Green gram lentil or moong chilka is a very popular lentil made all over India in various forms from dals to pancakes to dhokla. In this recipe, the dal is cooked in a very unique paste made with a whole lot of curry leaves and coriander leaves.
The curry leaves taste is overpowering and yet it adds a rather distinct but beautiful flavour. The first time I tried this, I had a bad feeling that half a cup of curry leaf will make the dal bitter in taste. But the dal did not turn bitter. In fact, I loved the flavour of curry leaf with the dal. The coriander adds a nice green colour to the whole dal. Though a combination of coriander leaf, green chillies, lemon juice and garlic cloves makes it into a coriander chutney, but in this recipe, the addition of curry leaf (1/2 cup – that is about 30-40 leaves) brings out the flavour of the curry leaf distinctly.
This recipe is very easy to make and makes a perfect companion to hot steamed rice.
1. Green gram lentil (Moong Chilka) – 1 cup
2. Water – 3 cups + more if needed
3. Coriander Leaves (Dhania patta) – 1 cup
4. Curry Leaves (Kadhi patta) – 1/2 cup
5. Garlic cloves – 2
6. Green Chillies – 2-3, finely chopped
7. Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
8. Cumin seeds (Jeera)
9. Asafoetida (Hing) – 1 tsp
10. Turmeric Powder (Haldi) – 1/2 tsp
11. Cumin Powder (Jeera powder) – 1 tsp
12. Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
13. Clarified Butter/ Butter – 2 tbsp
14. Oil – 1 tsp
Wash the dal in water several times until it comes out clean.
Then soak the dal in 2 cups of water for at least an hour. After an hour you will find that the dal will have doubled in quantity.
Now add the dal to the pressure cooker and add another cup of water. Also add turmeric powder (haldi), salt to taste and 1 tsp of oil. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and put it on high heat. Give 3-4 whistles and then turn off the heat. Allow the steam in the pressure cooker to settle then open the lid.
Meanwhile, while the dal is cooking, in a mixer and grinder, add the coriander leaves, curry leaves, garlic cloves, lemon juice and green chillies. Add about 2-3 tbsp of water and grind the leaves into a semi-smooth mixture.
Open the lid of the pressure cooker and using a hand blender, blend the dal well. There will still be some bits of the dal covering which will not get completely pureed, but puree as much as you can. Add a little water if after purring you find the dal has become thick.
Now heat the clarified butter or butter in a saucepan.
To the hot ghee, add the asafoetida (hing) and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Now mix in the coriander-curry leaf paste to the saucepan.
Also add the cumin powder (jeera powder) and mix well. Fry the mixture for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously otherwise the paste will start to stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
Next add in the dal and mix well.
Bring the dal to a good boil and then simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes. Stir often in between to prevent the dal from sticking at the bottom.
Serve with boiled rice or paratha.