1. Cook moong dal until soft in a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
2. Thaw spinach (fresh spinach can be used). Finely chop onion and tomatoes; set these aside.
3. Place a pan on medium heat and add oil. Add cumin seeds and turmeric powder to the hot oil, followed by asafoetida.
4. Add chopped onions and saute for a minute.
5. Add spinach, tomatoes and about 1/2 -,- 1 cup water. Add salt and red chili powder and cook spinach and tomatoes for 3 -,- 5 minutes.
6. Lightly mash cooked moong dal and add to spinach/tomato mixture. Add tamarind paste and allow the mixture to cook for 5 -,- 7 minutes on medium to medium-low heat.
7. Turn off the heat, and transfer into a serving bowl.
Serve with warm rice or chapathi, an Indian bread.Variations
Moong dal cooks faster, so a regular cooking pot with 2 -,- 3 cups water can be used.
8. Asafoetida adds a distinct flavor to the dish; this can be eliminated if unavailable.
9. Tamarind paste can be substituted for lemon juice. Add 2 tbsp of lemon juice.
10. 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, can be added at step 4 with onions and sauteed.