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Spinach, potato and paneer with tarka dal


This Goan spiced dish is served with a side of tarka dal.


For the tarka dal
200g split red lentils, rinsed
½ tsp turmeric
2tsp ground coriander
1½ tbsp ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
seeds from 2 cardamom pods
½ tsp black onion seeds (kolongi or nigella seeds)
pinch of asofetida
pinch of garam masala
1 red chilli, thinly sliced

For the spinach, potato and paneer
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander 1tsp ground cumin
5 tbsp ghee
225g original paneer, cut into 1.5cm cubes
2 onions, halved, thinly sliced then roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2cm peeled ginger, finely grated
400g prepared spinach (stalks and roots removed)
300g potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes and blanched for 5 minutes in boiling salted water
250ml vegetable stock
1 tsp garam masala

To serve
fresh coriander
extra chillies (optional)
crispy fried shallots (optional)


To make the tarka dal, put the lentils in a pan with the turmeric and coriander. Cover with 1cm of boiling water. Cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, prepare the spinach, potato and paneer. Dissolve the turmeric, coriander and cumin in 2tbsp of cold water to create a spice paste. Heat 3tbsp of ghee in a large wok and fry the paneer on all sides until a rich golden colour. Lift out and put on a tray lined with kitchen paper. Add the rest of the ghee to the wok and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 10 minutes, stirring often, until it just turns golden. Add the spice paste and potato and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Add the stock and cook for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes have softened and the liquid thickened. Mix in the spinach and paneer, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, some sea salt crystals and freshly ground black pepper. Top with fresh coriander, crispy fried shallots and chillies.

To finish the tarka dal, heat the ghee in a pan and add the cumin, cardamom and onion seeds along with the asofetida and a pinch of garam masala. When they sizzle, pour over the hot dal, cover and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Serve topped with the sliced chillies.

Photography and prop styling: Angela Dukes
Recipes and food styling: Linda Tubby

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