4 cups water
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 cup split and peeled urad dal, washed, soaked for 1 hour, and drained
8 ounces fresh spinach, washed well and stemmed
2 tablespoons dried fenugreek (methi) leaves, soaked**
1 piece (about 2 inches) fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon ghee
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced**
seeds of 1 black cardamom pod
1 to 2 dried red chili peppers, crushed**
pinch of asafoetida powder
In a heavy pan, bring the water, turmeric, and coriander to a boil. Add the soaked dal, spinach, and fenugreek, cover, and cook over medium heat for 1 hour, or until soft.
Reduce the heat and add the fresh ginger. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
To prepare the parka, heat the ghee in a ladle or small frying pan. Add the garlic and tarka spices and saute for a few minutes, until well-toasted and fragrant. Add the sizzling parka to the dal and cover immediately with a tight fitting lid. Allow to stand for a few minutes, while the flavors blend.
Top each serving of dal with Cumin Seed Dressing and serve with rice.
** Note: Dried fenugreek leaves should be soaked in water for 5 minutes and then stirred with the fingertips. The dust that settles to the bottom is not good to ingest and should discarded. If you are experiencing Pitta (excess heat) like symptoms in your body, remove garlic and red chili peppers.