Food is everything we are; it’s an extension of identity, your personal history, your childhood, your development, your family tree and your grandma’s love.
We used to call this dish Mug growing up and as a kid I used to make a lot of fuss when I was served it. The Moong Dal when cooked is a yellow green due to the green of the moong bean and the yellow of the turmeric added. I didn’t like the color much and so used to whine. As I got older I missed the wholesome qualities of this warming dish, with the deep notes of garlic and ginger and just that hint of fragrant spices and would ask my grandma to make it for me so I could freeze it and eat it once a week. As I cooked this dish, the memories of my grandma cooking it every Wednesday came back, those amazing aromas that I now miss so much.
Thank you Mama for your open arms, your listening ears and your unconditional love. You loved me from when I was born, but I loved you all my life; always on my mind, forever in my heart.
I decided to make this recipe as it takes less process that most lentil dishes and can be done in less than 30 minutes.
I am also working in collaboration with my mum on the Indian dishes and she is kindly trying them out so she is able to help me recreate them accurately. This as you can imagine takes time and I’ll therefore be switching back and fourth from the Indian to other tasha.kitchen healthy recipes.
I adapted a recipe from http://vegetarian.about.com, with a few edits from my memory and my mum’s tips.
Moong Dal is naturally low in fat and high in fiber and protein. A 1-cup serving of cooked moong dal has less than 1 gram of fat, over 14 grams of protein, 16g of dietary fiber and around 212kcal, according to (www.livestrong.com). Of course it depends how you cook it, but those stats are pretty impressive. Lentils are also counted as the top 10 healthiest foods on earth (www.goodnet.org).
- 1 cup moong dal
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. turmeric (Haldi)
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil/ghee/water (optional)
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds (Jira)
- 2 whole cloves
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. Finely chopped ginger (2cm x 2cm)
- 1 tbsp. Crushed garlic (2 cloves)
- You can sweat the onion mixture in water rather than sautéing it with olive oil/ghee and this makes a healthier version.
- In a large soup or stock pan, combine the moong dal, vegetable broth, turmeric, cayenne/chili and salt.
- Bring to a slow simmer. Cover partially with a lid and allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, and up to 30-40 minutes if you prefer a smoother dal. You can add a bit more liquid if needed.
- In a separate skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and cloves in ghee/olive oil or water for just a few minutes, until onions are soft.
- Add the onions and spices to the dal and allow to simmer for a few more minutes, stirring well to combine. Sprinkle with a dash of black pepper and add extra salt to taste, if needed.
- Serve plain, as soup, or over rice.
- Dal tends to thicken up a bit as it cools, so you may want to add a bit more water if you are planning on having leftovers, but there’s also a bit of personal preference involved with just how thin or how thick you prefer it to be.