Moong dal is the most basic lentil dish made with yellow moong lentils, tomatoes & spices. This moong dal recipe will give you delicious & healthy dish that you can enjoy with plain rice, roti, Paratha, naan or even with any flavored rice like Jeera rice, basmati rice or Ghee rice. We usually serve it with rice. Along with pickle, papad & raita it makes a complete meal.
If you have kids or folks at home who do not like moong dal then this recipe is a must try for them as the taste of this is unique and delicious.
This healthy lentil dish can also be served to toddlers & babies after 10 months, just minus chilies.
Moong dal is one of the most favored dal or lentils in Indian cuisine as it is easily digestible. Mung beans or lentils are said to be tridoshic & can balance any disturbances in the body.
Hence it is used 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.
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 just 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
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 tbsp oil (or ghee or butter)
- 1 red chili (broken )
- ½ tsp cumin (or jeera)
- ¼ to ½ tsp mustard (optional)
- 1 Pinch asafoetida or 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 tsp ginger garlic chopped or crushed (or ½ tsp ginger & ½ garlic)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric or haldi
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
- 1/8 tsp garam masala (optional)
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 large tomato chopped or pureed
- Salt as needed
- ½ tsp crushed kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves (optional)
- ¼ to ¾ cup water (more or less for consistency) (skip for IP)
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves (or cilantro finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp 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.
- If cooking in pressure cooker allow to whistle twice or thrice. If cooking in a instant pot – Place the bowl inside the instant pot, secure the lid & cook for 10 mins on a high pressure.
- If you like smooth & creamy dal then mash the moong dal 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 fry onions until transparent. Next fry tomatoes until soft & mushy.
- Add turmeric, salt, if desired garam masala and chilli powder (optional). Saute for a min until aromatic.
- Transfer cooked dal. Then pour water if needed to bring the dal to a desired consistency.
- Dal is usually made to a thick but of pouring consistency.
- 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 and curry leaves or bay leaf.
- When they splutter, add the onions and 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 the pressure cook button and set the timer to 8 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.
- Garnish moong dal with coriander leaves and squeeze in lemon juice.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
Instant pot moong dal recipe
Most often I prefer to cook dal & rice in 2 separate bowls at one time in the instant pot. Here is how I make it in instant pot following these 2 methods. I have shared the first method above.
Second method is to follow the same recipe as mentioned in the recipe card. You will just cook the dal in the instant pot using the pot-in-pot method.
For that, place the dal bowl at the bottom of the inner pot. Then place the rice bowl on top & cover it. I use short grain rice. Secure the lid with the steam release handle set to sealing position.
Pressure cook for 9 to 10 mins. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Then follow the tempering as mentioned in the recipe card.
Preparation for stovetop method
1. Rinse ½ cup dal few times until the water runs clear. Cook with 1½ cups water till soft.
2. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker for one to 2 whistles on a medium flame. When the pressure goes off, open the cooker and mash it to smooth if you like.
3. Heat ghee or oil in a pan, saute mustard, cumin and red chilies.
4. When the mustard begin to splutter, add grated ginger garlic and slit or chopped green chili. You can also add curry leaves if you have as it lends a good aroma and is healthy too.
5. When the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off, add a pinch of hing and then chopped onions.
6. When the onions turn lightly pink, add chopped tomatoes. Fry until they turn soft and raw smell disappears.
7. Add turmeric and salt. You can also saute further until tomatoes turn very soft and mushy. You can also add half tsp chili powder and 2 pinches of garam masala if you like.
How to moong dal
8. Add ¾ cup water.
9. Add mashed dal. Stir and bring everything to a boil.
10. Add crushed kasuri methi and amchur powder. Kasuri methi can be replaced with coriander leaves, but the flavor turns out different. If you do not have amchur powder, add lemon juice just before serving. Add more salt if needed.
Serve moong dal fry with plain rice, jeera rice or paratha.