Indian Style Spicy Mung Beans (Moong Dal)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian Style Spicy Mung Beans (Moong Dal)

Native to India, the small, beautiful gold-green mung bean is one of my favorite beans to cook with. Although Indian cooks most often cook with split mungs, I particularly enjoy cooking with them whole in a dry texture finish so that the plumb and tender legumes stand out by themselves — besides, they take hardly any longer to cook than the split ones, especially if you soak them ahead of time. Serve this simple but incredibly flavorful curry with vegetables, an Indian rice dish such as simple pulao rice or piquant lemon rice and an Indian flatbread for a complete and satisfying meal.

You may also wish to try one of my all time favorite mung bean recipes: mung beans with paneer cheese. It is a flavorful combination of buttery-soft and sweet mung beans, golden-brown fried paneer cheese, tomatoes and spices — a wonderful dish to serve to your dinner guests.

Indian Style Spicy Mung Beans (Moong Dal)Indian Style Spicy Mung Beans (Moong Dal)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 15, 2007

A simple, colorful and spicy Indian curry featuring mung beans

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 cup whole dry mung beans
  • 2 teaspoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 3 to 4 jalapeƱos or green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • Rinse the mung beans under cold running water and place in a bowl. Cover with several inches of cold water and soak for 6 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and stir and fry for a minute or two. Next add the ground spices, stir for about 15 seconds, and then add the onion, ginger and jalapeƱos or green chillies to the pan. Fry until the onion wilts and begins to brown.

  • Add the mung beans and and 1 1/2 cups of water to the pan. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered until the beans are just tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary just to keep the beans covered.

  • Now add the tomato, salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the beans are soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Taste for seasoning, then stir in the parsley near the end of the cooking time. Serve hot with fresh cooked rice or Indian flatbreads.

Makes 4 servings


Wendy said...

I love dhal and am always looking for new ways to prepare it. Thank you!

Holler said...

What a beautiful photo, it instantly tempted me!

Lisa said...

This dish really worked out well! I was especially pleased, as I created the recipe from scratch.

Lisa said...

To clarify, I make virtually every recipe from scratch, but I created this dish without the aid of a recipe.

sunni said...

Hey, I was looking for new mung bean recipes to try. This one's the winner for tonight!

Lisa said...

Glad to be of assistance Sunni. I'll be posting more mung bean recipes in the future.

Katya Permiakova said...

Made it today - loved it! Not over-spicy, which is usually my concern with Indian food, - even though I added twice as much coriander by accident. It went well with quinoa.

Marilyn said...

This came out well. I did add some garlic when I added the ginger and onion, and I decreased the amount of ghee. Very nice recipe, and excellent website. Thanks.

basil said...

Made this tonight with quinoa/oats as the grain and Sauteed Cauliflower & Green Peas from "Lord Krisha's Cuisine" for a veg dish - excellent!

Mia said...

Turned out almost as amazing as my Indian friend makes it. The beans need lots of heat for a long time. So while I religiously cook at about medium, this recipe required medium-high. Yummy!
Thanks for posting!

anthony stemke said...

I just made your pulao rice, which can accompany the moong dal. The rice is great. Thank you. Have to wait to make the moong dal, I'm out of cumin seeds, live out in the sticks,have to go to city. Gonna try the other moong and split moong dish soon. Funny, a local Thai grocery here has both dals, but practically no spices.

Pammy Sami said...

Oh how lovely! I don't know why but i keep avoinding theese little green things, but I love your recipe, so I'll go for it :)

Kelly said...

could you clarify how much ghee to add? it says add 1/4 ghee but no measurement. really excited about this recipe!!!

thank you!

Lisa said...

Hi Kelly;

I have fixed my error. Thanks for pointing it out to me. Sometimes I just type too fast and make a few typos.

Kelly said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks - and HOLY COW was this tasty!! We made in combo with your Pulao Rice recipe, with a little Mango Chutney and baked Acorn Squash w/brown sugar on the side ... still in mung bean heaven!!

Just SO glad I found your blog - have been wanting to find my way into Indian dishes and you're the jackpot!

Five stars and then some for these recipes! The meal is beautiful to look at and inspired the comment "YOU made THIS? You MADE this? Not bought this, YOU MADE THIS??????"

:) Thank you!

Lisa said...

Hi Kelly;

That's great! I am so glad you enjoyed your meal. Thanks for visiting and trying some of my recipes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, I found these beans which was totally unfirmalier to me at our Spar. Googled some recipes and boy was I glad I picked yours!! Tonight is the second time as the kids just love it. Thank you so much.

Lisa said...

I am so delighted you enjoyed this dish. Thanks for letting me know it was a hit with your family.

Rob said...

I accidentally added 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper instead of 1/2 teaspoon. I thought it said 1 - 2. Oops, I hope this won't affect it, I like spicy. I'll let you know how it comes out!!

Lisa said...

Do let me know how it turns out :) I like spicy too and I bet I could handle that much cayenne!

Bob Coulthurst said...

Hi Lisa, great recipe, my 1st with mung beans and my teen kids liked it too. I added a few curry leaves which worked well. It seem to take longer to cook, however I think that was 'cook error' rather than the recipe. Thank you! Bob

Lisa said...

Thanks Bob. Always appreciate it when folks make my recipes and it is one of my favorites for sure.

TerryKelly said...

First time using mung beans and I used this recipe, it was lovely I will definitely be having them again and using this recipe, thanks Lisa.

Dacian Branda said...

like many others on this blog, I also came by these beans by chance and only bought them cos' they were heavily discounted and I thought I'd always fine some recipe on the net.

I picked Lisa's for I had all the ingredients readily available in the house and like most of you I am glad I did.

On a different note, on another occasion I cooked these beans I had some spinach in the fridge which needed used, so I threw it in, added little more water than indicated in the recipe and it turned out Dahl style but it retain the good taste.

I've been cooking this many times since and my wife keeps wondering how can I possibly cook so authentically indian....

Thanks LISA

Dacian Branda said...

Like most people on this blog I also bought these beans out of curiosity and because they were heavily discounted in my local store that day, thinking I'd always find a recipe on Google....

picked Lisa's simply because I had all her recipes ingredients readily available in my kitchen and I've cooked it many time since !

on one such occasion I threw in some spinach, I had in the fridge and needed used, added slightly more water and got a great Dahl style dish only retaining the same great taste...

Great dish LISA !!!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, for the first time I bought some split moong dal but I would like to make this recipe . Do I still need to soak the dal prior to cooking, do you think? ( I've just discovered your site and can't wait to try several of the recipes!)
Thank you!

Lisa Turner said...

Thanks for your comment. If you are using the split version of mung, you won't need to soak them ahead of time.

Houda Benali said...

Thanks Lisa! I made it last night. My husband is already asking for more. I used the pressure cooker. It was ready in 10mn! Easy, quick and very TASTY <3

Sadhna Grover said...

Very nice and tempting Mung dal recipe, this mung dal is my favourite.