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This is an Indian hearty dhal (lentil soup) from the state of Gujarat, that was taught to me by mother-in-law. The preparation requires some planning, but the results are excellent. Two notes: 1) the original dish was meant to be 'Saatvic' (a type of Hindu food considered pure), which usually means no onions or garlic, but it is tasty both ways and; 2) the recipe calls for jaggery, which can be bought in a local Indian grocer, but sugar works almost as well.
- 1⁄2 cup washed and picked over mung beans (green)
- 1⁄2 finely diced onion (optional)
- 2 finely minced green chilies (or more)
- 1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 lime, juice of
- 1 lime, quartered (garnish)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon jaggery (or sugar as a substitute)
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Sprout the mung beans: Wash and pick over the dry mung beans until the water runs clear. Add enough water to the pot so that the beans are just covered, and then cover the pot and keep in a warm place (during the summer, a window is good; during the winter, the oven is a good spot). Keep checking the water level every 6 hours, and add water if the beans look dry. The beans should sprout in about 24-48 hours.
- Once the sprouts are about 1/2 cm long, add about 2 cups water to the pot, and pressure cook the dhal until tender (each pressure cooker is different, but on mine, I turn off the cooker 5 mins after it begins whistling). Regardless, you want the dhal to be very soft and tender, but not mushy.
- In a heavy pot, heat up 1 tsp oil, and mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start sputtering, add the coriander powder and green chilies and sauté 1 minute. Now add the onions, and sauté until lightly brown.
- Add the cooked dhal, 1 cup of water, shredded ginger, 3/4 of the cilantro, salt, jaggery/sugar, and juice from lime. Bring to a rolling boil for 2 mins, and then simmer for 7-8 mins on low heat.
- Serve in small 'vatkis' (dhal bowls) with rice and roti (bread). Garnish with cilantro and lime quarters (so that people can add more lime if they wish).
I'm from Gujarat and ever since I got married, I've been trying to make the traditional Gujarati recipes like this staple, like my mom. I've always been dissatisfied with my attempts UNTIL NOW, that is! This is the perfect balance of flavors, and by the way, so very healthy. I use ghee instead of oil and don't worry if you don't have cilantro, it is still delish.You can just boil the sprouted mung for about 7 minutes instead of using a pressure cooker and I don't rinse or discard the water. The reason is mung water is very healthy for you. It is not the sweet and sour in the Western sense, by any means. It is savory and well-balanced Indian spices w/ just the tiniest hint of sweetness. I actually don't like to always add lime. Thanks so much for my mung shaak household recipe!