Moong Dal
Moong Dal
5 from 9 votes
This moong dal recipe is a simple lentil curry made using split green gram lentils. Moong dal tastes delicious and only needs a few simple ingredients to prepare.
Moong Dal

Moong Dal, the staple comfort food gracing dining tables across South Asia. This protein-packed meal has the heart of an ancient tradition with the simplicity that fits our modern lifestyles.

Originating from the Indian subcontinent, it’s a dish that has managed to cross borders, transcending its native cultural bounds to become a global favourite.

So, what’s the fuss about its difficulty level? Well, let’s dispel any myths right now. This recipe is as easy as pie, well, easier actually! If you can chop an onion, you can make this Moong Dal.

It’s all about sautéing, simmering, and serving. Truly, if there were a dish to introduce someone to the joys of Indian cooking, this would be it.

If you’re not a purist, there are tons of variations to make this dish uniquely yours. Love coconut? Add some creamy coconut milk to it. Prefer it tangy? A dollop of yogurt or a splash of tamarind could be your thing. The point is, Moong Dal is forgiving; it just wants to be loved.

The base of the recipe includes green gram lentils, bringing a level of depth to the dish while remaining accessible for weekday cooking. Lentils are the backbone of this dish, and believe me, opting for high-quality split green gram will elevate your Moong Dal to a restaurant-level meal.

Onions and garlic form the aromatic base, as is typical in many Indian recipes. However, the real stars of this dish are the spices—cumin, chilli, and turmeric. Not only do these spices add vibrant colours, but they also infuse the lentils with mouth-watering flavours.

What about the heat level? Well, that’s where green chillies come into play. They add a kick that’s balanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes. Trust me; it’s a symphony of flavours that you’ll want to experience over and over again.

For the finale, we have the garnish—coriander leaves. A small addition, you might think, but it brings a burst of freshness that ties all the flavours together. It’s like the cherry on top, except, well, it’s coriander.

So, roll up those sleeves and get ready to cook up a storm. Because today, we’re bringing the restaurant experience to your kitchen with this fabulous Moong Dal recipe!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Ready to take a deep dive into the culinary world of Moong Dal? Before we kick off our cooking adventure, let’s get up close and personal with the ingredients that make this dish a palate-pleasing masterpiece. After all, a chef is only as good as their ingredients, right?

Lentils (Split Green Gram): The hero of our dish, split green gram, provides not just bulk but an unbeatable nutty flavour and ample protein.

They also have a quick cooking time compared to other lentils, making them perfect for a speedy dinner. If you don’t have green gram, yellow lentils are a viable substitute, but they’ll give a slightly different texture and flavour profile.

Oil: A good-quality oil acts as the base for sautéing our aromatic elements, such as onions and garlic. While I’ve used regular cooking oil, you can also opt for ghee for a more authentic Indian touch, or even olive oil for a healthier spin.

Onions: Onions offer a sweetness that balances out the heat and spices. They form the backbone of the aromatic base. No onions? No worries. Shallots or even leeks can be an emergency substitution.

Tomatoes: These add both moisture and acidity, contributing to a well-rounded flavour profile. You could also experiment with canned tomatoes or even sun-dried tomatoes for a unique twist.

Green Chillies: Ah, the fire starters! They add that kick we all love. If you’re not a fan of the heat, bell peppers or even jalapeños can provide a different level of zest.

Garlic Paste: This gives the dal its aromatic undertones. Garlic powder can be a quick alternative, but the paste is where the flavour truly lies.

Salt: A dish without salt is like a day without sunshine. Salt enhances all the flavours, making the individual ingredients sing together in harmony. If you’re watching your salt intake, try potassium chloride as an alternative.

Chilli Powder: A dash of this provides an additional layer of heat, making the lentils more dynamic in flavour. Cayenne or even smoked paprika could be used as an alternative.

Turmeric Powder: This brings in the beautiful golden colour and adds its own earthy notes. If you run out, a bit of mustard could do the trick, although the taste won’t be identical.

Cumin Powder: It gives the dal a warm, spicy kick. Don’t have it? You can use a blend of caraway and coriander seeds, ground finely.

Each ingredient handpicked to make your Moong Dal a culinary triumph. Remember, the secret to a fantastic dish often lies in the quality and combination of ingredients you use. So don’t skimp on them; after all, your taste buds deserve the best!

How to Achieve the Perfect Consistency in Moong Dal

One of the most crucial elements in creating an impeccable Moong Dal is the consistency of the lentils. Yes, those split green gram lentils can make or break your dish. Overcooking them can turn your dal into mush, while undercooking leaves you with something that’s too gritty to enjoy.

