Meera Sodha’s Moong Dal

Meera Sodha's delicious moong dal recipe is a classic Indian comfort food dish that's easy to make, with warm, earthy flavours and budget-friendly ingredients.

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This is an unassuming but gorgeous dal and one of my favourite lentil dishes of all time. A gentle and soothing marriage of soft lentils and earthy cumin and chillies, tempered by butter, it’s old-fashioned home cooking at its best: nourishing, cheap to make and comforting.

Serves 4 as part of a main course


300g moong dal
4 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
1½ tsp cumin seeds
3 banana shallots, finely sliced
2 green finger chillies, very thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1½ tsp salt (or to taste)


Wash the dal until the water runs clear, then drain, place in a deep saucepan and cover with 1½ litres of water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, put the ghee or butter into a frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the cumin seeds and shallots. Cook for around 5 minutes, then add the green chillies and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the shallots start to brown, then add the turmeric and garam masala.

Tip into the dal and stir, then add the salt. You might need to add a little extra hot water to make the dal a bit thinner. Check the seasoning, and serve with plain basmati rice or naan bread, together with some pickle and yoghurt.

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