Creamy Mung Dal with Chopped Spinach
Moong, North India’s most popular dal, was a great favourite of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. It is easy to digest and has a good flavor and high vitamin content. The spinach, preferably fresh, enhances the texture and marbled color of this power-packed dal soup, and the fried spices poured in at the end of the cooking add lashings of flavor.
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 ¼ hours or 25 minutes in a pressure cooker
• Split moong dal, without skins – 2/3 cup (145 g)
• Fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, patted dry an coarsely chopped, or ½ of a 10-ounce package of chopped frozen spinach, defrosted (140 g) – 8 ounces (230 g)
• Water – 6 ½ cups (1.5 liters) (5 ½ cups/1.3 liters if pressure-cooked)
• Turmeric – 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
• Ground coriander – ½ table spoon (7 ml)
• Scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root – ½ table spoon (7 ml)
• Ghee or vegetable oil – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
• Salt – 1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml)
• Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
• Yellow asafetida powder (hing)* – ¼ – ½ teaspoons (1-2 ml)
• Lemon juice – ½ table spoon (7 ml)
This amount applies only to yellow Cobra brand. Reduce any other asafetida by three-fourths.
1. Sort, wash and drain the split mung beans as explained on page 21. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost it at room temperature, place it in a strainer and press out all excess water.
2. Place the mung beans, water, turmeric, coriander, ginger root and a dab of ghee or oil in a heavy 3-quart/liter nonstick saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently boil for 1 hour or until the dal is soft and fully cooked. For pressure cooking, combine the ingredients in a 6-quart/liter pressure cooker, cover and cook for 25 minutes under pressure. Remove from the heat and let the pressure drop by itself.
3. Off the heat, uncover and add the salt. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until the dal soup is creamy smooth. Add the fresh spinach, cover and boil gently for 5-8 minutes more; or cook frozen spinach for 2-3 minutes.
4. Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderate to moderately high heat. When it is hot, pour in the cumin seeds and fry until they are brown. Add the asafetida and cayenne or paprika and fry for just 1-2 seconds more. Then quickly pour the fried seasonings into the soup. Cover immediately. Let the seasonings soak into the hot dal for 1- 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir and serve.
5 or 6
5 or 6
By Yamuna Devi Dasi