Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka

During our recent Indian adventure we ate all sorts of dahl. Often by the bucket load. 

We found it the perfect meal to keep us going while travelling. Not only is it seriously delicious, but compared to a lot of Indian dishes it's pretty light, easy to digest and contains a little hit of protein. This is all true, except if you order a Dahl Makani, which is made with large amounts of butter & cream ... not what anyone needs in 50 degree heat!  

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka (Moong Dal)

Since we've been back, we've been cooking a lot of Indian food. But we've particularly loved experimenting with different types of dahl...this Mung Bean version being one of our favourites. Cherished in ayurvedic cooking, Mung Beans are packed with potassium, magnesium, fibres & vitamin B6. 

The thing that makes the biggest difference to a dahl is the tarka (tadka). For those who don't know, tarka is the tempering of ingredients such as whole or ground spices, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger etc in ghee or oil.This creates an extra fusion of flavour which is added to the dahl at the end of the cooking process. We've found that the tarka is essential for giving your dahl maximum flavour! 

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka (Moong Dal)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Mung Bean Dahl:

250g Mung Beans (soaked overnight, drained & rinsed)
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, chopped roughly. 
1 large chopped tomato
1 chopped onion (white or red)
1 1/2 dried red chillies (we leave the seeds for extra spice!)
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric. (If using dried powder, use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 stick of cinnamon
roughly 700ml of water
salt & pepper to season. 

For the Tarka:
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds`
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 sliced onion
2 tablespoons of coconut oil 

1. First off, soak your mung beans in water overnight (or at least 8 hours).
2.Rinse and drain the beans and then add to a large pan. 
3. Add the rest of the ingredients for the dahl into your pan with the beans.  
4. Cover all the ingredients by adding roughly 700ml water.
5. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 1 - 1.5 hours until creamy in texture. If needed, add a small amount of water while cooking in order to maintain a loose consistency. Turn off the heat while you make your tarka... 

  freshly grated turmeric

  freshly grated turmeric

Fennel Seed Tarka
1.Heat the coconut oil in a heavy based pan and add the fennel & mustard seeds. Stir fry for 30 seconds. 
2.Add a finely sliced onion and fry slowly until golden. 
3.Gently stir the tarka into your dahl and that's it! 

We love to eat ours with homemade spelt chapatis or brown rice! 

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka (Moong Dal)

What's your favourite Indian dish?