Monday, 7 April 2014

Moong Dal - Lentil Curry

As requested, here is a classic Indian Dal (lentil) curry recipe. This is one of the first dishes I learnt to make for my husbands family who are of Indian desent and they all love it! I got the approval from my father-in-law who is famous for his connoisseur taste buds, therefore I can assure you all that this recipe is authentically Indian! Its really easy to make and the lentils are full of nutrition. After some quick research I have found out that Moong beans reduce the risk of Breast Cancer, High Cholesterol, Diabetes and help with Post Menopause. So no excuses, try this asap!

If your not a fan on chili, use about 1/2 tsp instead of 1 tsp. I don't like anything too spicy and I can quite easily handle the 1 tsp in this dish. It really helps to soak the dal before hand for at least 2 hours, so please do so! Its easy to soak it from the morning and drain it when your ready to use it. I usually wash the dal first and then soak it in fresh clean water. Another tip is to check the consistency of your dal after the 30 minutes simmering time. It should still be firm but not crunchy or mushy! If its still a little on the crunchy side, add more water and allow it to cook through.

You will need -

  • 1 small onion (red Indian preferably), chopped
  • 1 cup Moong dal/lentils
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use olive or sunflower)
  • 1 397g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups boiling water

  1. Rinse the dal and continue to soak for at least 2 hours in cool water.
  2. In a medium size saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion, peppercorns and cinnamon over medium heat.
  3. Once the onion has become translucent and cinnamon is fragrant (about 5 mins), add the crushed tomatoes and spices. Stir and allow to cook well.
  4. Add dal, stirring to combine with tomato. Allow to cook for 5 minutes and then add water (start with 1 cup). Cover slightly with lid and simmer. 
  5. Stir every few minutes to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom, as the liquid rises rapidly. After 20-30 minutes the dal should be cooked through. Try a few grains and if it is crunchy, add more boiling water (1/2 cup each time). 
  6. Once cooked, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with fresh lemon juice and chapati. If you can't get chapati, try it with arabic bread or naan.