This is a riff on this recipe I found at Redchillies for Moong Dal and Vegetables with Chole Masala.  All I was able to find at the store was Chole Chaat Masala, which isn’t the same thing, but it does share some of the tangy/sour qualities of chole masala, with ingredients like amchoor (mango powder), ginger, and black salt.  It ended up working fabulously, and this has become my favorite recipe to make with moong dal.

Moong dal is a very small yellow split pea, graced in English with the unfortunate name of Mung Beans.  They’re easily found in Indian/Asian markets, and are nutritious, tasty and versatile. Because they’re so small, it doesn’t take too much time to soak and cook them.  Make sure you put the moong dal in a mesh sieve and rinse really well before soaking and cooking, until the water runs clear.

(It’s important to note that moong dal, while being a yellow split pea, is not the same thing as “yellow split peas” that you can easily find with the dried beans at your everyday supermarket.  Moong dal is smaller, with a more intense color.)

After rinsing the moong dal, put them in a bowl and cover with water, and let soak for about 30 minutes.  Then put them in a pot with enough water to cover, and cook on a simmer for 30-50 minutes, being sure to add more water as needed so that they stay covered.  When done, they should be soft and mushy and easily mashed.  This dal will comprise the bulk of the sauce in the dish.

You can play around with the amount and type of vegetables used.  I’ve used as little as 1 cup and as much as 2.5 cups.  For veggies I’ve used kale, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, potatoes, chard (not all at once) – if it makes a good curry, it could probably find a home in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • Veggies of choice, cut/chopped medium-small, 1-2 cups
  • 3/4 C moong dal, soaked and cooked
  • 3/4 C  onion, diced or sliced, your preference
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grated or minced fresh ginger (try to use fresh, it tastes much better in this dish than ground)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder, according to your taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Chole Chaat Masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  • Cook the dal as mentioned above, mash it until smooth, and set aside.
  • Cook the veggies separately, by steaming or briefly sauteeing until tender.
  • In a good-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  When hot, add the cumin seeds, fry for a minute until the seeds have cracked and become fragrant.
  • Add onion and sweat until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt; stir well and cook for another minute.
  • Add chili powder and chaat masala and stir well.  If the mixture is very dry, add a little bit more oil.
  • Add the vegetables and a little water.
  • Add the dal, stir well, and season to taste (a little salt, a little more masala, whatever you like).
  • Simmer the mixture for a few more minutes, until all the ingredients are well-blended.
  • Garnish with parsley.  Serve with cumin rice and a spoonful of raita.  Yum!
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Bhajis, also known as pakoras, are one of my favorite Indian appetizer/snacks.  They’re deep-fried fritters made with chickpea flour (besan), onions, and various other ingredients.  The original recipe by Victoria Blashford-Snell and
Brigitte Hafner
, which I got from Cookstr.com,  called for onion only, but I wanted to throw in a green vegetable for interest.  Spinach is frequently used in vegetable pakoras, and kale is a good sub-in for spinach (which I don’t like that much).  I also subbed in some salt for some of the cumin, and added more coriander.

These are quick and delicious – the thing that takes the most time is heating the oil!  The batter can be made an hour or two ahead of time; if it gets too thick, add a bit of water.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C chopped onions
  • 1/2 C kale or spinach, finely chopped
  • 3/4 C chickpea/garbanzo flour (also called besan, or gram flour)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly-ground coriander seeds (you can crush them w/ the back of a spoon)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 spicy chile, green or red, minced (de-seeded, if desired)
  • Handful of kale, about 1/2 C, shredded and sauteed lightly until tender
  • small amount of water (about 1/2 C)
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions:

  • Put 2″ of oil in a large, deep saucepan and heat to 350.
  • In a good-sized bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, adding water slowly, up to about 1/2 C, to make a smooth, thick batter.
  • Carefully add spoonfuls of batter to hot oil,  in batches of three or four.
  • Fry about 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden.
  • Drain on paper towels, season, and serve with pakora chutney.