Mung Bean and Tamarind Dal

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Mung Bean and Tamarind Dal

Yet another recipe adapted from Dakshin, a treasured cookbook focusing on traditional South Indian culinary delights. Easy to prepare, this colorful mung bean curry is sure to please those who crave spicy dals, although you can reduce the number of chilies used if you want a milder version. Tempered with tangy tamarind, I served this fiery dish alongside a mild and tasty tamarind rice.

Mung Bean and Tamarind DalMung Bean and Tamarind Dal
Recipe by
Adapted from Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India
Cuisine: South Indian
Published on March 16, 2009

Simple, colorful and spicy mung bean and green chili curry seasoned with tangy tamarind

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 55 to 60 minutes

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  • 1 cup dried whole mung beans (3 cups cooked)
  • 3 cups water
  • lemon-size piece of tamarind pulp
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 dried whole red chili, broken into bits
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • handful of dried curry leaves
  • 6 fresh green chilies, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the mung beans and soak in several inches of water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain, transfer to a large saucepan, and cover with 3 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and partially cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are buttery soft — about 40 minutes. Set aside without draining.

  • Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 20 minutes. Strain the tamarind water into another bowl, and squeeze as much liquid out of the tamarind pulp as you can. Discard the tamarind pulp and set the tamarind liquid aside.

  • For tempering, heat the ghee, butter or oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, red chili, asafetida and curry leaves. Stir until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop, then add the green chilies, tamarind juice, turmeric and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add this mixture to the cooked mung beans, return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat, and simmer for another 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

  • Serve hot, garnished with curry leaves or fresh chopped parsley or cilantro if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Other mung bean dishes you will want to try:
Spicy Mung Bean Soup with Coconut Milk
Indian Sour Mung Bean Soup
Indian-style Spicy Mung Beans


Red Chillies said...

Very nice recipe Lisa. The other day I had something like this at an Indian restaurant and wondred how it was made. It had ginger as well. I will try your version and maybe will add ginger.

A_and_N said...

You've really hit the jackpot with this book, havent you :) ? Thats a lovely recipe :)

Anonymous said...

I love how delicious this looks! I'm definitely going to try it this week. I think you should post your web posts on Raw People too... other vegetarians would greatly benefit!

Chitra said...

nice , yummy post lisa..first time here,u have a cute check out my blog for south indian recipes..hope u wud like it:)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

lovely lovely! the tamarind does it for me in this recipe. got to try this. i am not too sure if i can cook up something in time for the NCR, which does bum me off a bit!

Erin said...

I've had a bag of mung beans staring at me from the depths of the "pantry" (better labeled "small shelf of grains next to the dishes") for a while now and I think this is the solution! sounds so tasty,and the tamarind is something I've never actually cooked with before. I guess it's time!

Laavanya said...

Spicy & tangy is a welcome combination for me always... i've not cooked mung beans this way before - bookmarking to try.

Usha said...

Sounds spicy and hearty ! Look forward to trying this :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow,what a great version of moong dal..Loved your blog..Awesome clicks and rich following you from now..Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for the warm welcome (back)! I was surprised myself at how much of a hassle blogging had become-only a few months ago, I couldn’t stop!! I guess it’s all part of a cycle. Anyhow, I hope to get back to it full speed, with inspiration from such wonderful bloggers as you!


Anonymous said...

Mung bean was always cooked with sugar in our this is totally new to me, and I am so amazed that I'll definitely try this recipe.

eatme_delicious said...

I just bought some mung beans and have no idea what to do with them. Though I've also never used tamarind before so I'm kind of scared to start with this recipe. It looks really yummy though!

Rachel Ellen said...

I love Dakshin and have learned a lot about the wonderful way the vegetarians of India have with spices from the recipes. One problem though, is that many recipes call for a "lemon sized piece of tamarind pulp", which is I assume, a recognized measurement in Indian kitchens as I have seen it in other Indian recipes. But, lemons can be walnut sized or almost grapefruit sized, at least here in California! What does "lemon sized" mean in India??

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Rachel;

I usually use a walnut sized piece, or depending on the recipe, a piece the size of a small lime. Hope this helps!

Rachel Ellen said...

Yes Lisa! Thank you, thank you! I am glad I stumbled on your blog while I searched for an answer to that question because not only did I get my answer, I am really enjoying your blog as well and will be following it in future! :D

basil said...

Delicious. Thanks for reminding me how good mung beans are.