Moong dal (also known as the mung bean or green gram) is healthy, nutritious and tasty. They are very common in most Asian cuisines. Moong dal is also a good source of protein and a favorite among vegetarians. In appearance, moong dal are small green oval shaped beans. They can be split in half, with the skin left on or not.
The combination of rice and dal (known as khichidi) is delicious and essentially a complete meal in itself. This particular dish can be made with both split moong dal with the skin left on (partially green colored dal) or with the skin completely removed (yellow moong dal). The choice is up to you but both are equally delicious.
All of the varieties of moong dal can easily be found in any Indian grocery store.
MOONG DAL KHICHIDI (Rice with Moong Dal)
1 cup Basmati rice (washed and drained well)
½ cup split moong dal (with or without the skin), washed and drained well
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 dried red chilies, to taste
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
salt, to taste
1 tbsp ghee or oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
freshly grated coconut for garnish (optional)
In a small soup or stock pot on medium high heat, add the ghee or oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds, dried red chilies, turmeric and salt. Stir fry for a minute or so and then add the rice and dal. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add 2½ cups of water (for a little softer rice, add an extra ¼ cup of water). Bring to a gentle boil, cover, reduce and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until done. Alternatively, you could do the actual cooking process in a pressure cooker or even a rice cooker. Garnish with fresh cilantro and coconut. This dish is often topped off with a little extra ghee. Serve with papad (lentil crisps), Indian pickles, raita or yogurt.
Instead of moong dal, feel free to use masoor dal (red or brown lentils) for a different but equally delicious taste. You can also make this dish using sprouted moong dal.
To make Masala Khichidi, add 1 heaping tsp of kala/goda masala or garam masala along with the turmeric (haldi).