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Bhaja Muger Dal/Roasted Mung Soup



Bhaja Muger Dal/Roasted Mung Soup


This recipe is a plain, simple comfort food;  the kind which takes me back home right when I start heating up my skillet.  The warm aroma stirs up the nostalgia, which hangs in thick clusters. Little strings of incidents line up like dew drops on a blade of grass while real and unreal blends in an obscure mist.

I already have my one foot into the suitcases and in homeland. Although, a few weeks are still to go before we actually set our feet amidst the dust and dear ones, home is all I can think of.

Having said that, it is also a time for me to be needing a little bit of comfort and calming down of a somewhat despondent heart. As excited I am to be going home after many years, it is also a bit unsettling for me to walk into the paradise where I grew up without my ma to hug and kiss me a big welcome. It has been quite a few years, and I have been home just once for about 5 days since then.  Living so far away from home, is  an escape where I allow myself to hide into the “unreality”. Now I am even a little scared of how I am going to be doing, in every corner of my home, when I will be still expecting to bump into her and hear her voice and there will be nothing but emptiness. Everything at home is the same, the trees she planted, the vases she put fresh flowers in everyday, but now dry and desolate, the beds and the blankets, the sink, the plates and the spoons and the old red blender, everything but her.

Every recipe from home comes with a satchel full of memories, which I have been carrying around with pleasure for many years and will always do. While growing up and having ma to cook for me, I never really paid attention to how beautiful some roasted mung might smell. It was just a part of everyday, which I never really thought to ponder upon then.  Many years later, I love the smell intensely because I miss it so much. I see myself eating my meals, with ma by me patiently listening to my stories from school and friends. I could never eat sitting down by myself. Since I have no siblings, I always had ma sitting with me while I ate, and I took hours talking and savoring every bite one at a time. I can still see her looking at me, with her one elbow rested on the table and her fair face leaning against her palm, slightly tilted, with a calm steady look and the loveliest little smile which told me that she listened to and understood my heart. Like a dream…


Roasted Mung

Nutty aroma of the roasted mung is unforgettable!

So are my days with ma, and the hot steaming gobindobhog rice (a rice with tiny grains and an intoxicating perfume very typical to Bengal) with the dal she cooked with ghee on it and some fried potatoes or aubergines on the side to complement the Bhaja Muger Dal. I cannot call her and tell her to get my favorite food ready. I cannot hear her tell me, “I know, you do not have to tell me… “.

To dry roast the lentils before cooking them is a very typical Bengali thing to do. The primary flavor of the dish is from the roasted mung and the fresh green chili, ginger and ghee. Like a lot of recipes from West Bengal, this one does not have onion or garlic. The dal, is warm and earthy.

I am still making my plans, asking  my dad, friends and family to treat me with the authentic food, I am used to and that is love and comfort for me. I am talking to my kids and trying to introduce them to what I grew up with and what to expect, Bhaja Muger Dal is just one of them. Even though I cook at home, I am yet to see how the food and a different environment appeal to them. Besides the other ingredients, the food at home always has the best of them – the love and care.


Bhaja Nuger Dal/Roasted Mung Soup




Notes on the recipe  (Do read):

This dal can be made 2 ways; the thin soupy kind that you see in the pictures and also the slightly thick (like a  puree, where you can actually see the coarse lentils), which is more like the kind I usually had  at home. The recipe does not change, but the water quantity does. So if you want a dal which is dense with more texture, add less water (or don’t add the extra later - ref. Recipe below). I like it differently made at different times.

Since today I have made my dal more like a soup, I have used a blender to coarsely puree the lentils, which was never done at home. The lentils should be cooked so that they are soft and tender but not mushy, you should actually be able to see the mung in its entire form. Traditionally the soft cooked lentils are just stirred well to get a nice consistency, and yet have some great texture to it.

See the photographs of Dal Palak, for both the authentic texture and consistency.  Either way the flavors of the dish remain the same.


