The Everyday Moong Dal




Dal has always been the classic comfort food.


This is my everyday Dal. A warm fragrant bowl with a drizzle of lemon juice soothes and coddles like old socks when I am sick in bed. The hissing  of the pressure cooker speaks of homecoming and the emitting aroma welcomes us back after a long vacation. Easy and simple. We have this on rainy days and on lazy days. On days when there are no vegetables in the fridge to cook and there are no leftovers.




Indian cooking is unique. The cuisine is vast and intriguing. With so many states, each of them with their own recipes and spices, and traditions, I would say there could be as many dishes as the number of people in India. Well that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.

However Dal reigns as a comfort food in every Indian home.





Sometimes I use the Masoor Dal, the red lentils and sometimes the Dhuli Mung Dal, this yellow husked mung.  The process remains the same, but the flavors change with the change of lentils.




The variety of lentils used in India could be counted, but not how they are cooked. There could be few books compiled with only recipes of Dal. Some come with lots of spices, some with almost none. Some are light and soupy while some are thick and hearty. Some are like a dip and some are used to make salads.

We eat them with rice. We dunk our bread and soak up the flavors before taking a bite. We have them on the side or as a soup. The combination of spices play a major role in infusing that unique flavor to the so popular lentils. Then there are so many kinds of lentils to choose from. Vegetables and greens are added and sometime meat too. The possibilities thus are infinite.




Making Dal is like using a blank canvas. Each artist is allowed to paint the screen and personalize it. There is no such thing as the one and only recipe.

They are healthy, easy to make and there is no way you can go wrong with the flavors. Something beautiful is created each and every time, no matter what spices and ingredients are added to it. But it does help to have a pressure cooker to ease the cooking process and make it quicker.





My favorite way to eat this particular dal is with hot rice and a side of crispy fried  Beguni. Reminds me of home. Of my maa and my family…

(Do not forget to click through the other recipes of Dal at end of post).




The Everyday Moong Dal


Ingredients: (serves 4)

  1. 1 cup husked yellow mung/moong dal/lentil (dhuli mung dal) + 4-5 cups of water (adjust amount)
  2. 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. a generous pinch of hing/asafoetida
  5. 2 large cloves of garlic (about a tablespoon chopped)
  6. 4 tablespoon chopped red onion (or any kind of onion)
  7. 1 small hot green chili pepper (optional)
  8. 1/2 cup (8 oz ) grated fresh tomato (you may use a box grater)
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. salt to taste
  11. 1 teaspoon ghee + red chili powder for tempering (Optional)
  12. fresh cilantro or any other herb you want as garnish
  13. fresh squeeze of lemon juice



Note: If you want a different flavor, you may lightly toast the dry lentils in a dry skillet until they are deep golden color, not brown. Wash the lentils after the roasted lentils have cooled. This applies to only husked yellow mung.

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Allow the lentils to soak in water for a while or until ready to use.

Heat ghee or oil in a pressure cooker or a pot with tightly covered lid.

Add the cumin seeds and the hing/asafoetida. When the seeds sizzle, add the hot chili pepper, chopped garlic and onion. Cook at medium heat while stirring occasionally unil the onions start to brown and wilt. The onions will not be all brown, but only a tiny bit on the edges. (if you want this dal to be satvic, without onion and garlic, skip this step and add the tomatoes as in the next step straight after you see the cumin sizzle).

Add salt and the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are mushy. Drain the water from the lentils and add it to the pressure cooker/pot. Add the turmeric and salt and give it a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes or until the masala, the spice mix coats the lentils.

Add water (add less if you want a thicker consistency; with 4- 5 cups of water the lentils will be like a well blended soup but will thicken as it sits longer after it is cooked). Stir everything well and cook until the lentils are cooked through and they are not whole anymore. It will take about 12 minutes in the pressure cooker. Adjust time in a covered pot.

If you want some extra flavors you may temper the dal again just before serving. Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a small pan. Switch off the heat and add some red chili powder or smoked paprika. and immediately drizzle the contents over the dal. Garnish with fresh herbs and some fresh lemon juice.

Serve with hot rice, or bread or just as a soup.


Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: less than 15 minutes in  pressure cooker. Variable time in a covered pot

Difficulty Level: Easy

Serves as soup or side: 4



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31 comments to The Everyday Moong Dal

  • Mmmhhh, mouthwatering! I’d eat that everyday if I could… Fantastic flavors.



  • I love the way Indian finds way to cook daal a zillion way. With a slight change in the tempering, the daal takes a complete new look and taste. If I am left alone in a desert with one thing to eat, it would be daal (oh and rice of course).

