This warm, comforting and hearty (mung beans) green moong dal recipe is like a hug in a bowl! A great source of protein and healthy gut fibre, this healthy vegan, GF curry will keep you going for hours!
For us vegetarians and vegans, adequate intake of protein and iron rich foods is most often the concern. Lentils, legumes and beans play a big role in providing us the daily dose of protein and other nutrients.
I cannot imagine my pantry without these beans - they are my favorite! Versatile, sweet tasting, easy to cook and nutritious - these pretty green little things have my heart! 😊
What is your favorite bean/ legume/ pulse that you always have a stock of in your pantry? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you - Padma
Ingredients for Green Moong Dal Recipe
This recipe calls for minimal spices that enhance the inherent sweetness of mung beans.
Check recipe card for quantities.
- Tomatoes: I have used canned chopped tomatoes here. Feel free to use fresh tomatoes. If using the fresh ones, chop them into small pieces - seeds, skin and all.
- Kasuri Menthi: These are shade-dried, tender fenugreek leaves. It adds a lovely aroma to the dish. Kasuri menthi is available in most Indian grocers. You can fresh cilantro instead.
- Green chilli peppers: use as mild or as hot as you can handle. It is absolutely ok to skip adding them.
- Aromatics: The pantry staples and holy trinity in the world of curries and dals - onions ginger garlic.
- Oil or Ghee: I have used oil. To amp up the flavor and fragrance, make this recipe in ghee.
Now that we have all the ingredients, let us make this amazing mung dahl recipe, shall we?
As always, check recipe card (and video) for detailed instructions.
- Begin by soaking the green moong in 3 cups of water (about 1 inch above the beans) for 4-5 hours. Forgotten to do soak the beans? no worries! just see my notes above on how to cook mung beans if you have not soaked them before hand.
2. Drain the water that they have been soaking in, add 2 cups of fresh water, salt and cook them in pressure cooker. Let the cooker cool down and the pressure release on its own (this will cook the beans some more and that is fine). Keep aside.
Cooking in pressure cooker saves time and fuel. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook the beans in a large pot with plenty of water until soft.
3. Now the gravy: heat some oil a saucepan on medium high heat. Add cumin seeds. When they start browning, add finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chilli peppers. Fry for a minute and then add the chopped onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
4. When the onions start turning brown, add the tomatoes, some more salt (not a lot as the beans have salt in them), turmeric, ground coriander and garam masala powder. Mix. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked soft.
5. Add 2 cups of hot water, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.
6. Add kasuri menthi (or fresh cilantro), cook for 1 minute more.
7. Drizzle some ghee (optional) and serve. (see serving suggestions)
Tips for making the most amazing mung dahl
- Cook the mung beans soft, but not mushy. This gives the curry a lovely texture.
- The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. Moong beans have a sweet tone to them. Using simple and few spices will bring out their best flavor.
- The subtle flavors of finely chopped onions, garlic and ginger work much better in this recipe than grinding them to a paste, as most curries require you to do.
- Try not to skip adding kasuri methi. This add such a wonderful depth to the dish!
- You can use split green lentils (chilka moong) instead of the beans.
- For that extra creaminess, add coconut milk when adding the tomatoes.
- Other beans that will work well instead of mung beans are black eyed beans and butter beans (they will require different cooking times, though)
I love this green moong dal recipe because it can be a meal by itself and be a side dish with a main meal.
- Serve it on a bed of mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes with this simple carrots and chia seeds salad for a filling grain free, vegan meal 💚
- Pair it up with this vegetable pulao and green chutney to make the most satisfying gluten free lunch 😋
- With gluten free naan, jeera rice, onion salad and cucumber raita for that food-coma-inducing holiday lunch 😂
What is Green Moong Dal?
Green moong is a type of pulse. They are native to India and are a rich source of protein and other nutrients.
Heard of bean sprouts? - the ones that are used in stir fry's, chowmein and salads? Well, those are the plant part of the green moong also known as mung bean sprouts.
The many names of this pulse
Mung beans / Green mung beans
Green moong dal / green moong beans
Whole green mung / whole green moong
Sabut moong (in Hindi)
Confusing, right?! Well, now you have it here for reference 🙂
There are two variations of this bean: 1) split mung beans / split green moong are with the skin and split (of course!) in half. They are known as chilka moong dal in Hindi (chilka = skin).