Bhaja Muger Dal / Yellow Mung Soup



Bhaja Muger Dal/Roasted Mung Soup


Ingredients: (serve 2, as a small portion soup)

  1. 1/2 cup  + 3 tablespoons split yellow mung/moong
  2. 2-3 cups water
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  4. salt
  5. 1/2- 3/4  teaspoon sugar, or adjust to taste
  6. 2-3 fresh green chiles, finely chopped (remove seed if you do not want spicy)
  7. 1 tablespoon ghee + some more to drizzle while serving
  8. a good pinch of asafoetida/hing
  9. 1-2 red dried chili pepper
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  11. 2 bay leaves (tej patta)
  12. 1.5 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  13. crushed red pepper and fresh cilantro for garnish (Optional)



Preparation:

Dry-roast the yellow split mung in skillet over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3  minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to dry-roast, stirring constantly, until the lentils turns golden to medium brown, about 3 minutes. Some of the mung will be a darker shade than the others and that is okay. You will also smell the beautiful  aroma of the roasted mung. Remove the skillet from the heat and keep stirring the lentils till the skillet cools down a little bit. Let the lentils cool down.

Rinse the mung in several changes of water, till the water runs clear and drain.

Bring 2-3 cups water to a boil in a  saucepan. Add the washed mung, grated ginger, salt and turmeric and reduce heat and simmer. Cook the lentils covered, while stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft, but still whole, about 40-45 minutes.(if you have pressure cooker, use the cooker to cook it faster).

Combine the sugar  to the cooked lentils. If you want to blend,  use a blender or an immersion blender to pulse dal to a coarse puree, or skip this step and go ahead and temper the dal. (If you want a soupy consistency and if the lentils have too little water left and have thickened, add about 1 -1.5 cups warm water while blending).

Heat the ghee with cumin seeds and bay leaves in saucepan/or pot until seeds begin to sputter, about 20 seconds. Add chiles (green and dried ones) and hing/asafoetida and cook for half a minute. Reduce the heat and pour in the pureed cooked lentils carefully (mixture will spatter all over the place). Increase the heat and  bring it to a boil, stirring well. Cook for about 2-4 minutes.

Serve hot. Drizzle with some ghee, crushed pepper and cilantro before serving.

This dish is usually served with steaming hot rice and some fritters or fries on the side.



Bhaja Muger Dal /bengali Mung Dal Recipe

But this it is  lovely as a warming soup too.  Have it the way you want.

The dal is on its way to Susan’s MLLA – 34, hosted by Jaya of  Desi Soccer Mom.


Bhaja Muger Dal / Roasted Mung-Lentil Soup




Related Posts:

Dal Palak: Roasted Moong and Spinach

Simply Seasoned Red Lentils: a taste of home

Red Lentils with Cumin and Fried Onions




Around the Food World:

Sharmila’s Bhaja Muger Dal


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35 comments to Bhaja Muger Dal/Roasted Mung Soup

  • Nice pics Soma! Funny I just bought hulled split yellow mung beans the other day but haven’t made anything yet with it. I think we were on twitter that day when I went by the Indian grocery store. This is lovely I make my mom’s dahl with red lentils that is a variation of this. Have it over rice but mostly like it thinner so I can have it as soup like you serve it here.

  • You will have a wonderful trip Soma … especially with the memories. Mon kharap holeo dekho mon bhalo o hobe. :-) Hugs.
    And thanks for the link. :-)

  • Very interesting! that soup must be really flavorful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Hugs, I am sure you will have a wonderful time back home

  • Thank you Soma for sharing this recipe. Today you took me back home.. you took me to ma’s kitchen. Your writing is beautiful and I am touched. I am sure you ma is smiling as she is reading this and is feeling proud of you ! :)
    You have a wonderful trip, make the most of it. I will miss your post for sure but looking forward for more stories and pics :)

  • My mother roasts mung too but I don’t. Maybe its typical of the South too. We roast dal slightly even while making pongal. Reading your post reminded me of “Hindi Bindi club” where one of the protagonists (in a way), who incidentally happens to be Bengali visits her homeland after many years and has several thoughts going through her. Not that it is the same case but the few similarities just brought the story to mind. Have you read it? Its a good book:). Moong dal looks good:).

  • Moumita Biswas

    Delicious want some alu makha with it.

  • Moumita Biswas

    Mouth watering dal- want some aloo makha with it.

