I think when we fall in love and are smitten we want to keep proclaiming our undying love for the object of our affection time and again and there is nothing that can stop us from doing it. That is why I keep going on and on about Bengali food. I have been in love with it for as long as I remember. And like a lover longing for the sweet embrace on an exhausting day, I crave for Bengali food to give me that love and comfort.
This “Bhaja Moong Dal” (Roasted Moong Dal) is that warm cuddle for me. It is not loud or has too many spices nor does it look great but we all know that looks do not matter when one is smitten. And smitten I am with this very comforting and velvety dal.
The beauty of this dal is its simplicity and subtle flavors , and it smells perfectly divine. Everytime I make his dal I feel like I am a little girl passing my Bengali neighbors home on my way back from school and inhaling all the amazing aromas wafting out of their kitchen.
Another thing about this dal is one must always use Ghee, no compromising with that as somehow the Ghee elevates the taste to greater glory. I also love to fry some Fish with Salt and Turmeric and serve it with the dal. So delicious and so good for the soul.
Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4 big portions)
For the Dal:
1 1/2 cup yellow Moong Dal.
3 ½ cups Water
1 tsp Tumeric powder
Salt to taste
2 Green chillies slit
For the Tempering:
1 small Onion finely chopped
2 green chillies slit
3 Bay Leaves
2 Tsp Ghee (no compromise)
1 tsp freshly grated Ginger (do not use store brought Ginger paste)
½ tsp Tumeric Powder
Salt (only if you need to add a little more)
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
2 tsp Paanch Phoran (A Bengali 5 spice mix) OR 1 tsp Cumin seeds if you don’t have Paanch Phoran
Roast the dal on a low flame till the dal starts to brown and you start getting a nutty aroma which is so significant for this dal. Once the dal is roasted wash the dal under running water. Cook the dal with Salt, Turmeric and Ginger in 3 ½ cup water. I used a pressure cooker and cooked for 3 whistles. Open the pressure cooker after the pressure is released. If you are cooking in a pan, you will have to remove the scum with a spoon from time to time and use a little extra water instead of 3 ½ cups.
For the tempering heat Ghee in a small Pan and add the Green chillies, Bay Leaves and Panch Phoran/Cumin seeds. Typically only Cumin seeds are used for the dal, I use Panch Phoran because I love the aroma.
Once the seeds have started to splutter, and you can smell the wonderful aromas add the chopped Onion and cook till translucent.
Add the Coriander, Cumin and Turmeric powder and sauté for 2 -3 minutes. Add some more salt if needed.
Turn off the heat and pour the dal on top of the tempering, mixing everything well. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. Serve on a bed of hot rice with some Pickle or fried Fish on the side.
Update : A very sweet reader of my blog “Ishita Chaudhari” sent me a mail with her authentic Bengali version of the recipe and I have tried and updated my recipe as per her notes. Ishita also told me that they serve the dal with some roasted/fried pieces of coconut which makes it really tasty too. Thanks Ishita for taking the time to help me out