Chilkewali Mung Dal (Split Green Mung Beans), Mumbai-Style

MBittman Chilkewali Mung Dal

When I knew that we might be near this wonderful Indian grocery, Apna Bazar in Hicksville, New York, I grabbed an article about “New York Dals” written by Mark Bittman for the New York Times and made my ingredient list. I bought fresh curry leaves for the first time, so I made the dish that used them first- Chilkewali Mung Dal.  I served it with sautéed spinach with garlic and cumin, brown rice, and two types of Indian bread.  I had to substitute a balloon whisk for an Indian mathani to try and achieve the right consistency.  I didn’t know anything about which type of bread to serve, so we tried 2 types– next time I go to Apna Bazar I will try one of the many other types available! This is a wonderful dish- I LOVED IT!  I am looking forward to trying the other dal recipes from the same New York Times article.

  • 1 cup split green mung beans (chilkewali mung dal)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced and seeded hot green chili
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh ginger
  • 12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the dal, turmeric, garlic, chili, onions, tomatoes, brown sugar, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Partly uncover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until the dal is tender; turn off the heat. Use an Indian mathani (or balloon whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy.
  2. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan; let the seeds pop and sizzle. When the popping begins to subside, add the ginger and cook until lightly browned, about 15 seconds, and add the curry leaves, if you’re using them. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin.
  3. Pour the tadka (pictured below) into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
YIELD: About 4 servings
MBittman TadkaImage

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