Moong dal is made with an irresistible combination of aromatic spices, split mung beans, aromatics, tomatoes, sweet potato, and coconut milk. Finished off with a squeeze of lime juice it makes for a deliciously warming, comforting and nourishing meal. Better than good!
Mung/Moong dal /dahl/dhal/daal
With so many ways to spell it, one thing remains the same. “Dal” or “dahl” or “daal” all mean “split” in Hindi. Mung on the other hand (also spelled “moong”) refers to the mung bean. Together they are simply “split mung beans”. And unless you are familiar with Ayurveda cooking and the dish kitchari (an Indian porridge-like risotto), this little yellow split beans (or the green whole mung bean) may be something you have only seen on store shelves. That was me!
I’ve seen them a million times in my organic food store, but until recently haven’t really tried cooking with them. Rather than once again choosing Chana Dhal (split chickpeas), I decided to give them a go — and WOW — they are delicious! Which of course shouldn’t have been a surprise, I’ve been eating mung bean sprouts my entire life. Mung dal has a mild flavor and a soft texture making them perfect for tasty dishes like this. An added bonus is that they don’t need to soak overnight and are quick cooking (15 minutes). And the result, a super healthy, easy to digest, vegan-friendly and above all easy to make meal.
Where to buy Mung dal
You can find split mung beans in some large supermarkets, organic food stores, Asian supermarkets or online. Whole mung beans, which are the next best option are more widely available and could be used instead, however the texture will differ and they should be soaked for 8 hours or overnight before cooking. They also take longer to cook (35 minutes) so should be added at the beginning of the recipe, along with the sweet potato, if using instead.
How to adapt this yellow mung dal recipe
- I simply love the sweet potatoes in this recipe, however if sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, then you could easily omit them and save 10 minutes of cooking time. Or simply replace them with carrots or a little sweet red pepper.
- Switch up the greens and instead of spinach add some shredded Tuscan kale or napa cabbage.
- Make a bigger meal out of it and serve over steamed basmati or whole grain rice. Alternatively, serve it over Asian-style noodles or paar it with some naan bread.
If you like this recipe, maybe you like these ones too!
- Indian Butter Cauliflower Curry
- Garam Masala Curry with Turkey & Spinach
- Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry
- Curried Rice with Roasted Carrots
Moong Dhal with Sweet Potato & Coconut
Flavor-packed Mung Dhal with coconut milk, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger and aromatic spices. Split Mung bean dal is perfect on its own for a light meal, or serve over a bowl of steamed rice or with your favorite flat bread for larger appetites.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 small yellow onions, finely diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 x 400 g can organic diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons freshly peeling and grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups water (500 ml)
- 1 cup mung dhal, peeled and split mung beans (200 g)
- 1 x 200 ml can organic coconut milk
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime, plus more to serve
- Generous handful of spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped (optional)
- Fresh cilantro, to garnish
In a large pot (Dutch oven) heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30-45 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the onion sauté, stirring often, until they start to soften (4-5 minutes) then add the garlic and sweet potato, and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and stir to combine, then add the ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt. Sauté this mixture for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, partially covered with a lid, for 10 minutes.
Add the split mung beans, return to a simmer, cover with a lid, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until mung dhal is cooked, stirring the mixture once or twice.
Stir in the coconut milk and increase the heat slightly. Once the mixture comes to a light simmer, add the lime juice and stir in the spinach. Continue cooking until wilted, 1 minute. If desired, add a little more water to thin.
Serve into bowls, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve lime wedges on the side.
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