Simple Moong dal

Mallika Basu - Simple Moong dal

Posted 24th September 2009


Maternity leave has ended.

The last jobless Friday night involved a leggy single brunette. Also top friend and white wine fiend.

First stop, the global launch of Smirnoff’s new Green Apple and Lime flavours. My favourite choice of tipple. Followed closely by Tanqueray and tonic. And champagne. (There must be some others)

I expected free cocktails and vodka bottles. I got a row of melting ice sculptures. The top had fallen off St Paul’s Cathedral. The London Eye had liquefied beyond recognition. Drinks were an hour later in a different venue.

An hour? That’s two eternities for a new mum on a night out!

Cocktail bar, French bistro and Cinema cafe later I was ready to call it a night. Return to my previous life as a corporate superbitch. Whip the world into shape with some quick Indian cooking.

No better way to get going than a quick, simple moong dal. It takes 20 minutes. Doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy.

Feeds 4:

  • 225gm yellow moong lentils (about 1 mug)
  • Half inch ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 long dried red chilli
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Pour the lentils into a large pot and wash and drain thoroughly under a cold tap under the water runs clear.

Add three mugs of boiling water and return to the boil. As the lentils start bubbling, scum and foam will appear on the surface. Just skim it off with a wooden spoon and lower the heat to medium so it bubbles away gently.

The mixture will go all fibrous in 10 minutes. Chop the ginger and garlic finely and mix it in. You need to keep adding hot water half a cup at a time, when the lentils are dry and start spluttering, to get a runny but thick consistency.

In another 10 minutes, when the lentils are well integrated with the water, heat the oil in a little saucepan on high. Chuck in the turmeric, red chilli and chilli powder and as the red chilli starts sizzling mix this, called the tadka, into the lentils.

Add salt to your taste and a knob of butter if you fancy before you ladle it over steaming hot rice. For a simple, complete meal, try it with Dhaniya Murgh.

29 responses to “Simple Moong dal”

  1. notyet100 says:

    simple yet delicious, sthe little one,..i???

  2. Bong Mom says:

    Happy Durga Pujo Mallika & Mini

  3. Planethalder says:

    Best of luck for your return to work, Mallika! Are you looking forward to it? Remember that the cooking doesn’t have to end 🙂

  4. Good luck getting back to work! 🙂
    This looks great! Glad you were able to have a fun night out before getting back to the grind!

  5. mandira says:

    Shubho Bijoya Mallika. How was Mini Basu’s pratam pujo?

  6. Puspha says:

    1st time here. A great blog indeed.
    The dal looks good. Thanx for sharing.

  7. Parita says:

    Simplicity at its best!

  8. Sudeshna says:

    Bijayar suvecha to you and to your family, and loads of love to the little one :). I am not much a mung dal person, but this preparation looks so yummy, need to try it out soon 🙂

  9. Ann Mah says:

    I have been LONGING for a simple dal recipe — it’s comfort food even for those of us (like me) who didn’t grow up with it. It also sounds like it might be a good way to nurse a hangover…

  10. Elisabeth says:

    Yes, true, dal is comfort food. Thanks for great recipe and clear instructions about adding water for the right consistency. Good luck with your return to work!

  11. Huw says:

    You say add the turmeric twice. Should it go in the dal or the tadka?

    Always wanted to find a recipie for tadka dal. Thank you!

  12. prashantn says:

    the photos are very visually appealing

  13. Hannah says:

    I made your dal last Sunday night and it was great! I’d never had it before and yum, yum, yum. Thankyou!

  14. ganga108 says:

    Beautiful! I am a sucker for a good dal.

  15. swetha says:


    The recipe is indeed simple. However, instead of letting the dal cook for about twenty mins or so on flame, it would be easier to use a pressure cooker, the result still would be soft, squishy dal. This saves both our time and and energy (gas/flame).

  16. shruti says:


    this is my first time here.. Loved the recipes.. Iam have just moved out off my house so i miss moms food.. these recipes are a huge comfort..

  17. ducky says:

    I tried this dal as a first attempt ever at vegetarian Indian food. I was skeptical at first (it smelled too gingery) but ended up as a really fantastic, healthy meal. I have yet to be disappointed by a recipe here.Thanks Mallika!

    Question, why some times do you call for ginger garlic paste (or ginger paste, or garlic paste) and why sometimes fresh ginger or garlic? Does it make a difference?

  18. […] been wanting to use it, but then a better idea comes along for those vegetables and I end up making dal again instead of that curried vegetable potpie I liked so much last […]

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  27. Antonia says:

    Dear Ms. Basu,

    First, thank you again for your fine, clearly drafted recipes. I’ve been enjoying so many of them – most on an ongoing basis — for the past 6 months or so. This site is a gold mine!

    My question is this:

    I’m allergic to chilies and all of their relatives, including red (or any other color) bell peppers and their derivatives, such as paprika.

    If you were faced with these constraints, how would you adapt this recipe?

    Many thanks.

    Best regards,


    Hi Antonia, I would simply leave them out. I often do this when my kids are eating and there are no complaints 😉 M x

  28. Swati Bordoloi says:

    Mallika you never pressure cook the dal which is time saving and less labour intensive than removing the scum from the top of dal boiling in an open pot. What is the reason ? I hope you know the trick to stop the dal sizzling out of pressure cooker..

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