Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mung Dhal with Spinach....a delicious family dish.

This is one of my all time favorites in the family recipes.There are quite a few different versions of the same curry but this is my grandma's special which I learned from my mother.If I'm not wrong,all my mother's sisters(she has 5)prepare it this way and I love to have it with a few of my favorites like the sweet,sour and spicy tofu and Indian fried fish.Last week,I introduced that combo to my son and husband and much to my surprise,they enjoyed it very much.My son really wasn't the shocker as I've trained him from a young age to enjoy whats on his plate (sometimes with difficulties,might I add) but my husband who in his whole life,has not had fish actually loved the fried fish I made to go with the dhal.A very rewarding surprise.So on this post,I will be sharing with you the dhal recipe but keep an eye out for my posting of the great side dishes.Its a very Southern Indian meal.

 Mung Dhal 
Mung Dhal with Spinach

You'll need:

2 cups Mung Dhal (Soaked in water during prep)
8-10 cloves Garlic (whole)
2 inches Ginger (cut into slices)
2 tbsp Tumeric powder
1/2 tbsp Chili powder(optional if you like some spice)
1 tsp Asafoetida (also known as Hing..Optional)
3 cups Spinach (try using whole spinach.if too big,you can chop them)
2 tbsp Coconut milk(thick) or cream
Salt to taste

2 tbsp Ghee(Indian clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp Black mustard seeds 
6-7 Curry leaves(if available)
3-4 Dried chilis
1/2 Onion or 5 shallots (cut into thin slices)


Initial boiling with whole garlic and ginger
 In a 5-Qt pot, add 4 cups of water and add mung dhal,garlic and ginger.Bring to a simmer and add tumeric,chili powder and asafoetida(if used).Let it come to a rolling boil and turn the stove down to  medium heat. Cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until mung dhal is soft.Add water as needed as it can evaporate fast.Stir occasionally.Once the dhal is soft,add water filling about half your pot.Add in the spinach and stir.Cover and let it cook till the leaves are softened.This will take about 10 minutes. Add in the coconut milk and let it come to a boil before adding salt to taste.Turn off heat and set aside the pot.

 In a small skillet,heat ghee or oil and add mustard seeds,curry leaves and dried chilis and fry till fragrant.Once the mustard seeds start popping,add the onion slices or shallots and fry till light brown.Pour in the fried ingredients into the pot of dhal and stir to mix.Immediately,close the pot with a lid to infuse flavors. Serve with rice or chapati.

As we call it 'Pachaiperru dhal' all ready to be served
It's as simple as that.I know of a friend who loves to have it like soup and you could to but I've just been used to having this with rice so thats my recommendation.Asafoetida is traditionally added to dhal dishes to help with digestion.Any dhal can be a cause of stomach discomfort with gassiness so asafoetida is a herb that helps with that.So,if you can find it(Indian stores usually carry it),do use it even if you are making a simple lentil soup.It does not influence the flavor as much. It does have a strong smell when raw but when cooked,you won't smell it.The powdered form usually has a very mild smell to it so if you find it,that would be the best option for asafoetida as suppose to the whole form that you'll have to grate.

Well,have a great time trying it.Its super delicious and as you can tell from the ingredients,very nutritious.

With love for food and you,


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