2) Yellow lentils or simply moong dal are the split lentils with their skin removed. Restaurant classics such as tadka dal are made with yellow lentils.
How to cook mung beans?
Most beans and legumes require to be soaked overnight (or at least for 8 hours) and then boiled really well for that smooth, melt-in-the-mouth creaminess. Beans and legumes that are not soaked long enough can cause tummy problems and flatulence.
You could, of course, use the canned version of beans to save you the trouble and the time! I have, however, not seen mung beans in cans.
Have you come across canned mung beans? If you have, then do let me know in the comments.
The good thing about mung beans is that these beans do not need to soak for too long (here again, they score brownie points!😍).
Here are 3 ways to cook them:
- (Most recommended) Soak them in water for 4-5 hours and then cook either in a pressure cooker or boil them in a saucepan/rice pot with plenty of water till they are cooked through, but not mushy. Add salt while cooking. This ensures that the beans are evenly salted.
- If you have forgotten to soak the beans ahead, do not worry! Soak them in hot water for 1 hour (with lid on) and the cook them as mentioned above.
- (Least recommended) You can cook these green gram without soaking them before hand. This is how you can cook them:
- bring water to boil (the quantity of water should be 3 times that of mung beans).
- add the beans and salt. Bring the water to boil again.
- reduce heat, cover and cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes or till the beans are soft (stir and check on them a couple of times). You can cook them in a pressure cooker or an instant pot to make this process faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can! Although it is recommended, for gut health reasons, that you soak them for 4-5 hours before cooking, green moong / mung beans can be cooked in pressure cooked without soaking.
Green gram should be soaked for 4-5 hours at least (better still, overnight) to not have gut issues such as indigestion and flatulence.
See section above on how to cook green gram without soaking.
I hope that you enjoy making this green moong dal recipe as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. If you have made it, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Green Moong Dal Recipe
- 1 pressure cooker or rice pot
- 1 saucepan
- 1 ladle
- 1 cup green moong dal (mung beans) (200 grams, approximately)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
For the gravy
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 inch fresh ginger (15 grams, approximately)
- 3 cloves garlic (10 grams, approximately)
- 2 green chillies
- 2 small onions
- 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes or 2 medium sized tomatoes (250 grams, approximately)
- ½ teaspoon salt ( check taste and add only if required)
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- 4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 cups hot water
To finish off
- 2 teaspoons kasuri menthi (dried fenugreek leaves) (or fresh cilantro)
- 1 teaspoon ghee (optional)
Prep the Moong dal
- Wash and soak the beans in 3 cups of water (about 1 inch above the beans) for 4-5 hours. Forgotten to do soak the beans? no worries! just see my notes above on how to cook mung beans without soaking..
- After they have soaked, drain the water that they have been soaking in, add 2 cups of water, salt and cook them in pressure cooker for 3 "whistles". Keep aside. The beans should be cooked soft but not mushy. You can cook them in a rice pot or instant pot.1 cup green moong dal (mung beans), 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water
Prep for the gravy
- Chop finely: onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies and tomatoes (if using fresh ones)
- Boil: 2 cups of water and keep aside.
Making green moong dal recipe
- Place a saucepan on medium high, add oil to it. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Wait for the cumin to start turning dark brown. Now add the chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies. Fry for 1 minute. Now add in the onions. 2-3 minutes, until the onions start browning.2 tablespoons neutral oil, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 2 small onions, 1 inch fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 2 green chillies
- Now add the tomatoes, salt (remember that you have added salt to the beans and so here it is only for the gravy), turmeric, ground coriander and garam masala. Stir, turn down the heat to medium and let it cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes are mushy (use the back of the ladle to help mush the tomatoes)1 cup canned chopped tomatoes or 2 medium sized tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon turmeric, 4 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Add the cooked green moong and 2 cups of hot water. Bring to boil, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.2 cups hot water
To finish off
- Crush kasuri menthi between your palms (will help release aroma) and add it to the cooking dal. Cover again and cook for 1 minute.You can use fresh coriander instead of kasuri menthi.2 teaspoons kasuri menthi (dried fenugreek leaves), 1 teaspoon ghee
- Turn off the heat and add ghee.Adding ghee is totally optional.