Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils

mung dal tadka

Mung Dal Tadka

Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils

What is it about the humble dal, that  makes it a comfort food that transcends cultures? Simple, healthy and just plain delicious.  Let’s take a look at the different elements to consider if you want to make that perfect Dal!

First and foremost, if you are new to preparing dal, here’s some things that might help. Dal is defined as being a split pulse, but generally the term is  used for any dried bean or peas. Tur Dal, Chana Dal, Maash Dal, Masoor Dal… there are around 5 dozen varieties…

The term Dal is also used for the dish prepared using these lentils. It might be on the drier side and it might be more curry like. Some dals require a long soaking period. Some dals require dry roasting to release the flavors, prior to cooking. In this recipe, we are using husked green bean, which is called Mung Dal. It can be cooked without soaking, although some may argue this point. It is often the first dal given to a toddler, since it is easily digested and can be very smooth. It is also very nutritious.

Next, is our mode of cooking. These days many will resort to pressure cookers to cook the dal quickly. I am a fan of pressure cooking. I find that many Indian Meat dishes particularly, are actually enhanced by using a pressure cooker. However, in the case of the humble dal, I would recommend taking that extra time to slow cook it, for the ultra smooth and luscious consistency. All the flavors get time to ‘get to know’ each other during the cooking process. Quick cooking can cause the flavors to turn frigid.. they just need time to ‘melt’ into the mix. Remember – Slow and Low. I also love cooking in heavy based pots or earthen ware, to prevent the dal from sticking to the bottom.

We also take into account the different additional ingredients. Dal is often mixed with other vegetables like cauliflower or various squash varieties. It is sometimes cooked with a ground coconut paste. Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chillies and tomatoes… all of these are often used.

Salt is essential in the perfect dal, but too little or too much can make a drastic impact on the end result. I have found, the old wives tale of not adding salt at the beginning to be helpful. Salt is best added after the dal has softened. Always add a little at first, if unsure.

Then theres the ‘Tarka’ – the Tempering of the dal, with oil or ghee and spice.  Although ghee (clarified butter) makes a dal all the more delicious, groundnut oil, coconut oil or bran oil are other good options. The oil is heated and spices like cumin, black cumin, mustard seeds, dried chillies , curry leaves, and other whole spices are sometimes added. The spluttering mixture is poured over the cooked dal. After allowing the dal to rest briefly,  it can be served.

Okay, enough of that, let me tell you how a make a simple, humble and delicious dal.

mung dal tadka recipe


Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils

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Recipe Name: Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils
Recipe Type:  Vegetarian / Indian
Author: Shana c/o Recipes ‘R’ Simple
Prep time: 5
Cook time: 40 min
Total time: 
Yield: (4 servings)
  • 1 ½ cups mung dal  (husked- split green beans)

    chicken haleem ingredients - mung dal

    Mung Dal

  • 4 cups water and more as needed
  • 1 small purple onion chopped
  • 4- 5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 2 green chillies left whole
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
For tempering:
  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • ¼ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 long dried red chillies, left whole or chopped and deseeded if you want to reduce heat
  • 2 Tbsp shallots, chopped

Method for Mung Dal Tadka:
  • Rinse the dal thoroughly till the water runs clear.
  • Add the dal to a heavy based pot or earthen pot.
  • Pour in 4 cups of water.
  • Bring to a boil  and remove the scum that appears on top.
  • Add the chopped ginger, garlic, chopped green chili and onion and bring to boil again. Add the turmeric. Stir well.
  • Lower heat and cook, partially covered with a lid and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the dal has softened, add the salt and whole green chillies and continue cooking till you achieve the desired consistency, mashing the dal.
  • Add more water as needed to continue cooking. Once the dal is nice and smooth and creamy with the right amount of liquid, you can remove from heat.
  • Remember, to loosen the dal just add boiled water and simmer and to thicken it just simmer it down to thicken, making sure to stir it on low heat.
  • Tempering : In a small pan, heat the ghee. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  • Add cumin seeds, dried chillies and the chopped shallots.  Stir till the shallots turn light – dark golden according to preference. Light golden offers a milder flavor (I prefer this) and browned onions add more depth/strength of fried onion flavor.
  • Pour over the cooked dal. Cover the pot and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving for best results.
  • Creamy, Delicious dal can be served with flatbreads or rice!

Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils

Key Ingredients: Mung Dal, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chilli, Mustard Seeds, Cumin, Shallots, Ghee, Turmeric, Water, Salt.

Leave a comment if you tried – Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils .

About Shana Shameer

Love Cooking and discovering the very Best recipes out there.

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