The other week, I flicked through a number of my recipe books, searching for new inspiration and new things to cook. You see, I’ve been trying to reign in my purchasing of new books to try and save pennies! Anyway, I stumbled across this truly wonderful Mung Dahl recipe (link at the bottom of this post!) in ‘The Art of Eating Well‘, by the beautiful Hemsley sisters, which went down a treat.
This variety of dahl is made using mung (or moong) beans which are most commonly grown in India, China and Southeast Asia, although they are cultivated in South America as well. These legumes are generally larger than red or green lentils and are more spherical in shape, looking like little moons! They can be eaten in many forms, including sprouted (used in stirfries or salads), split, with their skins off or whole, and are used in both savoury and sweet cooking. I was able to find the whole mung bean in Sainsburys, in 500g bags.
Just like our good friend the lentil, mung beans are a great source of protein, fibre, vitamin B and nutrients (including calcium and potassium), and when combined with other beauties such as fresh carrots and kale, really help the dish to pack a soothing nutritional punch. In fact, booth Indian and Chinese medicine consider both mung beans and associated dahl recipes as ‘pacifying’ to the mind due to the cooling and anti-inflammatory properties of the beans. This is why Hemsley +Hemsley recommend this recipe for times when we might not have looked after our bodies as well as we should have, in terms of the food and drink that we’ve been consuming. It’s often recommended within India to eat a solely mung dahl diet for a week (including for breakie, lunch and dinner) to help ‘cleanse’ and rejuvenate the body.
So in terms of the recipe itself, I was sceptical at first as to how tasty the dish would be and whether or not we’d want some chicken to go with it. My worries were not worthwhile! They’ve really done they’re research as to the quantities of spices and broth to use (I used vegstock in mine) to ensure that its not a liquid’y tasteless bean soup. Nope, it’s as far from that as we are to the moon, I promise! I couldn’t believe the depth of flavour and variety of textures in this dahl. It’s not like a dahl made from split lentils where it takes the form more akin to mashed potato; instead, this one definitely holds its texture and has a lovely crunch with the carrots and onions.
Any downsides? I think probably the cooking time, but that’s just the nature of cooking legumes from dried. The recipe takes approximately 40 minutes, which to be honest isn’t that bad.. it’s just not sub-30! It’s a very versatile dish in that if you don’t have certain spices, you can mix it up using fennel, saffron, ginger, cardamon etc. And with the veg, well… use up those veggies in your fridge! I added a good helping of Kale, Spinach and Carrots – if I had celery, I would have added this too but, alas, we didn’t.
Peter and I can thoroughly recommend this recipe – it made a great fuss free nutritional dinner and a lovely leftover lunch, with some for the freezer too! If you’re not one for red lentil dahl, please please give this one a go!