When we talk about Moong Dal, we’re aiming for lentils that are tender but still hold their shape.

So, how do you achieve that? Start with a high-quality lentil; opt for split green gram that’s evenly sized and devoid of any visible defects. When you have a quality product to start with, achieving the ideal texture becomes much simpler.

The cooking time also plays a pivotal role. Typically, split green gram lentils take about 20-25 minutes to cook to perfection when simmered on medium heat. But the trick lies in the initial sautéing process where they’re mixed with the spices. This coats the lentils and allows them to absorb the flavours while cooking.

Don’t forget the role of water in achieving this ideal consistency. The recipe calls for 500 ml of water, which, when combined with the moisture from tomatoes, creates the perfect cooking environment for the lentils.

Remember, you can always add a splash more water during the cooking process if you feel the dal is drying out.

And there you have it—your pathway to the perfect Moong Dal consistency. It’s all about the right ingredients, the ideal cooking time, and the perfect amount of liquid. These elements are your toolkit in the quest for Moong Dal greatness.

Spicing Up Your Moong Dal: The Ultimate Guide

The spices—the lifeblood of any self-respecting Indian dish. When it comes to Moong Dal, the alchemy lies in balancing chilli, turmeric, and cumin. Let’s delve into the aromatic world of spices and how they can level up your dal.

Firstly, cumin powder. It brings in a warm and earthy undertone, setting the foundation for the dish. It pairs perfectly with the nuttiness of the green gram lentils, creating a well-rounded flavour profile that pleases the palate.

Then we have the ever-potent chilli powder. It’s not just about heat; it’s about a kind of heat that complements the other flavours. Remember, Moong Dal isn’t meant to burn your mouth but to offer a warming, comforting heat that dances at the back of your tongue.

Turmeric is another game-changer. Not only does it give the Moong Dal its appetizing golden hue, but it also brings in earthy flavours. Plus, it has a plethora of health benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties to boosting your immune system. So, it’s a win-win!

If you’re looking to experiment, don’t hesitate to toss in a bay leaf or a cinnamon stick during the sautéing process. These additions can bring in subtle layers of flavour without overpowering the core essence of the Moong Dal.

The spices in Moong Dal work in unison, like an orchestra where each element has its role but contributes to a harmonious final product. So next time you’re looking to spice up your Moong Dal, remember this: it’s all about the balance and synergy of flavours.

The Art of Sautéing in Moong Dal Preparation

When it comes to creating a mouth-watering bowl of Moong Dal, don’t underestimate the power of a good sauté. The sautéing process sets the stage for a truly delectable dish.

It’s in these early moments that the raw ingredients begin their transformation into the complex flavours that define this classic Indian fare.

Starting off with a well-heated oil, this is the point where we cook our finely diced onions to perfection. The aim is to soften the onions without browning them too much. Why? Because we’re looking for that subtle sweetness and aroma that onions bring to the table.

Then comes the garlic paste, your secret weapon for an aromatic undertone. A quick sauté is all it takes to release its fragrant oils.

However, be mindful not to let it brown; otherwise, you risk bringing in a bitter taste. This garlic-onion combo acts as the flavour base for your Moong Dal, enriching the lentils as they simmer away.

The spices enter the scene next. A blend of chili, turmeric, and cumin is briefly sautéed to unlock their full aromatic potential. This quick stint in the hot oil allows them to release their essential oils, which are crucial for the final taste.

All in all, sautéing is not just a cooking step but an art form when it comes to Moong Dal. It builds layers of flavours, one by one, ensuring that each spoonful of your final dish is a revelation.

Unlocking the Nutritional Benefits of Moong Dal

Moong Dal isn’t just a tasty dish; it’s a nutritional powerhouse. But what exactly makes this humble bowl of lentils such a beneficial part of your diet? Well, let’s dig in.

Firstly, the split green gram is rich in protein. That’s right! Moong Dal is a fantastic vegetarian source of protein, making it a staple in vegetarian diets around the world. The protein content aids in muscle repair and is excellent for those who are physically active or are looking to up their protein intake.

Then there’s the fibre content. The lentils in Moong Dal contain a healthy dose of dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut. It’s a win-win, considering you get a delicious dish and a happy stomach all in one go.

Let’s not forget about the micronutrients like iron, potassium, and magnesium. These are essential minerals that your body needs for various functions, from transporting oxygen to maintaining blood pressure levels.

Spices like turmeric also add to the health quotient. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s a much-welcomed addition to the nutritional profile of the dish. Similarly, cumin aids in digestion, and chilli peppers can boost metabolism.

