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Moong Dal: a simple, healthy Indian recipe

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist
moong dal
1/2 cup
1 1/2 cups
1 tbsp
dried red chili
1/2 tsp
mustard seeds
1/4 tsp
sprig curry leaves
green chilies
1 to 2
ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp
1/4 tsp
Red chili powder
1/4 tsp
Garam masala
1/4 tsp
onion, chopped
large tomato, chopped
salt to taste
fenugreek leaves
1/2 tsp
1/4 to 3/4 cup
cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp
Lemon juice
1 tbsp

For a delicious hearty dish that's both healthy and easy to make, you'll love this moong dal recipe. Moong dal is a popular Indian dish that's packed with protein and rich in mouthwatering ingredients and flavors. Also called "yellow moong lentils", moong dal is a dish seasoned with spices like cumin, chili, turmeric, garam masala, and fresh herbs like coriander and fenugreek.

You can cook moong dal on a stovetop or to make it a one-pot dish, use an Instant Pot – either way, you'll love this delicious moong dal recipe!

What is Moong Dal?

Yellow moong dal or mung beans are a tasty legume that is used widely in Indian cuisine. The dal is cooked with tomatoes, onions, and a wonderful variety of fragrant spices like cumin, garam masala, ginger, garlic, fenugreek, and turmeric. The dish itself is spicy, savory, and completely delicious!

How to Make Moong Dal

Ready to make a hearty, healthy pot of moong dal? Here's what to do. Before you get started, rinse the dal well, and make sure to drain off excess water. Pour the washed dal into a large pot with 1 ½ cups of water (and a dash of salt) and cook it over medium heat until the dal turns soft.

While the dal is cooking, temper the spices. Heat the oil and lightly fry the chilies, garlic ginger paste, and curry leaves for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent and soft, then stir in the tomatoes and cook them until they become soft and start to disperse into the mixture.

Next up, it's time for more spice. Stir in the turmeric, salt, garam masala, and chili powder and cook for a minute or so, until they become fragrant. Add a little more water and bring everything to a boil then stir in the dal. You can add a bit more water if the dal is too thick. Let the mixture come to a simmer and add fenugreek leaves, cilantro, and lemon juice. Stir and serve with rice and some fresh parathas.


Instant Pot Yellow Moong Dal

Making moong dal in an Instant Pot is even easier than on the stovetop. Set your Instant Pot to saute and fry the cumin, mustard seeds, red chili, and curry leaves in oil. Add the onions, chili, and if desired, a pinch of asafoetida. Mix in the garlic ginger paste, red chili powder, garam masala, and turmeric. Next, stir in the tomatoes and washed dal, then season everything with a dash of salt.

Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Once finished, let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes. Release the steam and remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Stir in the fenugreek, coriander, and lemon juice, and serve with rice or naan.

Tips for the Best Moong Dal

– Make your moong dal even healthier by adding extra vegetables like carrots, spinach, or peas.

– You can add more chili to the dish if you're a fan of spicy foods. On the flip side, you can leave out the chili powder and garam masala for a milder dal.

– Be sure to rinse the lentils before cooking them.

– Use oil or ghee for this recipe.

– If your dal is too thick, add a little water to the mixture until it reaches your desired consistency.

What to Serve with Moong Dal

Serve your moong dal with fresh Indian bread like naan, paratha, roti, or chapati. It's also wonderful served with long-grain basmati or jasmine rice.

How to store Moong Dal

You can store moong dal in an airtight container for up to 6 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months and reheat it in a saucepan for a few minutes.



Rinse the dal and drain off any excess water. Pour the dal into a large pot with 1 ½ cups of water. Cook over medium heat until the dal turns soft.


Heat the oil and temper the chilies, garlic ginger paste, and curry leaves.


Fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they become transparent. Add the tomatoes until they disperse. Stir in turmeric, salt, garam masala, and chili powder. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant.


Stir in ½ cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil then stir in the dal. If necessary, add more water to reach the desired consistency.


Bring the mixture to a simmer and add fenugreek leaves, cilantro, and lemon juice.


Stir and serve.


Don't forget to rinse the dal before cooking it.

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