Moong dal is one of the most widely used lentils in Indian cuisine. Also known as yellow moong lentils, these are usually cooked with onion, tomatoes, herbs & spices to make a side dish. This simple moong dal recipe will give you a delicious, healthy & protein packed side that you can enjoy with plain rice, Paratha, roti & naan. In this post I have shared the instructions to cook in a pot, cooker or instant pot.
If you have kids at home who do not like moong dal then this recipe is a must try as this tastes unique and delicious.
This healthy lentil dish can also be served to toddlers & babies after 10 months, just skip the chilies.
Moong dal is one of the most favored dal or lentils in Indian cuisine as it is easily digestible. According to Ayurveda, mung lentils are said to be tridoshic & can balance any disturbances in the body.
Hence it is used widely to make various dishes like Dal khichdi, dal soup, and Moong dosa. If you are new to lentils then do note that yellow moong dal is split & dehusked green gram or mung beans. These are fairly quick to cook and gentle on the stomach.
Preparation for stovetop method
1. Add ½ cup moong dal to a pot or cooker. Rinse it well a few times until the water runs clear. Pour 1½ cups water.
2. Pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium flame. If cooking in a pot, cook it on a medium heat adding more water as needed. Moong dal should be soft cooked. When the pressure releases naturally, open the cooker and mash it to your liking.
3. While the moong dal cooks,
- fine chop 1 small onion
- fine chop or puree 1 large tomato
- chop or slit 1 to 2 green chilies
- Grate or fine chop 1 teaspoon ginger garlic (half inch ginger, 2 garlic cloves)
4. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee or oil in a pan. Add ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 broken red chili.
5. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add 1 teaspoon fine chopped or grated ginger garlic and 1 to 2 chopped green chilies. Add 1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf. Curry leaves lend a good aroma and is healthy too so I add them.
6. When ginger garlic smells good, add a pinch of hing (asafoetida). Then add chopped onions.
7. Saute until the onions turn lightly pink or golden, add chopped tomatoes.
8. Add ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon turmeric. Saute until tomatoes turn completely soft and mushy. You can also add ¼ teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon garam masala for extra heat and flavor. Saute well for a minute.
How to make moong dal
9. Pour ¾ cup water & bring it to a boil. Add mashed moong dal. Stir and bring everything to a boil.
10. Optional – Add ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi and ½ teaspoon amchur powder. If you do not have amchur powder, add lemon juice just before serving.
Taste test and add more salt if needed. If the consistency is too thick, add some hot water.
Serve moong dal fry with plain rice, jeera rice or paratha.
Instant pot moong dal tadka (PIP)
I make both moong dal fry and moong dal tadka in my instant pot. Most often I prefer to cook dal & rice in 2 separate bowls (PIP) at one time in the instant pot. Then I just do a tadka to the cooked dal. I have shared the moond dal tadka below and moong dal fry in the recipe card.
1. To make the moong dal tadka, rinse half cup moong dal in a bowl. Drain and pour 1½ cups water. Add chopped green chilies and tomatoes. I don’t use onions for this method. Cover the bowl and place it over the rice bowl in the instant pot.
2. Secure the Instant pot with lid, with the steam release handle set to sealing position. Pressure cook for 9 to 10 mins and wait for natural release. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Later remove the dal, add salt and mash it. If it is too thick then, pour some hot water.
3. For the tempering, heat ghee in a small tadka pan. Add mustard & cumin. When they splutter, add red chilli, green chilies & ginger garlic. Optionally add curry leaves too and hing.
4. Turn off the heat and add red chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric. Add this to the cooked moong dal. Stir and serve. Cool down slightly and then squeeze lemon juice.
Tips to make moong dal
- Most Indian homes do own a pressure cooker so I have shown this recipe making in the same. If you do not own one, then you can just cook the dal in a pot or instant pot. I have given the instructions for instant pot as well below.
- You can also make this as a one pot dish. Again it can be made in a cooker or pot. All you need to do is, do the tempering first & then just add the dal and water. Cover & pressure cook.
- We usually do not make very hot & spicy lentils as the original flavor of lentils is lost. However if you love spicy foods, then feel free to double the amount of spices like red chilli powder & garam masala.
- If you are not accessible to curry leaves just replace with bay leaf.
- To make the dish healthier, I usually add some spinach and carrots. I pressure cook the carrots with the moong dal. Then I saute the spinach in the tempering pan until it wilts. Then add the cooked dal.
Moong dal recipe (Stovetop & instant pot)
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup moong dal (or skinned split green gram)
- 1 ½ cups water (same for IP)
- 1 tablespoon oil (or ghee or butter)
- 1 dried red chili (optional, broken)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds ( jeera)
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) (skip if you don't have)
- 1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf (optional)
- 1 to 2 green chilies chopped (use as needed)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic chopped or crushed (or ½ tsp ginger & ½ garlic)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional)
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 large tomato chopped or pureed
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (or as needed)
- ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) (optional)
- ¼ to ¾ cup water (more or less for consistency) (skip for IP)
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves (or cilantro finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or ½ tsp amchur or dry mango powder) as needed
How to make the recipe
- Rinse moong dal thrice in a pot or pressure cooker with ample amount of water.
How to cook on Stovetop
- Drain the water completely. Pour 1½ cups water and cook on a medium heat until soft.
- Pressure cooker for 2 to 3 whistles. If cooking in a instant pot – Place the bowl inside the instant pot, secure the lid & cook for 10 mins on a high pressure.
- Once the pressure releases, open the lid and check. Moong dal must be soft cooked. If you like smooth & creamy dal then mash it well.
- Pour ghee or oil to a hot pan. Add mustard, cumin & red chili. Let them pop.
- Next add green chilies, ginger garlic & curry leaves. Fry until a nice flavor comes out.
- Then saute onions until transparent. Next saute tomatoes until soft & mushy.
- Add turmeric, salt, garam masala (optional) and chilli powder (optional). Saute for a min until aromatic.
- Pour half cup water and bring it to a boil. Then transfer cooked dal. Pour more water if needed to bring to a desired consistency.
- Dal is usually made to a thick but of pouring consistency. It turns thick upon cooling.
- Stir and cook till it begins to bubble. Optional – Add kasuri methi and amchur if using. Stir and switch off.
- Squeeze in some lemon juice when it cools down a bit. Serve moong dal with rice, roti or any Indian bread.
How to make moong dal in Instant pot
- Press the SAUTE button on your Instant pot.
- Pour ghee or oil to the inner pot. Add cumin,mustard, dried red chilli and curry leaves or bay leaf.
- When they splutter, add asafoetida (hing), onions and green chilies. Fry for about 2 mins until the onions turn transparent.
- Then add in ginger, garlic, red chili powder, garam masala and turmeric. Give a quick stir.
- Add in tomatoes, salt, rinsed dal and pour 1½ cups water.
- Deglaze the inner pot by scrubbing with a spatula to release any bits of food stuck.
- optional – Place a trivet and place your rice bowl.
- Secure the IP with the lid. Position the steam release handle to sealing. Press PRESSURE COOK button and set the timer to 10 mins.
- When the IP is done, press cancel and switch off. Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 10 mins.
- Release the rest of the pressure manually. With the help of a spoon, gently move the steam release handle from sealing to venting. This releases the steam.
- Sprinkle kasuri methi over the dal and mash it if you like it smooth. If the dal is too thick you can pour ¼ to ½ cup hot water and bring it to consistency. Taste it and add more salt if needed.
- Garnish moong dal with coriander leaves and squeeze in lemon juice.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips.