Mung Dal with Ghee is a gentle dal, sweet and delicious, and a particular favourite in this house. It is a dish from Kerala, and I had eaten it often there.
In Kerala, it is kept as a simple dish without spices, allowing the gentleness and the sweetness of the mung dal to characterise the dish. A mountain of ghee is added to the dal to accentuate the flavours. Neyyum Parippum, means lentils and ghee.
This dish is also suitable for Ganesha Chaturthi.
I had enjoyed this dish often in Kerala, and had a cooking class from the Chef at the Leela in Kovalam. My love of my making of this dish has been heavily influence by notes I jotted down during as he cooked.
Neyyum Parippum | Mashed Mung Dal with Ghee
Source: Traditional Kerala Recipe
Cuisine: From Kerala, India
Prep time: 2 mins
Cooking time: 30 – 40 mins
Serves: 5-6 depending how you use it
1 cup mung dal (split mung beans without skin)
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
salt to taste
Up to 0.25 cup ghee (I add a heaped tablespoon full, and taste. Then some more is added if I feel that it needs it.)
Wash the mung dal by putting it in a bowl, covering with water and swishing it around. Then carefully pour the water off. Repeat until the water runs clear.
Place 2.5 cups water in a pan, add the mung dal and stir. Bring to the boil. It may boil up, so watch it carefully. Putting a wooden spoon across the top of the pan may restrain it from boiling over.
Reduce the heat and simmer until well cooked, about 30 minutes. It will be quite mushy and losing shape. It may take less time for good quality mung dal. Stir occasionally, adding more water as necessary.
When it is cooked, add the turmeric, and salt and allow to cook for a few more minutes. Add the ghee and stir it through. Taste and adjust the salt if needed – you may find that you need more than usual.
Serves 4 – 6 if served with another curry. Enjoy!
Other Versions of Neiyyum Parippum
I really encourage you to cook Neiyyum Parippum as above. There is something extraordinary in this simple dish.
Other parts of India also cook a similar dish. For example, and not surprisingly, Tamil Nadu, sitting right next door to Kerala, has Paruppu Nei Sadham or Simple Paruppu Sadham, which is the same dish, also served with rice. Perhaps Kerala uses more ghee.
Even in Kerala, it can be spiced up. Here are some suggestions.
Add 1 – 3 split green chillies while cooking the dal. A knob of ginger can be also added.
Use coconut oil instead of ghee, or a combination of coconut oil and ghee.
Instead of just stirring in the ghee, first add some curry leaves in a pile on top of the dal. Then heat the ghee until hot and pour over the curry leaves. Stir the dal to incorporate the ghee.
Or you can make a tadka with mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chillies.
Or make a paste by grinding coconut with ginger, cumin seeds, green chilli, and water and add to the cooked dal with a curry leaf tadka.
Garlic and onions/shallots can be added.
My preference is to keep it simple. The only addition I will make sometimes is to add curry leaves.
You won’t go wrong with Mung dal. Only watch the heat level & keep stirring now & then so that the dal does not get burnt.