I usually turn to mung beans when I feel like a bit of comfort and nourishment, but today it is whole red lentils, masoor gram. This recipe is very simple, very easy, very home-cooking style, and very delicious. It has the taste of coriander and cinnamon, and has green capsicums added for additional flavour and texture. This is uncommon, but not unusual, and we love the taste and texture.
This delicious dish using daikon radish is from Karnataka in South India. Tovve is a mild lentil dish cooked with ghee in a tamarind based gravy (or lemon juice is used) with a simple spice combination. It is similar to dal or rasam (depending how thick the dish is made). Tovve is a versatile recipe and can be prepared with many kinds of dal and vegetables.
The success of any Dal is in the combination of the texture of the dal and the layers of flavours added by spices and perhaps onions, and garlic. It is not often that cooked lentils on their own, without anything else added, qualify as a great and tasty dal dish. There are exceptions, of course (eg Mung Dal with Ghee), but they are rare.
This recipe is an interesting one, as it is spiced with chilli, mustard and nigella seeds; the latter are slightly bitter in taste. Overall the dish is quite tart and refreshing, and is an excellent hot weather dish.
I find Dal the most comforting of dishes, and it is no wonder that it is eaten on most days throughout India. Spices are used to vary the flavours, – some for the heat of pre-Monsoon Summer, others for the cool of the Monsoon rains.
Dals always begin the same – boiling one or more lentils until soft, with the thickness of the dal being a personal preference. Some areas of India make them thick, others prefer them thin and soupy. In this household, we have the choice, so it depends on the cook, and the day, and the weather.
Inclusions also vary. Some dals contain onions – in some parts of India, the onions are cut long and thin – the chillies too. In other parts, the onions and chillies are cut minutely, almost a paste – garlic too – and this is all fried in ghee or oil.
Mung dal (split, hulled Mung Beans) is good for any time of year – and particularly good in summer. So is Toor dal. In Winter it is good to roast the mung dal before cooking as it helps to heat the bodily system. Toss it in a frying pan until a gorgeous aroma arises, then add to water to cook. In Summer, it is preferred kancha or unroasted, as it is lighter and easer to digest. Thanks to the excellent book Bengali Cooking for the lovely chapter and information on Dals.
The thing about Vegetarian food is there is not much that is fast food, unless you look in the processed aisle of the supermarket. But if you are cooking from scratch, there is generally a reasonable amount of time needed to soak, bake, cook, spice, grind, roast, toast and so forth. Pasta is one laudable exception, and masoor dal (split red lentils as they are called here) another. They are fast in as much as 20 – 30 mins can be called fast. Longer than it might take for some non-veg meals, but quick in the terms of veg feasts.
This dal, made from masoor dal, is as quick as it gets. I hope you enjoy it.
Red lentils, as they are called here, or Masoor Dal, have made a reappearance in this kitchen after we received a large bag of them as a gift. How wonderful to have friends and relatives that gift odd bits and pieces to our pantry – I love them all.
Truly, I had forgotten how wonderful red lentils are, even though we have some stunning dishes that feature them. Red Lentil Soup with Garlic, for example, and also the Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt.
Today we are making a Dal from the Assam region in North East India that mixes both split red lentils and mung dal. It is tasty, substantial, healthy and nourishing. The recipe uses mustard oil for a wonderful tang, but ghee can be substituted if preferred.
Toor Dal is a lentil much loved all over India, from the Sambars of Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India, to the Aamti variation of the Maharashtrian Varan, to the Dal Tadka of the Punjab. And no wonder. The creamy, flowing texture and interesting flavour of the dal makes it a favourite with many.
The Punjab is full of wonderful dals, from Dal Makhani to Amritsari Dal. But nothing really beats the simplicity of Dal Tadka. In the same way that Varan is loved by the Maharashtrians, and Neiyyum Parippum is loved by the Keralites, this simple dal dish has a strong appeal. It is made with toor dal and generously spiced with a tadka of black mustard seeds, garlic, chilli and cumin.
Toor Dal is famous world wide. Easy and cheap to make, it became a favourite of restaurateurs, so was introduced early to restaurant-goers in other parts of the world. It goes so well with rice and an array of Indian flat breads. Jeera rice is particularly nice with it.
Dal is a generic term for a dish made with lentils, sometimes with vegetables. It is probably a term coined outside of India to incorporate the wealth of different thick and semi-thick dishes made with lentils. Within India, lentil dishes that fit into that category are infinite in variety, varying in the lentil used, the spices used, the consistency and the vegetables incorporated. Each will have a different name, and even the change of 1 spice or 1 other ingredient (e.g. whether coconut is included or not) might change the name of the dish completely.
However, the recipe for this dish came to me with only the title Dal. It is probably Sri Lankan influenced, and is as simple as an be. But all dishes from this source are both simple AND amazingly flavoursome. It comes from the monks of the Kauai Aadheenam.
