Moong Bean Dhal

This is quite possibly my favourite meal.

It’s nutritious. It’s hot. It’s spicy and it’s full of protein.  Make a big batch, leave it overnight for the flavours to really seep in and then freeze it in portion sizes for cold, miserable and wet days.   The dried mangosteen is optional but I usually have some and it adds a sourness which I rather like.  This recipe makes about four large bowls or eight small bowls for a thali.

Moong Bean Dhal , Mug

Comfort food

You’ll need

  • 200g dried moong beans
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick – about 2 inches
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black kokum (dried mangosteen)
  • 1 heaped tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 or 5 curry leaves
  • about 2 inches of ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 green chillies
  • half a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 and half tsp salt
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tsp coriander and cumin powder (ask for dhana jeeru)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander

To make it

Firstly a word about moong beans

Soak the moong beans overnight in warm water to remove the toxins and then boil them til tender.  Should take about half an hour.  If you don’t have the time to soak and have a pressure cooker then pressure cook them in plenty of water for 15-20 minutes.

For the purposes of this recipe I am going to assume you are using cooked moong beans.

  1. Slice the green chillies in half – I leave the seeds in but you can take them out if you want a milder taste.
  2. Grate the garlic and ginger and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat.
  4. While that’s coming to the right temperature, put the “vaghar” or tempering ingredients into a small bowl or cup – green chillies, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cumin seeds, kokum, cloves and curry leaves.
  5. Test the temperature of the oil  by popping in a mustard seed.  If it fizzles and starts spitting the oil is ready.
  6. Add the “vaghar” ingredients quickly being careful to shield your face and eyes with your saucepan lid as they will spit at you.
  7. Let them fizzle and pop out for a few seconds and then add the garlic and ginger, closely followed by the chopped tomatoes.
  8. Turn the heat down and let this simmer gently without stirring.  Give it a little shake if it looks like it’s sticking.
  9. Add the cooked moong beans and stir through.
  10. Add 400ml (about 1 and half tomato tin’s worth) and stir through.
  11. Add the salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and dhana jeeru, stir and then cover and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes on a low heat.  You just really want the spices to cook out a little.
  12. Taste and adjust to your liking on the salt.  If it’s too spicy add a couple of teaspoons of sugar at this stage.
  13. Stir in the lemon juice and chopped coriander.
  14. Serve piping hot with a drizzle of ghee and some rotli on the side.

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