Bengali moong dal with vegetables
One of the things that makes a cold day comforting is a bowl of piping hot dal, steamed rice and a small dollop of ghee. This combination does not need anything else to complete the meal, though often people add sides like fried potatoes, spicy pickle or fried papadum. There are many dal recipes accounted for many years in every part of India and you can never pick just one favorite.
Bhaja Moong Dal is a Bengali recipe, a dal rich in flavors and nutrients but at the same time not overwhelming. It has a nice toasty and kind of a smoky taste that comes from dry roasting the lentils before rinsing and cooking it.
I have just finished a good walk and it is quite a cold day , i am certain my family will love my take on this warm dish! Today I am cooking it with some fresh vegetables and simple seasonings.
1 Cup -Moong dal (split gram)
2 tbs – vegetable or canola oil ( mustard oil used traditionally )
1 -whole dried red chili
1 – green whole cardamom
1- cinnamon stick
1- bay leaf
1 – whole clove
1/2 tsp – cumin seeds
1 to 2 – green chilly slit
1 – medium carrot washed peeled and chopped ( not to big not to small pieces )
1/2 Head -cauliflower washed and cut in to small florets .
1/2 cup – Frozen peas
1/2 tsp – sugar
1/4 tsp – turmeric
1/4 tsp – garam masala (optional)
1 tsp – ghee
Salt to taste
Take a wok or a pan and dry-roast the dal, on a medium flame stirring continuously, until it changes color from yellow to a pinkish brown. it is important to keep stirring the dal so that it gets toasted evenly. Pay careful attention to the dal once it has taken on a light, brown color, as at this stage dal could to burn easily.
Once roasted transfer the dal to a pot immediately. Wash and rinse the dal well.
Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the washed dal. Boil it on medium heat for about 18 to 20 minutes. While we want the dal to be tender and cooked, we still want the grains to hold shape and not be very mushy. So, check it often to make sure dal does not lose its texture.
Chop the cauliflower into small florets, the carrot into small cubes, slit the chillies, keep 1/2 cup peas ready no need to rinse and roughly chop the tomatoes.
Heat up a wok on medium flame and add oil. Once oil is hot temper it with the dried red chilli, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and cumin seeds.
Add the cauliflower and carrots, stir-frying them for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, fry them for 30 seconds and add the peas. Again fry for 30 seconds, pour in the roasted, boiled dal with its water.
Stir in the salt, sugar and turmeric.
Allow the dal to simmer for about 8 minutes on low heat. If you feel the dal is drying out add 1/2 cup of water. Add the slit green chili, garam masala powder (optional). Add ghee and cover the pan for 2 minutes before serving so that all the flavors blend in. Serve with hot rice and enjoy!