This is one of my favorite easy comforting meals to make year round, but it is especially nice for the start of the year after all of the holiday indulgences we've partaken of. This simple dal is great way to recharge, nourish and restore your diet and health. Make a big batch for weekly meal planning. It's ready in under an hour for easy week night preparation too!
Nourishing Mung Dal
makes about 3 quarts
for Spice Blend
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
for Mung Dal
2 tablespoons oil, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped, 2 cups
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped, 1 cup
1/2 sweet red pepper, finely chopped, 1/2 cup
4 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 bay leaves
Spice Blend from above
chili pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 cups dried split yellow mung dal, rinsed
10-12 cups water
cooked basmati rice
fresh cilantro or scallions
Optional: soak rinsed mung dal for 1 hour in cold water before cooking.
Heat a enameled cast iron dutch oven on medium-high heat and dry toast whole spices for 1-2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly to keep them from burning. Remove spices from pot and grind them up with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Return pot to medium high heat and sauté onion, carrot and red pepper until slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.. Stir in minced garlic. Add grated ginger, turmeric, bay leaves, spice blend, chili, salt and stir everything together. Then add chopped tomatoes, rinsed and drained dal and 10 cups of water. Bring pot to a boil, stir and reduce heat to a rolling simmer. Cover with lid slightly cracked to allow steam to release. Cook until dal is tender, about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it gets too thick, the consistency should be soupy. Lower heat to its lowest setting.
Remove bay leaves. Ladle half of dal into a blender and purée until smooth. Add puréed dal back to pot and heat back up in necessary. Taste for salt and adjust to your taste. Remove from heat.
Serve over basmati rice and top with coconut milk, fresh cilantro leaves and/or chopped scallions, avocado and lime wedges.
Halve the recipe to make a smaller amount if wanted. Store leftovers in sealed containers in the fridge for up to several days. Reheat to serve. Or freeze for up to 6 months, thaw and reheat to serve.
Recipe, styling and photography by chef Kaity Farrell of Fare Isle.