Mung Dal-Split Green Gram With Skin
Moong Dal Chilka
Moong dal is one of the easiest dals to digest and for this reason it is often given to people recovering from an illness, specially a stomach upset. The water required and cooking time given here is average. Do remember that there are many variants in cooking. For example, quality of the lentil, softness of water, whether the dal was soaked beforehand (soaked dals take a little less time to cook) and the intensity of heat and so on. It will get easier as you cook more dals. Remember that if undercooked, you can cook a dal some more but you can't do very much with overcooked dal. It does not taste bad, only it doesn't look as good.
You can add a handful of dry methi leaves to this dal, see picture 2. Serves 4
200 gm. or 1 cup split moong dal with skin
3 cups water (use more if not using pressure cooker)
Salt to taste (1-1 1/2 tsp.)
1/2tsp. turmeric powder
2 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or olive oil. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.
1 tsp. cumin seeds
A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder
2-3 whole red chillies broken up
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
Optional: 1 tsp chopped ginger and 1 tsp chopped garlic
Wash dal well.
Drain the water off before cooking.
Cooking in Pressure cooker:
Place the dal, water, salt and turmeric in the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure, until you hear a hissing sound. Cook under pressure for 2 minutes. This dal cooks very quickly under pressure*.
Allow pressure cooker to cool before opening.
Open the lid and check water. If too thick, add a little boiling water until it reaches the consistency you desire.
Cooking without a pressure cooker:
Place the dal, 4 cups water, salt and turmeric in a pan and bring to boil. Now simmer briskly until tender. You may need to add more water through the cooking process, if the dal begins to look too thick and dry. This takes approximately 15-20 minutes.
You can cook it in a slow cooker, adding 4 cups of water. See picture.
Dals, when ready, should be soft but not mashed.
Place in a serving bowl.
Tarka or tempering:
Heat ghee or oil in a tarka ladle (can be bought from an Indian store) or a small pan. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.
Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder and let the seeds start to splutter.
Add whole chillies and chillies powder, stir with a small spoon. Add ginger and garlic here, if used. Fry for a minute or two. Add 'tarka' to the cooked dal and cover with a lid. This will infuse the flavours into the dal and stop the dal from splashing out during tempering. (Do not add chillies if making for a sick person).
Also see Dal Selection.
Overcooked or leftover dal can be added to roti or chapatti flour when making a dough. This makes delicious roti and paratha.
The amount of dal required per person depends on whether you are serving the dal with roti or with rice. Rice requires more dal. This dal does not go too well with rice.
You can add chopped coriander leaves to all dals as a garnish.
You can add a bunch of methi or fenugreek leaves to the dal during cooking. It gives a nice flavour to the dal.
You can try different types of tarkas, see You can try different types of tarkas, see Making Dal
Moong Dal Snack:
This dal is also eaten as a snack. For this, cook it with only 2-3 cups of water and salt only. No turmeric is added. You can cook it in a pressure cooker for 5-7 minutes, but do not put the pressure on. Dal should have no liquid when ready. Place individual portions in plates, sprinkled with garam masala and ground roast cumin and a good squeeze of lemon. Serve with finely chopped cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions spooned on top of the dal. Serve green mango chutney as an accompaniment.