20 August 2009

Daal Moong


As a vegetarian, daal was my defense against hunger. It is almost the perfect food. Healthy, tasty, and rich in proteins.

At the Indian restaurant after tennis each week, I would devour a large bowl of rich daal. Every week. The same dish. I spent months trying to replicate it at home.

Daal is quite easy to make, and is in essence just boiled lentils. However, like a good Italian Bolognese, there are a few tricks to a great daal.

This recipe will get you started.

Best served over freshly cooked jasmine rice, with some papadums on the side.

Daal Moong
  • 1 cup Red Lentils
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 dessert spoon of Ghee, or butter (or good cooking oil for a non-dairy option)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon garam-masala
  • 2 tablespoons broken coriander (cilantro) or any other fresh herbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • a small piece of ginger (or 1 teaspoon crushed ginger)
  1. Soak the lentils for 30 minutes.
  2. Boil the water and add the drained lentils, salt, turmeric and chilli powder (if Michelle isn't home).
  3. Bring the lentils to the boil and then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or when the lentils become soft and tender.
  4. Melt the ghee in a frying pan, then add the chopped onion and ginger.
  5. Mix in the coriander & garam-masala just before removing from the heat.
  6. Serve the daal topped with the onion mixture.
For everyday cooking, it is possible to use dried supermarket ingredients. These keep in the pantry for a long time. I also keep a jar of minced ginger in the fridge. The only fresh requirement is an onion.

The recipe works best with fresh coriander and fresh ginger. It makes the difference.

To vary, try different pulses. Red beans go well mixed in with the lentils.


  1. Hi Geoff!

    Thats a great recipe! When I make Daal, I like to boil it all together in a big pot, and then once the lentils soften, let it simmer for another 15 minutes with some unsalted butter smashed into it. Delicious AND nutritious!

    Nice one, I'll be visiting this site a bit more often :)

  2. Thanks for the tip! One to try next time I make it.

  3. Hey Geoff

    Mate I'm a big fan of red lentil dahl too. It's filling, healthy and, as you say, easy to make with dry ingredients that you already have.

    I tend to make a slightly richer one by substituting some of the water for a small can of coconut milk. I also like to add a single chopped tomato. With the onions I usually soften half the onion in the pot with ginger and mustard seeds (a great addition) and then add the tomato and lentils, water and coconut milk to this. The other half the onion I blacken in a fry pan with ghee or oil and add this as a garnish. I also like to serve with a sliced soft boiled egg.

    But as you say it's like spag bol and everyone's got a different variation.



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