Moong Dal is a nutrient-dense dish that not only pleases your taste buds but also offers a range of health benefits. So, the next time you dig into a bowl of this golden delight, remember that it’s doing wonders for your body, inside and out.

Elevate Your Moong Dal with the Right Garnish

Garnishes—the crowning glory of any dish! And when it comes to Moong Dal, garnishing is not merely an afterthought. It’s the final brushstroke on a culinary masterpiece, bringing an additional layer of flavour and visual appeal. But what garnishes work best with Moong Dal? Let’s explore.

Coriander leaves are the go-to choice for many, and for good reason. Fresh, green, and slightly citrusy, coriander not only brightens up the dish visually but also adds a zesty finish that complements the spices beautifully. A sprinkling of finely chopped leaves just before serving can make all the difference.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good squeeze of lemon either. The citrusy tang can cut through the richness, balancing out the flavours and adding an unexpected twist. Just a wedge on the side of the serving bowl, and your guests can customize the dish to their liking.

For those who enjoy a spicy kick, a scattering of finely chopped green chillies can elevate your Moong Dal to new heights. It adds both colour and a spicy edge that resonates with the other spices used in the dish. But be cautious—a little goes a long way.

If you’re in the mood for something aromatic, fried garlic chips can be a game-changer. The crispy, golden slivers not only offer a contrasting texture but also impart a smoky, garlicky aroma that pairs wonderfully with the lentils.

Mastering the Use of Oil in Moong Dal

Oil—in many ways, it’s the unsung hero of Moong Dal. It’s the medium that allows the flavours to meld together, but its role is so much more than that. It’s time to give this essential ingredient the spotlight it deserves.

The recipe calls for 50 ml of oil, and while it might seem like a trivial component, the type of oil used can profoundly affect the end result.

Generally, a neutral oil like sunflower or canola works well, providing a blank canvas for the spices to shine. However, for a more traditional take, ghee can be used to impart a rich, buttery flavour.

Heat management is critical when using oil. The oil must be adequately heated before adding onions or spices. Too hot, and you risk burning the ingredients; too cold, and they won’t sauté properly, leading to a lacklustre dish.

The sautéing process itself is pivotal. It’s in the hot oil that the onions soften, the garlic releases its fragrance, and the spices unleash their full aroma. This not only builds the flavour base for the dal but also enriches the lentils as they cook.

Moreover, the oil also plays a role in the final texture of the dish. Once it separates from the masala mix, it’s a sign that the spices have cooked well, and you can proceed with adding the lentils and water. So yes, the oil wears many hats in the Moong Dal-making process.

Whether you’re a Moong Dal newbie or a seasoned cook, paying attention to the oil can make a world of difference. It’s the vehicle that carries the flavours, ensuring that each spoonful is a delicious journey.

Pairing Drinks with Moong Dal: An Unexpected Delight

If you think Moong Dal is a lone ranger on the dining table, think again! The humble dish plays surprisingly well with a variety of beverages, and I’m not just talking about water. Let’s dive into the exciting world of drinks that pair wonderfully with Moong Dal.

A cold glass of lassi, for example, can be an excellent companion to Moong Dal. This yogurt-based Indian drink cools down the palate, making it a perfect counterpoint to the spices.

The creamy texture also complements the softness of the lentils. If you’re a fan of mango lassi, you’ll find that the fruity notes add a delightful contrast.

If you’re looking for non-traditional options, a chilled glass of coconut water could be a fantastic pairing. Its natural sweetness and electrolytes offer a refreshing and hydrating experience, making it a great palate cleanser.

Moong Dal: To Soak or Not to Soak?

The perennial debate among Moong Dal aficionados: to soak or not to soak the lentils. Well, guess what? There’s more to this than meets the eye, so let’s delve into it.

Soaking the split green gram lentils has its merits. For one, it significantly cuts down on the cooking time. If you’re in a rush, this is a great hack.

Soaking also makes the lentils easier to digest, as it breaks down some of the complex sugars that can cause gas. It’s almost like giving your digestive system a head start!

However, skipping the soaking process can be a deliberate choice, and it isn’t necessarily a culinary crime. Cooking the lentils without soaking means they will retain their shape better, providing a different texture to the dal. If you’re going for a chunkier, more rustic feel, then this is the route for you.

Whether to add salt during the soaking process is another angle to consider. While adding salt can help flavour the lentils from within, it may also extend the soaking time needed for optimal softness. It’s a delicate balance that largely depends on personal preference.

Whether you’re a soaking loyalist or a non-soaker, both methods have their place in Moong Dal cooking. It ultimately boils down to what you’re looking for in your dish. Flexibility is the spice of life, after all!

