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Malabar Spinach Recipe | Odia Poi Saag Muga Dali Recipe

Malabar Spinach Recipe





Prep Time

10 Mins

Cook Time

15 Mins

Total TIme

25 Mins

Malabar spinach moong dal is a vegan, healthy and nutritious recipe prepared with fresh green Malabar spinach and moong dal.

Malabar spinach is a thick green saag when cut it releases a slimy liquid like okra. But when cooked with moong dal the sliminess is not noticeable. Malabar spinach is also known as “Indian spinach” and in Odia, it is known as “Poi ka Saag”. 

Poi saag recipe is a typical authentic dish of Odisha. If you are searching for an easy, simple, and healthy dish you must try this at home. Malabar spinach is also used for soups, stir fry, and curries (with other vegetables). Here I have shared the simplest form of the Poi saag recipe process with pictures.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Malabar spinach is not spinach or even not related to it. But when cooked it tastes like regular spinach.
  • Growing Malabar plants at home is also very easy. Some grow them as ornamental plants. 
  • We can prepare different recipes from leaves and stems. 
  • The berries are used as a dye.

What are the health benefits of Malabar spinach?

Malabar spinach is

  • A good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Full of antioxidants
  • Rich in vitamins A and C

There are many other health benefits as well. So you can add it to your regular diet as steamed, boiled, soup, stir-fry, or curry. It is also super beneficial for pregnant women.
Malabar Spinach

How to prepare Malabar Spinach Recipe with Moong dal?

  1. Wash ½ cup moong dal. Pour moong dal in a pressure cooker along with salt and turmeric powder. Cook for one whistle in low flame. Make sure the dal is not overcooked and each grain is in proper shape. You can cook dal in a vessel also.
    Malabar Spinach with Moong Dal
  2. For this poi saag recipe, use fresh and green poi. Properly wash and strain excess water. Roughly chop leaves. Here I am using stems also. Remove strings around the stems and cut them into small pieces.
    Poi Saag Recipe
  3. Pour 1 ½ tablespoon of oil. Heat it and add mustard seeds. Let it splatter. 
  4. Now add cumin and dried chilies, mix all, and sauté for a minute. 
    Malabar Spinach
  5. Add Malabar stems first as they are tougher than leaves. Sauté stems with spices. Cover and cook for five minutes until slightly tender.

    Malabar Spinach Stems

  6. After 5 minutes the color of stems has changed slightly, now add chopped poi saag leaves and mix. 
  7. Add salt to taste and a pinch of sugar. Don’t add too much salt as we will add boiled moong dal in it.
    Malabar Spinach Recipe
  8.  Cover and cook until all moisture evaporates and poi saag is cooked properly. Check occasionally.
  9. If we use fresh Malabar spinach it automatically releases water and no extra water is required for cooking.
    Poi Recipe
  10.  Check the stems before adding moong dal. 
  11. If the stems are cooked, the recipe is almost ready. Add boiled moong dal according to your choice and mix.
    Moong Dal for Poi Recipe
  12. Here my moong dal is not very liquidy, so I have added a little warm water and cooked for a minute.
  13.  Nutritious and healthy poi saag moong dal recipe is ready. Serve hot.
    Poi Saag Recipe
  14. Here I haven’t used onion and garlic. If you want you can use them.

Malabar spinach (Poi saag moong dal) is a very healthy yet simple recipe that you can have with rice or roti.


1 cup Malabar Spinach (Chopped Poi Saag)
¼ cup Malabar stem (Cut in small pieces)
½ cup Moong dal (Boiled)
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
½ teaspoon Cumin
2 dried Chilies
½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 pinch Sugar
1 ½ tablespoon Oil
Salt (As per taste)


  1. Properly wash and clean moong dal (Muga Dali) and cook for one whistle in low flame with a little salt and turmeric powder. Make sure the dal is not too liquid-like normal dal. Each grain of dal should be in proper shape. If you aren’t comfortable you can also cook dal in a vessel.
  2. Clean and wash Malabar spinach along with stems. Roughly chop leaves. Cut stems into small pieces after removing the strings around them.
  3. Pour 1 ½ tablespoon of oil into a Kadai. Add mustard into the hot oil. 
  4. After the splattering stops add cumin and dried chilies. If you like you can use chopped onions and garlic at this stage. 
  5. Add chopped Malabar spinach stems. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the stems are slightly tender.
  6. Pour chopped poi saag leaves along with salt and a pinch of sugar. A little sugar lowers any bitterness and increases the taste. Make sure not to add too much salt as the saag shrinks a lot after cooking and later we add boiled moong dal in it.
  7. Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes until all water releases from the saag evaporate. Stir occasionally.
  8. Before adding moong dal check whether the stems are cooked or not. If not, cook for some more time.
  9. Add moong dal and mix. Here I have added 6 tablespoons of warm water as my recipe is too thick. Cook for a minute. If you want more liquidy dal add another ½ cup of water.
  10. Serve a super healthy and delicious Malabar spinach moong dal recipe.


  1. Always use fresh and juicy Malabar for the recipe.
  2. If using stems, remove the strings around them.
  3. While boiling moong dal keep a close eye on it.
  4. A dash of sugar makes the recipe taste good.

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