One of the most common dishes in Indian culture is “Dal.” You will find it in almost every Indian restaurant, home, region of India, every where and anywhere Indian food is available. It is as abundant as rice or pasta is in this world! AND – every location it is available, has their own recipe or twist to it.
So..what is it?
Dal is basically a thick, lentil soup seasoned with different spices like turmeric, mustard seed, garam masala and many others depending on type being made. It has a veggie based gravy made with onions, tomatoes, chili, curry leaves, onion and garlic – again the amount and type of veggies used depends on the recipe.
I guess “Dal” is equivalent to “Chicken Noodle Soup” – very common, almost everyone makes it and loves it. The difference is that dal can be eaten with rice, Indian breads, alone or on top of different Indian foods like the South Indian Masala Dosa.
What’s a “Masala Dosa?” Well – in a nutshell, its like an Indian version of an Enchilada but made with rice flour and stuffed with a seasoned veggie mixture. The details for the “dosa” will have to be in a different post though – Sorry! :O)
Daal can be made with different lentils ranging from yellow, black, red, green – split peas and beans.
Here is an example of a few types of common lentils:
Alot of our Indian Dal dishes are made from dried lentils that are soaked in water to revive and soften before cooking down into our “seasoned soup.”
The mung bean, alternatively known as the green gram, maash, or moong Sanskrit मुद्ग / mŪdg, is a plant species in the legume family. The mung bean is mainly cultivated in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is used as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mung_bean)
For our recipe today, we are going to be using the MUNG (MOONG) BEAN in a savory dish.
Indian Spiced Lentils (Moong Bean Daal)
Serves: 6-8 people
- 1/4 cup of oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
- 1 large onion (diced small)
- 3 medium tomatoes (diced small)
- 1 green chili (cut into 4 long pieces) – add more if desired
- 1 red bell pepper (diced small) **optional
- 3 Tbsp. of ginger paste
- 5 or 6 curry leaves
- 1 to 1.5 tsp. of salt
- 2-3 Tbsp. Madras curry powder (Hot or Mild)
- ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley/coriander
- ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (*optional)
- 2 Tbsp. of cumin seeds
- ¼ cup ketchup (this adds a bit of sweetness to dish)
- 2 to 2.5 cups of dried green mung bean lentils (rinse and clean in water to remove any starch/debris)
- 4-5 cups of water
- In medium/large pressure cooker, add oil and allow to heat on medium.
- Once oil is hot, add cumin seeds and allow to fry in oil for 1 minute to flavor.
- Add diced tomatoes, jalapeno, bell pepper, onion, curry leaves, ginger paste, salt, ketchup, cumin powder and curry powder. Mix all ingredients together till fully incorporated and allow to cook covered on stove for about 5-7 minutes or until all veggies cook down, become tender and you have a semi-chunky gravy consistency.
- Add moong dal (lentils) and cups of water.
- Close and lock pressure cooker, then allow to cook on medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes OR until the whistle screams for about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn stove off, release all pressure by opening valve before opening.
- Add lemon juice and extra 1 cup of water (if dal is too thick) – mix into dal well
- Add coriander/parsley as garnish OR mix into dal before serving.
- Add 1 Tbsp. of butter on top of dal when served in individual bowls for added creaminess.
- In an individual bowl, mix the dal with some rice and plain yogurt for a creamy, hearty and comforting dish. (I have done this since childhood in my own big bowl – not meant for sharing..lol)
I hope you enjoy trying this recipe in your own kitchen. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts or tag me on IG @cmspiceculture.