Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar
Serves 4-6 as part of an Indian meal
A lot of green leafy vegetables are combined with a pulse in Maharashtrian cuisine to make it not only more nourishing but also more delicious. This combination makes it a very affordable dish, easy to make, satiating and energy providing when eaten with jowar bhakri as is done in most villages in Maharashtra. It keeps you full for a long time because of the low glycemic index, especially if made with minimal oil.
Many people don’t like the strong flavor of dill leaves. The moong dal in this recipe helps to tone it down, and also, the combination of dill and garlic is very popular in many cultures especially in the Middle East and Asia. Even so, it is a cultivated taste if you aren’t used to eating it from childhood. Most children in villages in India eat it happily.
Dill leaves are rich in a variety of nutrients including Vitamin A, C, D, riboflavin, manganese, folate, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc and dietary fibres. These nutrients and antioxidants, not only protect the cells against free radical damage but also promote healthy vision, augment skin, boost immune functions, treat digestive anomalies, remedy sleep problems, fortify bone health, relieve respiratory infections, regulate hormonal balance, and enhance reproductive health.
Moong dal is packed with protein and is an integral part of the Indian diet. It is rich in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and protects against muscle cramping. It also contains minerals like magnesium, iron, and copper and dietary fiber. When eaten, moong dal helps produce a fatty acid called butyrate in the gut. This helps maintain the health of the intestinal walls. The dal has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent and accumulation of gas. Rich in B-complex vitamins, moong dal helps your body break carbohydrates down to glucose, and produce usable energy for your body. It cooks fast and is light and easy to digest. So all in all, it’s a great ingredient to include in your diet more often than not.
- 1 bunch shepu (dill leaves)
- ¼ cup moong dal
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- ½ tsp cumin
- 8-10 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
- 2-3 green chillies, chopped finely
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 tbsp coconut or groundnut oil, preferably cold pressed
- A handful of fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
- Salt to taste
Wash, rinse and drain the moong dal. Soak it in clean water for half an hour. Clean, wash and chop the dill leaves finely. Keep aside ready for use. Heat the oil in a kadhai (Indian wok) preferably a heavy bottom steel one. Add the cumin and when it splutters add the chopped onion. Add salt to taste and sauté the onions till they are soft and translucent and begin to brown. Add the garlic and green chillies. Sauté for a half a minute or so till the garlic releases its flavor. Add the turmeric powder and sauté for a few more seconds till it releases its flavor too. Rinse and drain the soaked moong dal. Add it to the onion mixture. Sauté for a few seconds till all the moong dal is coated well with the onion mixture and the moong dal turns dark yellow with the turmeric. Add the chopped dill leaves and 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and cook covered on low heat for 5-10 minutes till the moong dal is cooked. Add the chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Turn off the heat and transfer it to a serving dish. Serve hot with rotis or jowar bhakris.
For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:
Use rock salt instead of refined salt.
Use moong dal with the green skin on.
Do not use any oil. Add a little salt to the chopped onion and keep it aside in a thick bottom steel kadhai (Indian wok) for 15 minutes for it to release moisture. Turn on the heat and sauté it. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if necessary till the onion is cooked and soft and then continue to sauté it till it is lightly golden brown. Alternately, put the chopped onions in a pressure cooker, add ½ a cup of water and pressure cook for one whistle. Once the pressure cooker is cooled, open it and sauté the onion till all the water has evaporated and the onion starts becoming slightly brown. Add the soaked and drained moong dal, chopped dill leaves, and green chillies to the sautéed onion.
Heat an iron tempering ladle. Add the cumin and sauté till it splutters. This happens fairly fast so take care not to let it burn. Transfer this to the dill and moong mixture. Add a drop of oil to the ladle to coat the surface. Add the garlic and sauté it. The oil will prevent it from sticking to the ladle. Once slightly brown, transfer it to the dill and moong dal mixture. Add the turmeric powder to the ladle, sauté it and add it to the dill and moong mixture. Mix everything well and cook covered till the moong dal is cooked. Add a little water if required to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Check for salt. Remember you have added salt to the onion so you may not need to add any more. Once cooked, add the chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Serve warm with rotis or bhakris as part of an Indian meal.