Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yellow Moong Dal with Spinach

Here is an attempt to mix the flavors of North and South Indian cuisine. The result, is an incredible dal that you will want to cook when you feel down or want to feel nice and warm on a cold wintry day. Yellow moong dal is routinely used in cuisine from North India while the sambar masala is a ground mixture of roasted legumes and spices that is used to make the famous "sambar" in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu.

I use pressure cooked yellow moong dal (mung beans that have been skinned and split) and use them often as a base in dals because they are so easy to digest. The addition of spinach, onions and tomatoes, makes it a complete meal when accompanied with rice or whole wheat rotis.

Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup yellow moong dal soaked for about 4 hours and then pressure cooked.
1/2 onion, chopped finely.
1/2 cup frozen spinach.
1 small tomato, diced.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds.
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds.
1 clove of garlic, crushed.
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.
1 teaspoon sambhar masala powder: you can get various versions of this masala in any Indian grocery store.
Salt and brown sugar to taste.

In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. The hot oil will make them sputter. Immediately add the onion followed by the crushed garlic clove. Saute n medium heat. When the onion becomes translucent, add the turmeric and the chilli powder. Saute for another half a minute and add the tomato, followed by the spinach. Let the vegetables cook on medium heat and let the vegetables sweat.

Now, add the cooked moong dal and 2 cups of water to the vegetables and bring the dal to a rolling boil. Add the sambar masala powder, lemon juice, salt and sugar and stir. Let the dal boil for another minute or so. Serve with rice or fresh rotis!

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