Moong (also called mung or green gram) is one of the most popular lentils in and also native to India. Widely used in other Asian cuisines too (munggo or monggo in Philippines and đậu xanh in Vietnam.) this lentil goes by the name moog, paasi payirru, hesaru bele and pesalu in different states in India.
It is known to be the most easy to digest lentil - especially the split lentil - and is often one of the first weaning foods given to babies. A rich source of protein, it is also used in recipes for people recovering from illnesses since it is light on the stomach.
In our kitchen the yellow split lentil without the skin (moong dal) is used atleast twice a week - moong ka cheela and pongal for breakfast, dals and kootu for our meals and a spoonful thrown in to thicken and nourish some soups. It is a versatile lentil and I find it takes on different flavours - from garlic to cloves - very easily.
But this recipe uses the split moong dal with the skin on (Moong dal chilka) and I find it to be a refreshing change from the usual skinless version. It has more character to it and retains its own flavour instead of blending in namelessly into the dish du jour. This recipe is a very simple one with a simple tadka of onions, tomato and garlic. Perfect with hot phulkas and can even hold its own with rice.
Moong Dal - Chilkewali (Split mung lentils with skin)
Split Moong dal with skin (green gram) - 3/4 cup
Onion - 1 chopped fine
Tomato - 1 big chopped fine
Garlic - 2-3 cloves chopped fine
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) - pinch
Oil - 1 tsp
1. Cook the moong dal with skin in a pressure cooker in 3 cups of water. Cook along with turmeric powder.
2. Drain the stock and reserve.
3. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the asafoetida and garlic and fry for half a minute.
4. Add the onions and saute for about 3-4 minutes till translucent.
5. Add the chilli powder and cumin powder and cook for another 3 minutes.
6. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes till they turn just soft.
7. Add the cooked moong dal, salt and as much as stock as you prefer.
8. Bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes and remove from flame.
9. Serve hot with chapatis or steamed rice.