Moong dal

Click on the thumbnails below for a larger image, and then use your browser's "Back" button to return.

This is probably the simplest of the dals I make. I learned it from my grandmother. In fact, this is probably the only recipe that I haven’t changed over decades. Use split, unhulled, unpolished moong dal for this recipe.


½ Cup split moong dal (please see the photograph)
1 Tsp turmeric
2 Cups water; ½ cup more if dal dries out
1 Tsp cooking oil
½ Tsp salt, more if you like

1/8 Cup cooking oil
1 Tsp black mustard seeds
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 Small onion, thinly sliced
1 Handful curry leaves (dried or fresh)
4 Whole red chillies, cut up into 1 cm pieces

Have all the ingredients ready and within reach. The dal is cooked in three stages; roasting, boiling, and seasoning.

Moong dal


Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat for a minute. Turn the heat down to medium. Roast the dal on medium heat for about seven to ten minutes. Put the roasted dal in a bowl.



Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan or a medium cooking pot. When the water is boiling, add the roasted dal, turmeric, and a teaspoon of oil. Bring to boil and turn the heat down. Cook on medium to low heat until the dal is tender (about ½ an hour). Too much heat will make the water boil over. Too little will stop the cooking process. So, adjust the heat so that the dal cooks without boiling over. When done, add the salt and turn the heat off.




In a separate saucepan, heat the oil. When it’s hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. They will pop violently if the oil is too hot. When the seeds pop, add the onion, chillies, and curry leaves. Fry until the onion begins to turn brown. Be careful not to burn the onion! When the onion is just turning brown, add the boiled dal. There will be a bit of hissing as you add the dal. Stir the seasoning well into the dal. Add a bit of water if the dal is too dry. Taste the dal and add a bit more salt if desired.

Seasoning ingredients Seasoning

This dal is best served as soon as it is seasoned.

Serve with hot rotis.

Serving suggestion
© Meher Shaik 2012