  • This post of yours made me sad if I read it right:( Tell me about, your Mom and not the daal if you can!

  • Such a delicious dish! It sounds so incredibly aromatic and tasty!

  • Prabs

    Lovely post Soma. I love this sentence, in particular ” Little strings of incidents line up like dew drops on a blade of grass while real and unreal blends in an obscure mist.”

  • I can smell all the spices through the screen! Very comforting!

  • hey never had this soup before looks so yummy..loved ur decoration serving :)

  • Today I’m feeling a little under the weather and this is what I need. I’m too tired to make it today, but oh man, it looks SO flipping good!

  • Hemi

    Sometimes we feel we r speechless, that’s the moment right now i’m in…..I was trying to stop my tears behind my eyes as I was reading this post……it gonna be hard for U no doubt but once U step on that soil among your family & friends U’ll be okay…..Enjoy your stay there, make memories with your daughters in that same house from where U have all your beautiful memories & have a safe jouney.

    love this dal, long time back a bengali neighbour of mine mentioned this, now I have a recipe to try.

    hugs
    hemi

  • dal looks delicious haven’t added sugar before must be delicious
    lovely post may your ma always been in your thoughts
    Regards
    Akheela

  • anh

    this is new to me! I am very much familiar with this bean, but never cook this way before!

  • wow u r a magician..u make even a simple bhaja moonger dal look so enticing…

  • Soma,

    A big hug for the heart warming memories of your mom. The post is as lovely and earthy as the lentil soup.

  • I am always looking a good hearty soup. Winter is approaching and I will bookmarking these for the chilly winter Sydney evenings.

  • Hi Soma..how are you doing? Soup looks fabulous! Love all the flavors in it! I wish i could grab a bowl right away :)

  • Your picture, you know to make bring simple thing in a most magnificent way! lovely!

  • Paula

    Gorgeous looking recipe – will be making this at the weekend. Just a quick query tho, it states to add turmeric but it isn’t listed in the ingredients. How much turmeric do I need please?
    TIA

    I am so sorry! Updated and fixed it. I had said 1/2 teaspoon salt, that was supposed to be turmeric and salt was to as per taste:) Change it. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Regards
    Soma

  • Cham

    Sure the kids and you will have a wonderful time . That would be a marvelous post for Mother’s day! The soup is very warming!

  • very nice post Soma.. very touching..

  • You have a such a lovely vivid way of expressing yourself in words, dear. Makes me tear up just reading about your memories of your mom. I know she will be there with you in spirit and in your heart even if she is not there physically anymore. And I know you’ll pass on the same types of wonderful memories to your kids with you as you had with your mom (including their memories of this coming trip) which will warm their hearts when they have grown up and left your roof. Thanks for reminding us that food is so much more than that sometimes :) .

  • What a beautiful, delicious and conforting soup! I could have moong daal every day at every meal :-)
    Pics are fantastic!

  • Paula

    Thanks Soma – really looking forward to trying this. I pointed a friend this way yesterday, she made the soup and said it was lovely.

  • It’s difficult when you become the matriach in the family and all of a sudden have to assume that place. Your mom will be cooking alongside you in spirit always.

  • soma

    Thank you plenty all of you for your kind words.

  • Great recipe. A true artisan soup. Thanks for the post!

  • mohana

    your writings of nostalgia often brings tears to my eyes…..wish you a very very happy stay at home….will miss you so much if I cant make it then…am trying though !!

  • Nishtha

    I had tears in my eyes when I read this. I lost my Mum 4 years ago, and it is the kind of wound that never heals.
    In your mom’s and my mom’s honor, I made this, with whole moong, and it was terrific. Thanks for sharing both the memories and the recipe.

  • Robert

    Sounds good, I have a question about the amount of split yellow mung/moog, is 1/2 cup +
    or 1/2lb.+3TBLS??

    So sorry about that! Thanks for pointing that out.. It is 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons.. Updated the post.

    Regards
    Soma

  • Jyoti

    I enjoyed reading such a beautifully touching account of your ma’s love and her moong dahl soup. In honor of your ma. my spiritual maa ( who taught me how to cook Bengali cuisine ) and my ma, I will prepare this soup today.

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