On their own mung beans are nothing to get worked up over. But when made into a really great dal, mung beans can be truly exceptional. This Roasted Moong Dal with Mustard Greens from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey toasts the little yellow beans for an added nuttiness. Tender, chopped greens are added midway through cooking, and the dish is finished with a heady mix of spices and chiles toasted in olive oil.
Depending on your green preference you can go with a softer spinach, which will cook down quicker, or a heartier kale or collard that retains some of its leafy crunch. By combining dark leafy greens and good-for-you mung beans, this is the sort of meatless dish that can work just as well as a side or vegetarian main.
- Yield:4 to 6
- 1 cup (6 ounces) hulled and split moong dal
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tightly packed cup (3 ounces) mustard greens, well chopped (other tender greens, such as spinach or chard, may be substituted)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 2 dried hot red chilies
Put the unwashed dal in a medium pan and set over medium heat. Shake or stir the dal until some of the grains turn a little brown. Now pour cold water into the pan, stir the grains, and pour the water out. Do this one more time. Drain the beans well and add 4 cups fresh water. Add the turmeric and bring to a boil, without letting the dal boil over. Cover partially, turn heat to low, and cook 30 minutes. Add the greens and salt. Stir and cook another 20 minutes, with the pan partially covered, stirring now and then.
Heat the oil in a small pan or a small frying pan. When hot, put in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, and chilies, in that order. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, pour the oil and seasonings over the cooked dal, cover it, and let the flavors blossom for a few minutes before stirring and then serving.