Mung masoor daal has to be my favourite everyday daal. Why? Because it’s heart-warming, full of healthy properties, and is the quickest daal to make. My sister and I grew up on this staple Punjabi dish, as mum and dadima featured ‘daal chawl’ (lentils & rice) on our weekly after-school menu. When I lived in Madrid and was missing home food comforts, simmering this daal would transport me straight back to my family kitchen. Equally, if I ever feel run down, or need a light dinner after holiday indulgence, this is the daal I always crave. Eating this daal comforts me from the inside out, creating that hygge feeling of warmth and cosiness on a cold winter’s day. This daal is a humble dish – it’s simple, inexpensive to cook, and really good for you. In my cookbook, I tell Angela’s childhood story of this dish, and why it’s so special to her upbringing.
Over the last few years, I’ve perfected this recipe to my personal taste and drawn on the best tips I’ve learnt from my mum and the talented dadimas I have interviewed. I always make the tharka (masala base) to my daal in homemade ghee – that’s part of the magic taste. Ghee is an Ayurvedic ingredient for a dadima’s style daal. You can read more about it on my blog, and purchase homemade ghee on my website . Should you need to, replace the ghee with 4 tablespoons of rapeseed oil, which I prefer over other cooking oils.
If you can spare an extra 5 minutes, I would highly recommend grinding your own garam masala using a spice grinder. You can buy a bag of whole spices called ‘garam masala’ at Indian supermarkets, and freshly ground garam masala makes a big difference to the taste.
Yellow mung daal refers to the green mung beans which have been split and had the skins removed. Masoor daal is split red lentils. You can buy these from some mainstream supermarkets in the world foods section, and in good Indian supermarkets.
Enjoy! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via my social media.
- 200g mung daal
- 200g masoor daal (split red lentils)
- Cold water, approximately 1.5 litres
- 1 and a half teaspoons haldi (turmeric powder)
- 1 and a half teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 and a half tablespoons solid ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 2 green finger chillies, finely chopped (or to taste)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 25g ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Half teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
- 150g tomato passata
- Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Knob of ghee (optional)
- Add the mung and masoor lentils to a deep stock pan. Wash thoroughly and drain. I always wash my lentils in the pan, as opposed to using a sieve, as this way I can see when the water runs clear.
- Add 1.5 litres of water and turn on the heat. When the water becomes lukewarm, add the haldi and half a teaspoon of the salt, then stir.
- Bring the water to a boil. As the daal is boiling, skim off the frothy white layer which forms at the top of the water.
- Once the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer for around 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Whilst that’s simmering, make a start on the tharka (masala base). Melt the ghee in a separate pan over a moderate heat.
- Add the cumin seeds and allow to sizzle for a few seconds before adding the chopped onions and green chillies.
- Cook until the onions are light brown, stirring regularly, then add the garlic and ginger.
- Add the coriander powder, paprika, garam masala, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper.
- Stir well over a medium heat for 2 minutes and then add the tomato passata.
- Cook until the tharka has come together. This is when oil bubbles form around the mixture and the consistency thickens.
- Check that the lentils have cooked. They should have absorbed most of the water and softened. If they haven’t, keep simmering until the daal becomes a medium-thick consistency. If you feel that the consistency is too thick, add a little boiling water and continue simmering.
- Pour the pan of tharka into the daal and mix well. To pick up all of the tharka flavours, pour a large spoon of daal back into the tharka pan and swirl it around. Pour this back into the daal and stir well.
- Simmer for a further couple of minutes, or until the daal has reached a medium consistency. If you prefer a thinner daal consistency – add some boiling water.
- Taste the daal for salt.
- Garnish with fresh coriander and add a knob of ghee for that beautiful creamy taste. Serve piping hot with rotis (chapattis) or rice.
This daal freezes well in an airtight container once cooled. For best taste, I always reheat it in a saucepan, and add a little boiling water to loosen up the lentils and revive their texture. When re-heating it, I like to recreate that fresh taste by adding some lightly fried onions. If you like ginger, add a little more fresh root ginger when cooking the onions.