Mamta's Kitchen

Mung Dal (Green Gram) Whole

Sabut Moong Dal

Reeta Kumar

There are many different lentils eaten in India. Each takes slightly different time to cook. The water required and cooking times given here is average. Remember that there are many variants in cooking dals, as with other things. Cooking time can depend upon the quality of dal, softness of water, whether it was soaked beforehand and what method you use to cook it. Slow cooker may take all day, where as a pressure cooker will cook most dals in minutes. Different pressure cookers have different performances. Cooking in a pan will be somewhere in between. Water required can also vary depending upon what method you use to cook and whether the dal was soaked beforehand. Pressure cooker and slow cooker take much less water than cooking it in a pan. It is better to start with a little less water and then add more according your need, how thick/runny you like it. Intensity of heat you use also makes a difference to cooking time and water required.

If you eat lentils regularly, I would recommend buying a pressure cooker. It makes cooking much quicker and easier. Slow cooker is also a good gadget to have, dal cooked in it tastes much nicer and creamier, at least to me. Serves 4

Edited May 2014


  • 1 cup whole moong dal

  • 5-6 cups water. (this dal swells up a lot during cooking)

  • Salt to taste (1-1 1/2 tsp.)

  • 1 level tsp. turmeric powder

  • For basic tarka (for other types of tarka, see notes below):

  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or olive oil or a mix of oil and ghee. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder

  • 2-3 dry, whole red chillies broken up

  • 1 tsp.grated or chopped ginger

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder


  1. Wash the dal well and soak in water for a half an hour. Whole dals take longer to cook, soaking for a while reduces cooking time.

  2. Drain this water off before cooking.

  3. Cooking in Pressure cooker

  4. Place the dal, water and turmeric in the pressure cooker and bring to boil, until you hear hissing sound. Turn heat down to medium and cook under pressure for 10-15 minutes. Time can vary with different pressure cookers. If it has been soaked for a few hours, cook only for 5 minutes.

  5. Allow pressure cooker to cool down before opening.

  6. Open the lid and check water. If too thick, add a little boiling water until it reaches the consistency you desire.

  7. Add salt, adjust to taste.

  8. Cooking without a pressure cooker

  9. Place the dal, 8 cups water, salt and turmeric in a pan and bring to boil. Now simmer briskly until tender. If the dal begins to look too thick and dry, you may need to add more hot water during the cooking process. When ready, a dal should be soft but not mashed.

  10. Place in a serving bowl.

  11. Basic tarka or tempering:

  12. Heat ghee or oil in a tarka ladle (this can be bought from an Indian store) or in a small pan. Ghee tastes better than oil.

  13. Add cumin and asafoetida powder and let the seeds start to splutter.

  14. Add ginger and fry for 20 seconds.

  15. Add whole chillies and chillies powder, stir with a small spoon, add to the cooked dal and cover with a lid immediately. This will infuse the flavours into the dal and stop the dal from splashing out during tempering.

  16. Other variations of tarka or tempering:

  17. After cumin seeds crackle, add a little grated ginger and garlic to the hot oil, fry until beginning to turn golden brown. Add whole chillies and chilli powder.

  18. You can use black mustard seeds in place of cumin seeds, I which case, add a few curry leaves (meetha neem) also to the hot oil. Now add other ingredients as above and pour over the dal as above.

  19. After crackling the cumin seeds, add 1 tsp. each of grated ginger and garlic and for a minute. Now add one chopped onion and fry until browned. Add 1 tsp. curry powder or sambhar powder and 2 chopped tomatoes. Fry a little longer and add to the dal.

  20. Serve with hot Chapatti and Boiled Rice.

  21. Also see Dal Selection.


  • Overcooked or leftover dal can be added to roti or chapatti flour when making a dough. This makes delicious rotis and parathas.

  • The amount of dal required per person depends on whether you are serving the dal with roti or with rice. Rice requires more dal.

  • You can add chopped coriander leaves to all dals as a garnish.

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