Moong dal is derived from whole green gram which is split with the skins removed. Archaeological evidence shows that green gram was grown on the banks of the rivers Krishna and Godavari as early as the 2nd millennium. It is also mentioned by its Sanskrit names, ‘Mudga’ and ‘Mudgaparni’ in the ancient texts of Rigveda and Yajurveda. Such is the intricate connection of green gram and moong dal with India and its cuisine. Ayurveda considers moong dal as one of the most nourishing-yet-easy to digest foods. It is said to balance all three doshas and one of the best foods to eat after a long period of fasting.
Here are some interesting ways to cook with yellow moong dal. For best results and nutrition, make use of organic and unpolished Tata Sampann Moong Dal.
- Soak moong dal and rice overnight in water along with dried red chillies. Drain and grind with salt, turmeric and asafoetida to make a thick batter. This can either be fermented for 8 hours or prepared instantly into thick dosas for breakfast. Finely chopped onions and coriander can also be added to the batter.
- The above batter can be poured into the moulds of the appam-pan to make moong dal paniyaram for breakfast or a teatime snack. Serve with coriander or tomato chutney.
- Use the same batter to prepare savoury waffles that can be topped with a hung yoghurt dip or a coriander-coconut chutney.
- Grind soaked moong dal with ginger and green chillies to a smooth batter. Ferment overnight and prepare moong dal dhoklas for breakfast.
- Soaked moong dal can be used without cooking in salads. This kind of salads are popular in South Indian cuisine. Drain soaked moong dal well and combine with chopped or grated cucumber, carrot, pomegranate and fresh coconut. Garnish with lime juice. This can be eaten as a salad or as an accompaniment to a main meal.
- Sauté soaked moong dal in olive oil with garlic and herbs. Toss along with salad greens, halved cherry tomatoes and sliced onions for an Italian-flavoured salad.
- Moong dal khichdi fortified with vegetables is one of the easiest one-pot dinners. Soak moong dal and rice for 30 minutes. Chop up 3-4 seasonal vegetables. Make a spice paste of ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, coconut and salt. Combine the dal-rice, vegetables and spice paste. Pressure cook with enough water to make a soft khichdi. Temper cumin seeds in ghee and add to the khichdi. Any variety of millet can be used instead of rice.
- Sweet pongal can be prepared by combining moong dal and either rice or millet. Pressure cook this mix until soft. Combine melted jaggery and green cardamom powder. Fry a few cashews and raisins in ghee to add to the pongal as a garnish.
- Moong dal is also used to prepare a delicious payasam. Lightly roast the moong dal until aromatic. Soak this for 30 minutes. Drain and cook in a little quantity of water. To this, add liquid jaggery, coconut milk, green cardamom powder and bring to a simmer. Fry dried coconut slices in ghee along with cashews to add to the payasam as a garnish.
This simple ingredient is versatile enough to change from an indulgent snack like a pakora to a simple meal like khichdi. Use these recipes to make moong dal an integral part of your diet.
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