Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mung Dhal (Lentil) Curry

 Mung Dhal (Lentils) comes from the mung bean.  It is also called green gram in parts of Asia.  The variety I used here is the hulled or skinned green gram which is a shade of light yellow.   This is one of my favorite lentil dishes and I could not wait for mother to show me her recipe.  The trick to giving her mung dhal curry a great flavor is she roasts the lentils first then cooks them.  This gives a really wonderful taste and aroma.  We made this dish a bit spicier by adding some red chili powder and whole red chilies during the cooking process. I can eat this lentils with rice alone, but my mother loves to eat it with the Deviled Onion Sambal .  Anyway you eat this lentil curry, it's delicious! 

1 cup yellow mung dhal (lentils)  This is available at all Indian Stores.
2 cups of water (or more as needed)
1 medium onion chopped (divided into two parts)
1 (1 inch) piece of cinnamon stick (divided)
1-2 green chilies sliced
15-20 curry leaves (divided into two parts)
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
red chili powder to taste
salt to taste
1 cup of milk
2-3 whole red dried chili pods
red chili flakes to taste 

Take the dry mung lentils and roast it in a clean pan for 8-10 minutes on medium heat. Stir continuously.  The lentils will start to turn brown and become very fragrant.  Carefully take it over to the sink and add cold water.  Stir lentils and drain and rinse again about 3-4 times.   You may need to stir with a spoon until the lentils cool down. The final rinse (when the lentils are cool) make sure you use your hands to clean the lentils well.  When the water runs clear from rinsing the lentils they are ready to cook. 
Place 2 cups of water into the pan of cleaned lentils then add half of the curry leaves and onion, turmeric, half the cinnamon stick, red chili powder and all the green chilies.  Place on high heat and turn down to medium when it starts to boil.  Cook with a lid on the pot until the water is all absorbed and the lentils are tender and can  be smashed between your fingers.  Add more water if you need to get the correct texture to the lentil.   ***Do not add salt when boiling lentils***
Once the lentils are cooked, heat 1Tbs of oil in another pan and add the remaining onions, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, broken chili pods and chili flakes. Saute on medium heat until the onions start to brown.  Then add the cooked lentils into the pan and add milk and salt to taste.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes and serve with rice. Enjoy.

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