Hira’s Easy Mung Dal

This is a very simple, delicate-flavored dal, good for everyday cooking. It has very little oil. Hira’s recipes are full of flavor (without being very spicy), and light on fat. Mung is considered to be the easiest bean to digest and the dal is even easier than the bean on the stomach. Dals usually require no soaking, cook faster, and are less windy. When babies start eating solids, plain pureed mung dal with rice (a soft mung dal khichdi) is often the first food given. It is also excellent when sick or when the stomach is sensitive.


  • 1 cup yellow mung dal
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or any other oil of choice, butter, ghee
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 6 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced green hot pepper or jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice to taste, we like 2 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Spread the dal out on a large plate and pick it over for any rocks or pebbles. Then wash it with cold water in a fine-meshed sieve for a minute.
  2. Put the dal in a heavy bottomed pot and add two cups of cold water. Bring to a simmer. Then cover the pot partially and turn the flame down to medium and let it simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes till the dal is really soft. Add more water if needed. Mung dal sticks to the bottom and burns easily so make sure the heat is not too high and that the dal simmers gently. Stir it well periodically.
  3. When the dal is cooked, stir well while mashing it with the spoon. It should become a puree. Add the remaining water, curry leaves, and salt. Stir and bring to simmer again. You may need more water depending on how high the flame was earlier and the size of the pot. It should be the consistency of a marinara sauce. Some like it thinner, some thicker!
  4. Turn the heat off the dal. Heat oil in a small saucepan or a large ladle. Add the cumin seeds and cloves to the hot oil and heat till the cumin turns a darker shade of brown. This only takes a few seconds and be careful not to burn the cumin. Carefully add the ginger, minced hot pepper, and turmeric. Stir them all in with the hot oil and cook for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Carefully put the mixture in the hot dal. Squeeze in the juice of the lime. Add the cilantro. Serve hot with rice, roti, and vegetables.

Serves 6. Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20-25 minutes.

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