Friday, 27 April 2012

Delicious mung bean dhal

This cold, wet and windy weather we are having is making me want to hibernate! While this week we saw our first asparagus of the year in our veg box (hooray) and fewer of the winter roots we have been having so much of (double hooray), it is still warming comfort food that I am seeking. So along with my yummy asparagus for lunch, it is warming food I plan for dinner and this mung bean dhal is the ultimate!

Mung beans are such a great bean to have in the larder for emergency dinners as they require no pre-soaking and cook really quickly. They are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins C and B, have a lovely subtle sweet flavour. They are also very inexpensive and are probably the easiest bean to digest; there is a lot going for this little bean!

When I make this for the girls, I leave out the chili as they are not very appreciative of spicy food, but I think it's nice with spice :)

Mung bean dhal (serves 4-6)                                       

2 cups of mung beans (soaked if you like)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1-2 green chillies
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Large handful of curry leaves (fresh or dried)
Juice of half a lemon
Sea salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee

Place the mung beans in a medium pan and cover with water, so the water is about 3cm above the top of the beans. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, cook until just starting to break apart (about 40 mins).While they are cooking you can make the other part of the dhal.
Blitz the onion, garlic, ginger and chili to a paste in a food processor or mini chopper (or pestal and mortar if you are feeling strong), keep to one side.
Add the oil to a large pan and set on a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and turmeric and cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds start to go 'pop'! Then tip in the onion and garlic paste and sweat for a further three or four minutes. Lastly add the turmeric, followed by the curry leaves and tomatoes. Saute this mixture for a further 5 mins, stirring from time to time to prevent from sticking.
Pour the mung beans and their water into the pan with the onion paste, tomatoes and spices and simmer this for 10 mins until well mixed and thickened.
Finish with the lemon juice and sea salt to taste; this is great served up with wholemeal flat breads for dunking.

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