Bright and colourful, the shobji diye bhaja moong’er dal is bound to floor you with its heady, nutty aroma.

What makes bhaja moong’er dal the most beloved of all dals is the fact that it is rich and comforting, without being entirely over-the-top. With this dal, you can get away with serving the simplest of torkari or bhaja as it elevates any meal that it is part of. This version of the bhaja moong’er dal—one with cauliflower, carrots, and peas—is best enjoyed in the winter months, when these vegetables are fresh and in season. Even though this dal is reserved for special occasions, it is so incredibly simple to make that there is no reason it cannot become part of your regular winter fare.


COOKING TIME 40 minutes
YIELDS 4 servings


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100 g Moong dal (split gram)
550 g Water (for boiling dal)
10 g Mustard oil
1 piece Dried red chilli (whole)
1 piece Bay leaf (whole)
1 piece Cardamom (whole)
1 piece Cinnamon (whole)
1 piece Clove (whole)
¼ tsp Cumin seeds
2 pieces Green chillies (slit)
25 g Carrots (1-cm cubes)
25 g Cauliflower (2-cm florets)
15 g Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
15 g Peas (shelled)
7 g Salt
15 g Sugar
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
10 g Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
¼ tsp Garam masala powder
5 g Ghee

Equipment

  • Kadai | frying pan
  • Khunti | long spatula
  • Boiling pot | saucepan
  • Lid for the cooking vessel

Appliances

  • Stove

Method

  1. Weigh out the dal and add it to a dry pot (preferably a kadai or wok), set on medium heat.
  2. Dry-roast the dal, stirring continuously, till it changes colour from yellow to a pinkish brown. Here, it is important to keep the dal moving while it is in the pan to ensure that all surfaces of the grains roast evenly. Be particularly alert once the dal has taken on a light, brown colour, as it is during this stage that the dal has the tendency to burn easily.
  3. Transfer the roasted dal into a boiling pot immediately (do not hold it in the hot pan, as it will continue to brown when kept in contact with heat).
  4. Wash and rinse the dal thoroughly.
  5. Add 550 g water to the washed dal.
  6. Boil it on medium heat for about 20 minutes. While we want the dal to be completely cooked, we still want the individual grains to remain unbroken. So, check frequently to ensure that the dal doesn’t turn into mush and lose its texture.
  7. Chop the cauliflower into 2-cm florets, the carrot into 1-cm cubes, and the tomatoes roughly. Shell the peas and slit the green chillies.
  8. Heat up the kadai once more and add 10 g mustard oil.
  9. Once the oil has smoked lightly and lost its pungent smell, temper it with the dried red chilli, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin seeds, and 1 green chilli.
  10. Add the carrots and stir-fry them for 1 minute.
  11. Next, add the cauliflower florets and fry them for another minute.
  12. Add the tomatoes and peas, one at a time, and fry them for a minute after each addition.
  13. Pour in the roasted, boiled dal with its water.
  14. Add the salt, sugar and turmeric, and stir them in.
  15. Allow the dal to bubble for about 6 minutes on low heat. Don’t increase the heat level or the liquid in the dal may dry up.
  16. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, a slit green chilli, garam masala powder, and ghee.
  17. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the dal to soak up the flavours from the garnish before serving.

Served with