Mung is a favourite dal of many people with its sweet, creamy, mushiness. A good mung dal cooked at home is worth a hundred restaurant visits. This recipe features Spinach as well.
Cumin is such a natural pairing with Mung Dal. Not only does it add a flavour that suits the flavour of Mung, it adds a little crunch too as you bite into those fried cumin seeds.
Mung Soupy Dal with Cumin and Spinach
1 cup split yellow moong (mung) dal, without skins
230g fresh spinach, washed, drained and chopped coarsely
1.5 litres water
1 tspn turmeric
0.5 tspn ground coriander
0.5 tspn finely chopped fresh ginger root
2 Tblspn ghee (use oil for a vegan alternative)
0.5 Tblspn lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tspn cumin seeds
large pinch hing (asafetida powder)
0.25 – 0.5 tspn cayenne pepper or paprika
Wash the mung dal well in several changes of water, removing any foreign bodies that might be mixed in with the dal, and drain.
Add the mung beans, water, turmeric, coriander, ginger root and dab of ghee in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the mung is fully cooked and soft/mushy.
Uncover, add the salt, and whisk or blend with a stick blender until it is creamy and smooth. Alternatively you can leave it mushy but not completely smooth for added texture.
Add the spinach, cover and simmer for 7 more minutes.
Heat the remaining ghee in a frying pan over a moderate – hot heat. When it is hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until they are brown. Add the hing and cayenne or paprika and fry for just 2 seconds more. Pour the fried seasonings immediately into the dal. Cover and allow the flavours to settle for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir and serve.
This is a great recipe for using up Spinach Stems. Chop them into 1/2cm pieces and add to the dal in place of the spinach.
This dish does take quite a bit of salt – add it a little at a time until the correct balance is reached.
Add more ghee if you like. Ghee and mung dal is a heavenly flavour combination.
This dish can be eaten over rice, or as a Western soup.