Toor Dhal (Pigeon peas) with Greens and Spices

Here is a recipe for a delicious dhal with the added goodness of green all jazzed up with aromatic spices.

The pot luck that introduced me to this dhal

My friend Lakshmi had brought this dhal for our Diwali party and let me tell you folks, as I was warming the dhal I could get whiffs of the aromatic spices she had added and it was intoxicating. The toor dhal she brought was creamy and delicious with loads of greens.

The recipe

This delicious dhal recipe is shared by my friend Lakshmi who is a phenomenal cook! Her cooking takes Indian food to the next level! Its flavor packed with lots of nutrient rich ingredients and let’s just say “Lakshmi’s food is in a league of it own.” Absolutely delicious!

Lakshmi described her dhal as the easiest to make and a staple in every South Indian Telegu home.

“The simplest dhal we make is a staple Telugu food in every household.”

Three easy steps for a delicious creamy dhal

Step 1 – Toor dhal is cooked with onions, tomatoes and greens such as chard, fenugreek leaves, spinach or kale. Chili powder, turmeric, and green chilies are also added and cooked together until the lentils are tender.

Step 2 – After the lentils are cooked add salt, tamarind paste or lemon juice.

Step 3 – Lastly season with what Indians call Thadka. Thadka is when oil is warmed and spices such are mustard seeds, asafetida and cumin seeds are toasted in the oil with curry leaves and this seasoned oil is then added to veggies or lentils. In Lakshmi’s thadka, she also toasted dried lentils such as yellow split peas to add a bit of crunch.

Use fresh greens that are at their peak at this time of year

Use in season greens that are available now and your dhal will taste amazing. I used swiss chard from my little veggie patch.

This is an awesome recipe when you want to make something warm and comforting on a chilly wintery night. Give it a try!

Toor Dhal (Pigeon peas) with Greens and Spices
recipe contributed by Lakshmi


1 cup toor dhal also called pigeon peas
1 medium onion finely chopped
1-2 tomatoes finely chopped
2-4 cups chopped greens of your choice – spinach, chard, kale, mustard greens, etc.
1-2 green chili finely diced, remove seeds to keep it mild
Red chili powder (as much as you want) or use dried red chilies
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp Tamarind paste or juice of 1 lemon
For Thadka
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Curry leaves (if you have)
2 tsp asafetida powder
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp dried lentils of you choice – such as yellow split peas


In the instapot add the toor dhal, 3 cups water, all the greens, onions, green chili, tomatoes, turmeric powder, and chili powder. Cook on high pressure for 25-30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.

Remove the dhal from the cooker and transfer to a pot on the stovetop. To the dhal add the salt to taste and the tamarind or lemon juice.

Make the thadka (the spiced oil). In a small pan warm 2 tbsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Then add the cumin seeds and toast for 2 seconds, next goes in the dried lentils and toast for few seconds. Next add the asafetida, garlic and curry leaves and fry for 3-5 seconds. Thadka is ready.

Add the the thadka to the dhal and stir into the dhal. Bring to a low simmer. Taste and adjust for salt and sourness and adjust accordingly. Dhal is ready.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over basmati rice.

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