Moong Daal (Indian Yellow Lentil Stew)

>> Friday, August 16, 2013

An Indian friend of mine says that moong dal soup is good food when you're ill - they serve it to women recovering from childbirth and people with upset stomachs. I made this one day when Joe and I were recovering from summer colds. We did feel better! The basic recipe can be a little bland to help invalids, but it can be spiced up a bit for an everyday dish.

This is a surprisingly filling and low-fat vegan meal. We like it with a spoonful of strong Indian garlic pickle. Add savory, chewy garlic naan for a vegetarian dish (naan often contains yogurt or sour cream). You can scoop the stew right out of the bowl with a pinch of naan; it's perfectly good manners to eat this with your fingers.

By the way, if you go to a store that stocks lots of Indian food, you may notice a stunning array of different beans, peas, and seeds. Each has a slightly different taste, texture, and use. Moong, or Mung, dal is a small yellow lentil that usually has its outside skin removed. Dal is a generic term for lentil.

If you want to learn more about Indian spices and ingredients, the Cook's Thesaurus is a great resource.


2 cups uncooked moong dal without skins
1 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
2 small green chilies (optional)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp grated ginger
½ tsp Asofetida powder (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth


Cook mung dal in a pressure cooker or boil on the stove until soft.  This will take about 15 minutes in the pressure cooker, or about 45 on the stove. Heat a medium saucepan or frying pan, then add the oil. Cook onion, cumin, pepper, and garlic in oil, then cook turmeric, ginger, and asofetida powder. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and cook until smooth and soupy, mashing the lentils slightly so that they smooth out. Indians sometimes use a star-shaped tool on a stick, rolled between their hands, to make the lentils more creamy. Here Sheilja is using that utensil.

Serves 4-6.


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