Making Moong Dal Vegan-Friendly: The Essentials

You might assume that Moong Dal is inherently vegan, but traditional preparations often involve ghee or other animal-derived ingredients. I’m here to tell you that you can absolutely make this classic Indian dish 100% vegan without losing out on flavour.

Starting with the oil, olive oil or coconut oil can be an excellent alternative to ghee. It gives you the same richness and depth of flavour without any animal products. Trust me; your taste buds won’t even know the difference!

The spices can stay the same; they are naturally vegan and pack in all the flavours you need. Garlic paste, chilli powder, and turmeric aren’t just for taste; they also have health benefits. The antioxidant-rich spices make this dish a powerhouse of nutrients, ideal for a plant-based diet.

Let’s talk about garnish. Instead of using dairy-based yoghurt, opt for coconut yoghurt or almond yoghurt to get that creamy consistency. For added richness, you could sprinkle some nutritional yeast, which lends a cheese-like flavour that’s entirely plant-based.

You could even go a step further and add some vegan protein like tofu or tempeh for an extra kick. Simply sauté these in the same pan with the spices and combine them with the lentils. You’ll have a protein-rich, satisfying meal that is 100% vegan.

So go ahead and give the vegan version of Moong Dal a try. It might just become your new favourite way to enjoy this classic dish.

Moong Dal for Toddlers: A Nutrient-Packed Introduction to Indian Cuisine

Introducing diverse flavours to your toddler can be a parenting win, and what better way to do that than with Moong Dal? This protein-packed dish is not just nutritious but also incredibly palatable for young taste buds.

Firstly, Moong Dal is gentle on the stomach. It’s light, easy to digest, and the lentils themselves are packed with proteins and fibres that are essential for a growing child. It’s almost like this dish was designed keeping toddlers in mind!

You can control the spice level to make it as mild as you want. Maybe go easy on the chilli powder and green chillies, but don’t shy away from other spices like turmeric and cumin, which add flavour and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

What about texture? For younger kids, you can blend the Moong Dal to make it smoother and easier to swallow. As they get used to it, you can keep it chunkier to help them explore different textures.

Adding vegetables like carrots or peas to the Moong Dal can also boost its nutritional profile. It’s a sneaky but effective way to get those greens into your child’s diet. Just dice them finely and cook them alongside the lentils.

Moong Dal is a flexible, nutritious, and delicious dish to introduce to toddlers. Adjust the spice level, tweak the texture, or add veggies to suit your child’s palate. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!

Check Out These Other Recipes

If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of that comforting Moong Dal, then you’re in for a treat.

I’ve got some other lip-smacking Indian recipes that will have your kitchen smelling like a gourmet restaurant in no time. Trust me, you won’t want to miss these!

First off, let’s talk about Tadka Dal. It’s similar to Moong Dal but with an extra kick of spices tempered in hot oil.

The aroma alone will transport you straight to the heart of Delhi! Next, there’s Dal Makhani, a creamy, buttery concoction of lentils and kidney beans that’s so luxurious, it’s like the cashmere sweater of Indian cuisine.

And you know what goes amazingly well with any dal? Naan Bread. Soft, fluffy, and slightly charred, this flatbread is like a cosy blanket wrapping up all those flavours of your dal.

If you’re in the mood for something with meat, look no further than Chicken Karahi. This dish packs a punch with its robust flavours of ginger, garlic, and an array of spices, and it complements Moong Dal like a dream.

Last but not least, what’s an Indian feast without some Chana Curry? Chickpeas simmered in a spicy and tangy gravy make this dish an absolute must-try. You can pair it with Moong Dal for a vegetarian powerhouse meal or as an additional side to your meat dishes.

So go ahead, explore these recipes and turn your kitchen into an Indian culinary paradise. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Moong Dal

Moong Dal

by Nabeela Kauser
This moong dal recipe is a simple lentil curry made using split green gram lentils. Moong dal tastes delicious and only needs a few simple ingredients to prepare.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 404 kcal


  • 300 g Lentils Split Green Gram
  • 50 ml Oil
  • 1 Onions
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 500 ml Water


  • In a pot heat up the oil on medium heat until hot then add the finely diced onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened (see note 1)
  • Add the garlic paste and green chilli paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes
  • Then add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 2 tbsp of water and cook for 2-3 mins
  • Once the oil has separated, you can add the split green gram lentils
  • Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes,
  • Then add water, cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes
  • When the curry is cooked, garnish with coriander.



Note 1 – I like to use olive oil, but you can use any oil such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 20gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.05gSodium: 681mgPotassium: 939mgFibre: 25gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 697IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 7mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Dal, Food, Healthy, Lentils, Protein, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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