December 22, 2006
I don’t know about you, but I’m not coping very well with the cold weather. Despite my 11 years in England, I just can’t bring myself to do very much in winter. All the festive revelries are only perpetuating the problem.
The time is right for a stodgy, warming and simple meal of dal and rice. One my favourites is made with whole mung (moong) beans. These are one of the most high-protein lentils and can be cooked with minimum fuss and ingredients. I would highly recommend soaking the lentils overnight to help make them quicker to cook and digest afterwards. This Moong dal needs little more than a bowl of steaming hot Basmati rice and some crispy papad to go with it. A complete comfort meal if there ever was one needed.
Wash the mung beans thoroughly in a sieve under a cold tap. Then place in a pot, cover with water and leave overnight to soak. This will help make it easier to cook them and digest them.
The next day when you’re ready to cook, rinse them out. Add the turmeric and two cups of hot water to the pot and bring to the boil. Boil on a medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent the dhal from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As they cook the lentils will start losing their shape and going soft. They will also go from being green to a darker shade of brown.
Keep adding a little hot water at a time to prevent the mixture from drying up. And if any foamy scum appears on the surface, skim it off and get rid of it.In 15 minutes, chop the tomato and slice the onions.
Now heat the oil on high in a frying pan and grate the ginger, reserving a slither for the garnish. Saute the onion for five minutes, then add the ginger for a minute, then the tomatoes and chilli powder and keep frying until it’s all golden and disintegrated. Stir this mixture into the lentils and add salt to taste .
Serve with julienned slivers of ginger and the chillies for an added kick.