I don’t know about you but the words ‘mung bean’ conjure up thoughts of overly healthy, extremely bland and ‘can only be good for you as tastes so bad. However if I use its other name, Moong Dal, which is one I am familiar with as one of my favourite Indian staple dishes it stirs up some very different thoughts and smells. I think of a warming ginger and chilli infused soup spiked with coriander and cumin which can be eaten with hot buttered spelt chappatis or a steaming bowl of brown rice. Much better!
I hadn’t actually made the connection that the two were one and the same until recently, and so hopefully you’ll also be happy to hear that the humble mung bean which is rich in protein, iron and vitamin C as well as being low in saturated fat, sodium and have absolutely no cholesterol – oh and is high in fibre, can also be a fabulously spicy aromatic Indian dal.
The day I made this Dal I was feeling a bit stodgy and bloaty after a weekend of festival madness - the dal was to remedy that as it is renowned for its soothing properties and this is a go-to recipe to sort out over indulgence and that ‘ugh’ feeling. Another favourite and I think more immediate way to soothe a bloated belly is with a ginger and spice tea. Traditionally this recipe would have black tea, sugar and milk added but I personally prefer just the ginger and spices as a clear tea – you could try either, dodgy belly or not... enjoy!
Moong Dal or Mung Bean Soup
- 1 cup Moong Dal washed well
- 1-2 chillies chopped and deseeded if preferred (or chopped in mini food processor with ginger)
- 1 large thumb ginger grated (or chopped in mini food processor chilli)
- ½ tin chopped tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomato chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tsp cumin crushed
- 1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
- Handful of fresh coriander chopped (stalks and leaves separately
- Place the washed dal in a saucepan and cover with approx. 3 x water and bring to the boil.
- Reduce to simmer and add salt, garam masala and turmeric along with the chopped chilli and ginger. I like to put mine in a pressure cooker and cook the dal for 20 minutes however if you have time then it will take approx. 2 hours in a normal saucepan on a medium heat to cook thoroughly.
- Whilst the dal is cooking, heat coconut oil in a small pan and fry cumin and coriander seeds until they pop
- Add onions and fry until golden
- Add tomatoes and chopped coriander stalks
- When a thick paste is created, turn off heat.
- When Dal is cooked (you should be able to press a bean in your hand and it should squish easily) add the tomato paste and stir through
- Garnish with coriander
- Serve with hot fresh spelt chapattis (spelt and water kneaded to form a dough and rolled into thin chapattis and flipped both sides on a frying pan/griddle) or with brown rice
Ginger and Spice tea
- 1/8 thumb ginger (I just used ginger shavings from the ginger used in the dal)
- A pinch of fennel
- A pinch of ajwain seeds (also known as bishop’s weed)
- Seeds from 2 cardamom pods
- 1 clove
- Fill a milk pan with water and add all above ingredients
- Bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minute
- Strain into a teacup
- Milk and sugar can be added at this stage or boiled with tea (traditional method) on the hob
- I prefer to drink clear. You could add a touch of agave nectar if you need a clean but sweet fix
Until next time,