Indian Mung Bean and Toor Dal Soup

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
mung bean toor dal soup

Sometimes a simple legume soup with loads of ginger and warming spices is just what is needed, especially when one is cold and has a tender tummy. The pictures really don't do this soup justice, but a glance at the ingredients ought to portray an idea of the goodness within. It's an easy soup to prepare and is made up with staples most cooks familiar with Indian food will likely have on hand at any given time. The addition of coconut milk adds a pleasant creaminess to the soup that tempers the spices somewhat and fills out the legumes. Earthy whole mung beans and toor dal are a match made in heaven.

Indian Mung Bean and Toor Dal SoupIndian Mung Bean and Toor Dal Soup
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 9, 2014

Simple, warming and creamy Indian mung bean and split pea soup with tomatoes, carrots, coconut milk and spices

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup whole mung beans
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 cups water, or more as needed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 red or green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup toor dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse and soak the mung beans for at least 5 hours in enough water to cover. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and stir for another minute, until fragrant.

  • Add the mung beans, 3 cups of water, the tomatoes, half of the ginger and half of the chilies. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Rinse the toor dal or split peas well and add to the pan along with the remaining ginger and chilies as well as the carrot, coconut milk and another cup of water. Simmer for another 30 minutes or until the toor dal is quite tender, adding more water if necessary or desired.

  • Season with salt and serve hot with fresh cooked white basmati rice.

Makes 4 to 5 servings

mung bean and toor dal soup

Other mung beans dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Indian Sour Mung Bean Soup
Mung Bean Paneer
Mung Bean and Tamarind Dal
Indian Style Spicy Mung Beans (Moong Dal)

On the top of the reading stack: River Cottage Bread Handbook, No.3 - Bread by Daniel Stevens

Audio Accompaniment: Christoph Berg


Gail said...

Hello, Fist of all, I would like to thank you for your fantastic and very inspiring blog ! I've tried a few recipes so far but have a few questions about this one....Why not fry the ginger from the start with the oignon as usual in indian recipes, and why incorporate it in two stages ? Also my split peas were still very crunchy after 40 mn of simmering, maybe I should soak them for a while next time...
Thanks in advance !

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Gail;

Thanks for your comment and kind words.

In regards to your questions, there are many different ways to make Indian food. In this case, I wanted a stronger and fresher ginger flavor, so that is why I added it in stages. You can of course add it with the onion if desired.

As for your split peas, I always find the cooking time depends on how old the beans are. In future, if you try this recipe again, you may want to soak them for a few hours before adding them during the second stage of the soup making.

Hope this helps.

Gail said...

Thank you very much !!!