The Meat Free Monday revolution is fast gaining momentum and popularity around the globe; and with it’s long list of health benefits, as well as the huge impact it makes in reducing our carbon footprint (in a time when both our environment and people’s physical health are simultaneously suffering) – while also offering some relief to the purse strings, it’s not difficult to see why! Although people are slowly starting to cotton on to the endless benefits, and many people jumping on the bandwagon advocating for Meat Free Mondays as a way to get into a healthier lifestyle all round, meat free meals on certain days of the week is by no means a brand new concept. Just ask any Indian who grew up on staples of dhal and rice 😉
Safe to say, not all dhal are created equal. With so many different dhal to choose from, and various ways to prepare them, I doubt I will ever get bored from preparing this Indian staple. And now that my kids are becoming a lot more conscious about all of its health benefits (high in protein and a good source of iron and fibre), and finding dhal to be the tastiest way to go meat free for one meal a week, I’m having a lot of fun recreating all my childhood favourites by going on a pulse making binge!
Mung Beans (also known as green gram, Hindi: moong, Gujarati: mug), are little green seeds that are yellow inside. They are eaten either whole, sprouted, split with the skins on or split with the skins removed. It is good source of protein and dietary fibre; low in fat and rich in potassium , calcium and B complex vitamins. They are also the easiest of all dhal(pulses) to digest. They are a Low glycaemic food, while the fibre in these lentils helps lowers cholesterol thus supporting healthy heart. Now, with this long list of health benefits, and prepared with an array of exotic Indian spices, going meat free has just gotten a whole lot more appealing hasn’t it!
Now let me get down to the recipe! Bare in mind that India is a large continent and there is more than one way to prepare this dish with each village and household having their own tweaks and way of preparing this staple… this is simply the way I make mine.
- 1 cup split yellow moong (preferably soaked overnight)
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- oil or ghee
- 1 tsp Jeera (cumin) seeds
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp barishap powder
- 3/4 teaspoon borri (turmeric)
- 1-2 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp salt (add more depending on taste)
- 1 medium tomato grated or finely diced
- Boiling water
- 1 chilli (optional)
- Dhania (coriander) for garnishing
- Braise chopped onion in oil or ghee until light golden in colour. You can add your jeera seeds to this process, but it can also be omitted if you don’t have any.
- Once onions are braised, add garlic, salt and spices. stir together and then add tomatoes. I usually like to cook tomatoes for a few minutes. If I’ve chopped my tomatoes then I like them to be almost dissolved before proceeding to the next step.
- Add soaked and rinsed moong dhal, top with boiling water and allow to cook until dhal is nice and soft, stirring occasionally. Pre soaking the dhal reduces the cooking time.
- You will be left with a nice soft, but textured dhal.
- Once dhal is soft, slit a chilli and add to the pot and sprinkle with chopped dhania.
- Best served with roti or rice.
For your convenience, I have made the recipe cards below for easy printing, saving and filing away and to take out at leisure whenever you have the urge to make this. You could also follow me over on Instagram where I share step by step recipes while I’m cooking 🙂
Thanks for reading!