Having born to a south Indian orthodox family, I spent major chunk of my life up in North India- I am fully aware of all the cuisines in both the regions and let me assure you that they are vibrantly different! There comes a time when you tend to make a south indian dish and give it a north Indian twist and vice versa. I love fusion cooking- as it brings the best flavors to your dish. So, my dish is a simple palak dal (north Indian dish) completely cooked with flavors of a south Indian sambhar dish. If you are wondering what in the world will it taste like- go ahead and try it :)
Ingredients- Palak (Spinach) about 500 gms , Moong dal (split yellow bean/lentils) about 1 cup, sambar powder, 1 small teaspoon of tamarind paste, salt, 1 tomato diced, 1 cup of cashew nuts and 3 green cardamom pieces.
Now comes the spices- add in the sambar powder, tamarind paste, diced tomato and salt to the mixture. Sambar powder is a spicy south Indian powder readily available in any Indian store- Allow the mixture to boil for a good 10 minutes so that the spinach takes in the spices- I will add around 1 big teaspoon of sambar powder to get a strong flavor. Now comes the finishing touch- grind the cashew nuts with cardamom pieces to a fine powder and mix this powder to the palak dal to give it a rich taste. In a separate frying pan, heat a bit of oil. Once the oil is warm toss in some cumin seeds and 2 pieces of dry red chillies. Once the cumin seeds start sputtering, remove the pan from fire and pour this oil in to the palak dal. As usual don't forget to blend in some chopped corriander leaves to enjoy Palak dal with rice.
Check out a variation of this spinach dish with almost the same ingredients (with coconut minus spices)- http://eq-myblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/keerai-molaghootal-with-vendakkai-puli.html