The monks used this dal for lunch and served it just with rice and a vegetable dish. It is made with toor dal, that beautiful creamy, slightly sweet dal that is also used for sambar, pitlai, kothsu and other related dishes, which is cooked with a little coconut mik. Toor dal can take a while to cook, depending on its age and quality, so allow enough time.
Have a look at all of our Dal recipes and all of our recipes made with Toor Dal. Or explore all of our Sri Lankan dishes and all of our Indian Recipes. Alternatively, have a look at our Late Autumn collection of recipes. Continue reading “Simple Monk’s Dal”
There are many variations of mung dal, ghee and spices. Mung and Ghee are like a match made in heaven. It can be as simple yet heavenly as Neiyyum Parippum, as complex as a Dal Tadka, or even more complex. Each, although very different dishes, are divine. The simplest variation of spices can make all the difference.
This Mung Dal with Ghee adds cumin, fenugreek (optional), green chilli and garlic to a simple Neiyyum Parippum. Now it must be said that Cumin is the third partner in a trinity that is amazing – Mung Dal, Ghee and Cumin. The fenugreek, which can be left out, adds a slight bitterness. The chilli adds flavour and texture without bite, and the garlic a little groundedness.
This recipe comes from Kerala where it was shown to me by a local chef. This comes from my quickly scribbled notes. I hope you enjoy it.
It has been a while since I posted an Urad recipe. Urad is one of my favourite lentils, comforting and nourishing, and used a lot in the Punjab region. It is easy to cook with, especially if you know and respect its properties.
This dish is a cousin of Dal Makhani, using yoghurt instead of butter and cream, and whole urad rather than split urad dal.
And what a stunner! This is a slow cooked dish – taking around 5 hours – but they are effortless hours. No need to do more than the odd stir or two.
Alternatively, explore all of our Dal Makhani and similar recipes. Or browse Punjabi recipes. We have a range of different Urad recipes and Rajma (Kidney Bean) recipes. You might also like to check out the Madhur Jaffrey recipes that we love. Oh and our Dal recipes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Mid Autumn dishes.
I do love the Keralite classic Mung Dal with Ghee (Neyyum Parippum), and its offshoots – Mung Dal with Cumin and ISKON Mung Dal. Maharashtra has a dish that exhibits the same simplicity, but it is made with toor dal (and not quite so much ghee). Toor dal is the lentil that gives Sambar (from Tamil Nadu) its creamy, flowing consistency.
Simply spiced, the dish highlights the flavour of the lentils. The dish is served with rice, and is a variation on its simpler ancestor, Varan Bhaat which literally means Lentil Curry-Rice. In many Maharashtrian households, this dish or the simpler Varan is cooked every day and it is a comforting and nourishing dish. It is also made as naivedyam/prasadam for Ganesha Chathurthi. It is particularly simple to make. (If you are after other recipes for Ganesha Chathurthi, browse here.)
Another beautiful Mung Bean recipe, a soup from Jaffna in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan in its origins, this Mung Dal recipe from Jaffna is quick and lovely. The recipe is from that lovely cookbook of South Indian and Jaffna / Sri Lankan cooking – A Monk’s Cookbook by the monks from the Hindu Aadheenam on Kauai in Hawaii (you can download it here).
Mung in all of its forms is a favourite of ours – whole beans, split dal, hulled or unhulled. The gentleness of its texture and flavour always makes one feel loved and nourished. With a flavour that is just a little on the sweet side, even hardened lentil-haters will love Mung.
Or simply browse all of our Mung recipes, and our Dal recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring recipes. Continue reading “Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style”
The marvellous flavours of Mung and Spinach.
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.
Rice or Mung Dal? A great Gujarati accompaniment to other Indian dishes.
In this Gujarati dish, the grains of the Mung Dal remain separate and look quite like rice, if you squint a little. Serve this with any Indian meal.
A great, different kitchari
Kitchari is generally made with short grained rice and mung dal, cooked until they both collapse into a semi solid dish which is nourishing and tasty. Kitchari has been adopted globally as a healthy, quick dish, easy to digest and compatible with a lot of dietary requirements and fads.
Outside of India, though, recipes vary dramatically from the original. Long grained Basmati is used rather than the more sticky short grain rices like Soma Masouri. This changes the nature of the dish. Soupy and porridge-like consistencies are called Kitchari. And dishes made from other ingredients are labeled Kitchari.
Although the genesis of this dish of cracked wheat and mung dal comes from an approach which was called a Kitchari, it breaks almost every rule for a true, traditional Kitchari. It is more like a savoury gruel, a dal perhaps, or porridge. But as Kitchari literally means “mixture” or “mess”, we will let it pass.
Cook this dish with beautiful, yellow split mung dal – overnight in the slow cooker is ideal, for a warming and nourishing breakfast.