I was a bit sceptical about making this dhal as I thought it would be too bland and creamy to make a satisfying evening meal- I like to feel like I’ve ‘eaten’ something- so I made some charred roast veg to have alongside it. I needn’t have bothered, it’s a beautiful bowl of nourishing goodness, absolutely bursting with flavour. Having said that, the roasted veg add a whole new level of flavour and texture to it and elevate it even higher up my top ten list of comfort foods.
Moong dal are hulled, split mung beans, which I found hard to get locally (deepest, darkest Herefordshire isn’t renowned for unusual ingredients) but I eventually managed to order some in my local heath food shop. I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding it in a bigger metropolis than Ross on Wye. The beans are tiny, much smaller than standard lentils and so they make a really creamy dhal.
200g moong dal (split mung beans)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil (I use coconut)
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
1/8 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 a onion or 1 shallot, finely sliced
Soak the moong dal in cold water for 30 mins then rinse and drain.
Place in a large saucepan with 800ml water. Bring to the boil, skim off any white froth then add the turmeric. Simmer gently for 45 mins with the pan lid slightly tilted. Remove from the heat, add the salt and stir well.
Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan, add the chilli and cook, then add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute or so. Add the asafoetida and garam masala and cook for a further minute. Stir the onion in to the spice mix, coat well then cook gently, stirring frequently until softened.
Stir the onion mix through the dhal, add a handful of chopped coriander and serve with roasted vegetables of your choice. Alternatively eat alone, I defy you not to scoff the lot it’s so lovely, but be warned- it’s deceptively filling.
I like to use cauliflower florets and whole sprouts roasted with sea salt and a sprinkle of cumin seeds until they’re lightly charred. They add a lovely crunch to the creamy dhal. For added nutrition, throw some chopped spinach into the dhal and allow it to wilt down.