The instruction for a 1-inch piece of tamarind is based on the cake form of the dried pulp sold in every Indian and Asian grocery here in North America. Likewise the brown mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida called for in this recipe are always easily found at Indian stores.
Mung tamarind dalI'm sending this along to Mansi for her Healthy Cooking event because legumes are not only good for you, they are also a wise choice if you are looking to shed a few pounds.
1 cup dried whole mung beans
1-inch piece of tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 dried hot red chillies
6 curry leaves, fresh or dried
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
4 red cayenne peppers
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
Rinse the mung beans and soak overnight covered with 3 1/2 cups cold water in a medium saucepan with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft and broken up. Set aside.
Meanwhile soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of the tamarind pulp. Discard the pulp and set aside the liquid.
Heat the oil of ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to splutter, usually a few seconds, quickly add the tamarind liquid and stir in the red cayenne peppers and turmeric. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the raw smell of the tamarind fades, about 15 minutes.
Pour in the undrained mung beans and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes while the flavours mingle. Stir in the salt and taste for seasoning.
Serve hot garnished with the finely chopped coriander in warm bowls alongside plates of hot rice. Serves 4.