  • As you wrote daal is a blank canvas, love it. So comforting. Your pictures are so beautiful.

  • I’m blown away by your pictures and story telling. Very well done.

  • I knew I was doing right when I did not roast the moong dal when ever I added garlic. Oi bread dip kore khawa r idea ta eyi borshar jonne darun. Chobigulo khub shundor … especially oi bread dobano ta … daler kona gulo dekha jacche. 🙂
    Ami dal click korte parina bole post korte shahosh payi na.

  • Love this. You need to make DIY tutorial for that board or have you already? It’s deep and complex as if it weathered over a long time. Nice job! 🙂

  • Beautiful composition of simple dal.. its beautiful… nice work !!

  • I love dal and your dish is really making me crave it right now. Thanks for sharing Soma.:)

  • Beautiful moody pictures:) Mung Dal is my simple, go to, comfort food as well:)

  • Barbara

    Such beautiful photos – absolutely stunning!

  • Dal…. Soul food 🙂

    Love your pics.

  • Love the pics Soma.. the mood you have created.. beautiful! Dal looks so delicious and comforting.

  • LOL – how can you do this to me, my friend. I was just shutting down my computer when I had to read your article on dhal. I absolutely love this – could eat it happily every day without getting tired of this.Too late now to cook, want to read and then sleep – but tomorrow!!! It will be Dhal day in our kitchen (husband likes his dosa) Greetings from my house to yours. Carina 🙂

  • I love your recipes and your wonderful phtotgraphy. If I need inspriation, I just look at your website and I have so many recipes I want to make. lentil Dal is hit with me.

  • And I could eat this dal every day!

  • Finla

    I have not made dal of any kind for a while so even a everyday dal would be just superb for me, this looks so yumm.

  • Everyday daal gets a makeover, looks amazing

  • I am in love with your silky scarfs, Soma…in fact the whole set up you create for the food shots. Brilliant!I forget to add lemon juice in my recipe, but otherwise make mine almost in the similar way…and yes, this moong daal is a staple at home.

  • how true about the dal, it is the ultimate comfort food and can cheer us any day with its homely appeal and bright color…this looks fantastic…a squeeze of lime for bliss 🙂

  • I liked your blog I am your new follower…Please visit my space in your leisure

  • Sonya

    delightfully simple and thorough… love this, made it and it’s 5/5! especially the last bit of tempering– one question– would you suggest kashimiri lal mirch or the regular stuff?

  • Utterly gorgeous styling!! And now you’ve got me craving for dal 🙂

  • I’m literally drooling. Looks delicious. I love the way you put that scarf

  • David

    Hi, tomatoes are missing from the ingredient list, how many did you use? Thanks!

    Sorry!! Updated the ingredient list. Thank you for bringing that to notice.

  • I was salivating, too, while reading this! 🙂

    Ran to the kitchen to make it. Thank you! 🙂

  • michelle

    I enjoyed the way you’ve clicked the pics. Its very artisticaly done.

  • Nicola

    I had a go at making your moong dal and it turned out delicious. Thanks so much for broadening my palate and cooking repetoire 🙂

  • Mary Blackledge Corroo

    I just finished making this dal to have for our dinner later. It’s very good. This is the first time I have used asafoetida. Every time I go to the Indian grocer for new ingredients my cooking gets just a little better. And I would be lost without blogs like yours that provide me with recipes to try that motivate me to learn to cook Indian style. I also appreciate your beautiful photography and styling. Thanks so much for sharing! ps. I am going to try your Chicken Korma this week yum yum.

  • felicity perkin

    Have made this dish several times and it’s become our most favourite soup and dal – I did actually add a bit of grated carrot for a bit of extra veggie content in a soup – just scrumptious! Lovely flavour and texture. Thanks Soma

  • […] and combined it with part of a second recipe I had found on-line. I also incorporated a couple of techniques I read about in some other […]

  • Kristen

    This is the most wonderful recipe – thank you! I have been eating Ayurvedic for about a year now and never get tired of this recipe along with white basmati rice. My variations are that I have not tried it yet with asafetida or chili, and due to cholesterol, I use grapeseed oil instead of ghee. Our local health food store carries dried sprouted moong dal, so I am excited to use that as I believe they are extra nutritious when sprouted. It makes such a huge difference to use fresh lemon juice. Recently we have had yellow heirloom tomatoes available locally, and I love this recipe even more with them, as they are low acid, and the flavor is even more outstanding. Thank you for this recipe!

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