Mung bean curry recipe: Pakistani whole mung bean dal

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I have to be honest that initially, I didn’t like this Mung bean curry – Mung dal as the Pakistanis/ Indians call it. When I first tried it, I found it weird. Because in Indonesia, Mung beans are used to make sweets and desserts

Now that I had to eat it with rice or roti (Pakistani bread aka chapati) as a savoury, I just couldn’t enjoy it. I always tried to avoid this dish every time my husband cooked it. Also, the sound of ‘dal’ is like dull in my ears 😀.

So when my sister in law made me having this dish (again) at her house, I was so reluctant to eat it. But I had to eat it out of courtesy, didn’t I? After all, she had gone to the trouble to cook for us that day.

You might’ve guessed by now….yes, I liked the Mung bean curry and rice that my sister in law put on the table for us. In fact, I couldn’t stop having it.

Well, you know the moral story by now. The same ingredients will make a different taste of food according to the cook 😊.


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Whole mung bean dal

Whole mung bean dal

Naturally, I told my sister in law how I was not keen with Mung bean dal before. 

But now I tried her daal and found myself liking it, I asked her to teach me how she cooks her dal. Because not only I became converted liking this curry dish, my husband is a big fan of dal as well. So, if I can cook the curry dish in the way that both hubby and I like it, then it would make my cooking affairs easier, wouldn’t it?

Before I carry on, note that ‘dal’ in Urdu means ‘pulses’ in English. The variety of pulses are chickpeas, lentils, dry peas, and beans. So mung bean belongs to the beans family of the Pulses.

Anyway, there three types of dry mung beans that you can find in the shop, i.e. whole mung bean dal, split mung bean dal with husks, and washed mung beans (its skins have been removed). 

In this recipe, I used whole mung bean dal with the husks. 

There are two ways of prep you can do before you’re cooking whole mung bean dal. The first choice, you soak the beans overnight before cooking in a regular pot. The second choice is you soak the beans an hour or a few before you cook it in a pressure cooker

As you might’ve guessed, each option is to do with cooking the pulses quickly. Because if you don’t soak it before cooking, you’ll have to spend ages to get those green coloured pulses softened and cooked. 

Mung bean curry - whole mung bean dal recipe

Mung bean curry recipe

As I mentioned above, I learned the original recipe from my sister-in-law. However, over time I had to tweak her recipe according to my circumstances, which is the fact that my husband and my two kids cannot eat spicy food. 

What I mean with spicy is hot chilli spice. 

My husband and the kids have no problem with other spices such as cumin, coriander, etc. but not chilli. 

If I ever put chilli in my cooking, I have to be extra careful that the food will only taste ‘warm’ and not ‘hot’. 

Also note that you can use this same recipe for other different types of ‘dal’ like red lentils, brown lentils, green lentils, and dry chickpeas. There is another way of cooking dal as well. I will share it next time. 

The one I’m sharing with you here uses the method of boiling the Mung beans and the spices first and then pouring the Tarka in the curry. Tarka is basically heated oil with garlic and spices. Some tarka uses onions too. 

Mung bean curry - whole mung bean dal recipe

Mung bean curry

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This Pakistani whole Mung bean dal, or Mung bean curry recipe, is a comfort dish you'd like to enjoy with plain Basmati rice, naan bread, chapati, or pitta bread. You can cook it in a pressure cooker for only 15 minutes that it's become an easy nutritious menu when you don't have much time.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mung beans (soaked overnight)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (see the note)
  • ½ inch Ginger (see the note)
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground Coriander
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika powder or chilli powder (see the note)
  • 1 tsp coarse/ ground black pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 medium Tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ tsp whole Cumin
  • ½ tsp Black Mustard seeds
  • 2-3 whole fresh or dry chilli, optional (see the note)
  • ¼ cup cooking oil (see the note)
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  1. You can cook the curry in a regular pot or in a pressure cooker. The difference is in the length of time. See the note for details.
  2. Get your pot ready.
  3. Peel 2 cloves of garlic and all of the ginger. Finely chop them or grind them into a paste. 
  4. Drain your soaked Mung beans and put them in the pot.
  5. Add in the water, ginger and garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander, turmeric, paprika or chilli powder, salt, black pepper, and chopped tomato.
  6. Put the lid on and turn the heat into medium-high. 
  7. If you cook in a regular pot, once the water reaches its boiling point, you can turn the heat lower and keep stirring the mung bean every now and then.
  8. Usually, it takes me 40-50 minutes of cooking until the pulses fully cooked. 
  9. If you use a pressure cooker, once the pressure started, you can turn the heat down and cook for about 15-20 minutes. 
  10. When your mung beans are cooked, turn the heat off.
  11. Then get your Tarka ready. Peel and finely slice the remaining garlic (1 clove). 
  12. Heat the oil in a small frying pan, and put the garlic in.
  13. Then add in the whole cumin, black mustard seeds, and chilli if using. Fry for about 3-5 minutes until the garlic golden brown and the spices sizzling.
  14. Pour the oil together with garlic and spice into the mung bean curry. Take care because of the hot oil mixing with hot liquid can be dangerous. 
  15. Stir the curry well, cover the pot, and turn the heat back on. Cook further for about 10 - 15 minutes until you can see the curry looks luscious and creamy. 
  16. Enjoy.

Notes

  • The last few years I’ve been using the ready-made garlic and ginger paste which are frozen and shaped in cubes (rectangle cube). So, if you too use frozen garlic and ginger paste from the shop, you can use one cube of each garlic and ginger for this recipe.
  • If you love chilli, you can use chilli powder instead of paprika. Or you can mix both, ½ teaspoon of chilli powder with ½ teaspoon of paprika powder.
  • I use rapeseed oil or sunflower oil for my cooking. Feel free to choose whichever you like.   
  • You can skip using the whole chilli in your Tarka, but adding it makes your Mung bean curry smells nicer. I used to use it, but now I don’t anymore because the kids complained that the dal was too spicy. So again, it’s your choice.
  • You can also garnish the curry with chopped coriander leaves if you like.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1 Amount Per Serving Calories 240Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 25mgSodium 501mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 11g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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I hope you find the recipe makes you want to try Mung bean dal. You can enjoy the dish with plain basmati rice, naan bread, chapati, or pitta bread. Also, you can put a teaspoon or two of plain yoghurt on your Mung beans and rice. I find it more delicious.

Feel free to share the post and pin it. And before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes that you may equally love.

Thank you and all the best.

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