In Kerala, there is an amazing dish, Neyyum Parippum, which is mung dal cooked with few spices, and with a fair amount of ghee added. Because the amount of ghee is frightening (but delicious), different versions of the dish abound, introducing more spices and less ghee. Here is one of them, given to me by a Keralite friend.
Kerala Mung Dal with Onions, Garlic and Green Chillies
Cook 0.75 cup mung dal till very soft, and set aside.
In a saucepan heat 1 Tblspn ghee. When it is hot, add a couple of dry halved red chillies followed by 0.5 tspn mustard seeds. Allow the mustard seeds to pop, and when the spluttering almost stops and the dry chillies have darkened, add 1 or 2 small onions that have been thinly sliced and 8 – 10 fresh curry leaves.
When the onions turn soft & golden add in 1 tspn garlic paste (or 2 minced garlic cloves), 2 sliced fresh green chillies (or to taste), and 0.5 tspn turmeric powder. Stir well, then add 0.5 tspn cumin powder and 0.5 tspn ground black pepper.Stir to mix in.
Add the onions to the cooked dal, stir to mix well and bring back to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan and allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.