Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mooger Dal (Moong Pulse the Bengali Way)

Mooger Dal

A comforting delight from the Kitchens of Bengal

For every culinary enthusiast and even those who have little interest in food there are those food items which are so comforting that not only do they put a smile on one's face but it relaxes the person and believe me this kind of relaxation is even better than a full body massage because it gives you mental peace. If you look up comfort food it says it could be any kind of food which one has grown up with or that which gives a sense of comfort . Anyway bottom line is, it is supposed to make you incredibly happy .Well I have a very long list of comfort food dishes and basically what I invariably have are these cravings and when I have these cravings for a particular food item I usually imagine its taste first. I know this makes little sense but to me it means the world. For any Bengali who has read Postmaster one would invariably remember how the sick postmaster longingly thinks of his mother's and sisters' soft plump hands stroking his head when he is sick and this meal of simple moong dal with rice and julienne potato is exactly the feeling that I have when I make this. It leaves me feeling comforted and a particular longing for Calcutta.


Moong daal
Salt to taste
Minced ginger

For the tadka
Grated coconut
Red Chilies
Green Chilies
A stick of cinnamon (The aroma is intoxicating and seductive)
A few cloves
A few green cardamoms
A few bay leaves
Red chili powder

There might be other methods of cooking this pulse but as they say its that magic of your family recipe which makes all the difference. So if you are from Bengal this might just remind you of your grandmother's or mother's recipe or perhaps you might feel that you would have done it a bit differently. Either ways its going to be delicious.

Nothing beats the aroma and flavour of desi ghee. Any other healthy substitute cannot bring the flavour which Ghee does. One should start off by dry roasting the pulse and then boiling the dal with a pinch of salt and ginger. When the dal is fully cooked then proceed to  the tadka . In Bengali it is called satlano.

Heat a bit of ghee and fry the cumin till they splutter  and then add a bay leaf , red chilies, cloves which are slightly ground with a mortar and pestle, add the cinnamon and the cardamoms (again post grinding it with the mortar). Once you get the aroma of the spices, be careful not to burn it. If you lower the heat immediately after adding the cumin the chances are less of the spice getting charred. Now add the grated coconut and wait for  about a minute and add the boiled dal. Bring this to a boil and then add a little bit of salt as per taste, turmeric and a bit of red chili powder. Then lower the heat. Cook the dal till it reaches the consistency you desire before transferring the content in a bowl add a pinch of garam  masala. Usually when we take it with rice we keep it to a medium thick consistency which is soupy yet not watery.

Having it with plain rice and  potato fries julienne style is what what is comfort for myself.


  1. Just made this and it was delicious! I added a squeeze of lime juice at the end because I like everything a bit sour. So easy and tasty!

    1. Hannah I am very glad that you liked this simple pulse from the East of India. The funny part is that when we have it at home at times we actually use a local lime called 'Gonhoraj' for mild tangy taste an fragrance :)