro paste in dal
adding fresh garlic-chile-cilantro paste to nearly finished dal

When dal is nearly soft, stir in the cilantro paste, reserved 1/4 c dal, and rice. Use your judgement and add just enough water to cook the rice. I used about 3/4 c. Cover and cook till the rice is done.

Serve hot with a little dollop of ghee.

garlic dal with rice and cilantro
curing the spinach-less blues… spicy-green garlic dal with cilantro



  1. Asha said

    I know!! No spinach!!! Bummer! You still can use frozen or canned, can’t we!!
    Great substitution, thanks!!

    Hi Asha, I do use frozen sometimes and that works for cooking but I still miss it in my salads ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. it was a nice try…i like to try new recipes..and i think i am going to try ur’s now…linda,u always surprise me with dishes that i have never heared of…

    Thanks! If you try, Maneka, let me know how it turns out ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Linda here u go again with such a unique recipe..a must try one…thanks for sharing linda..

    Hi Sudha, and thanks — waiting for a piece of your choc. cake ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. krithika said

    Wow ! very good use of cilantro. Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing

    Thanks, Krithika ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Nabeela said

    good cilantro recipe Linda!

    Thank you, Nabeela ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. shaheen said

    i can understand ur spinach less blues. i have a spinach plant in my garden and i am scared to eat that. but this garlicky dal is wonderful. will give it a try.

    Hi Shaheen — if you grew your own spinach (lucky you!!) it may very well be safe to eat, especially cooked thoroughly — but I understand why you might be scared to! If you try the dal, hope you enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Luv2Cook said

    Hey Linda…I have been experimenting with some Chinese greens at the local International Store since the spinach scare…it has been working out pretty good…

    Hey Sam — yes, I remember — you’re the yu choy gal! There is a great assortment of those greens at my local international grocery too — thanks for reminding me of that. I’ll have to plan a trip this weekend.

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