Green moong dal, also known as mung beans, is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that is widely used in various cuisines around the world. One of the most popular ways to prepare green moong dal in Indian cuisine is by making this delicious green gram curry.
There are so many regional variations of this dish, with each adding its unique twist and flavor to it. However, my version is the Bengali-style moong dal, which is wholesome, hearty, and packed with plant-based protein. It is also vegan, gluten-free, and a great option for those who are looking for a healthy and satisfying meal.
Also called tadka dal or torka dal, it is a famous Bengali street food. This creamy and luscious dal is paired with plain or masala roti, matar paratha, or chapati and has several variations. When made in an Instant Pot, this Dhaba-style easy vegan dhal is ready in less than 30 minutes (with 10 minutes of hands-on time) once the mung bean is soaked.
This delicious green moong dal recipe is hearty, comforting, and perfect for a weeknight dinner. Bengal gram (chana dal) is also added along with green moong and this combination adds a creamy texture to the dal. It pairs very well with a side of Bombay aloo made with potatoes.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Nutritious: Green moong dal is a highly nutritious ingredient that is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This recipe utilizes the wholesome goodness of moong dal to create a satisfying and healthy meal.
- Creamy, hearty, and flavorful: The use of sabut moong dal along with the chana dal, creates a creamy and hearty consistency that is perfect for a comforting dinner or a warm and satisfying lunch.
- Easy to make: This mung bean curry recipe is easy to follow, and the ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores. The preparation time is minimal, and the cooking process is straightforward, making it a perfect option for busy weeknights or lazy weekends.
- Vegan and gluten-free: This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, making it suitable for people with dietary restrictions or those who follow a plant-based lifestyle.
What is green moong dal?
Green moong dal, also known as mung bean or green gram, is a type of legume that is widely used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. It is a small, green-colored bean that is high in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.
While whole green mung beans are widely popular in China and other Asian countries, they are native to India and are cultivated since ancient times. They are loaded with health benefits and are rich in antioxidants and essential amino acids. They are a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Green moong lentils help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, and help with lowering blood pressure levels. They also have a low glycemic index, keeping you full for longer.
Green moong dal can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, curries, and salads. It can also be sprouted and used in sandwiches or added to smoothies. Whole mung beans are a popular ingredient in vegetarian and vegan diets due to their high protein content and versatility in cooking.
Ingredients to make green moong dal
Green moong dal: Also called whole green gram or mung bean, this is the main ingredient for this dish.
Chana dal: Or Bengal gram, this gives a creamy texture to the dish.
Onions: Red or pink onions work well for this dish. You can also use brown onions.
Ginger, garlic, and chili: Lots of garlic is used in this recipe. Adjust chili as per your preference.
Tomatoes: Use ripe and juicy tomatoes.
Spices: The powdered spices I use are turmeric, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala.
Other ingredients: I also use Kasoori methi and coriander leaves as garnish.
Ingredient substitutes and optional ingredients
- Add red chili powder to make it spicier.
- Use ginger-garlic paste instead of minced ginger and garlic.
- Add one small bay leaf along with garlic for added flavor.
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice or lime juice to the finished curry.
- Finish the dish with one tablespoon of ghee to add richness to the curry.
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add oil to the inner pot. Add garlic and saute until the garlic is lightly golden (images 1 and 2). Next, add ginger and saute for a few seconds. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent (steps 3 and 4).
Step 2: Add tomato, green chilies, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt. Cover and let the tomatoes cook for 2 minutes (images 5 and 6).
Step 3: Drain water from the soaked whole green moong dal and add it to the IP. Add 6 cups of water and mix well (images 7 and 8). Close the lid of the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook mode on high pressure for 10 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release of any remaining pressure (images 9 and 10).
Step 4: Using a ladle or potato masher, mash the cooked dal well. Add coriander leaves and crushed Kasuri methi (images 11 and 12).
The recipe I have shared here is the basic version of this green gram dal recipe. Here are some variations you can add to this dish.
Add coconut milk: If you want a creamier texture along with a mildly sweet taste, you can add some coconut milk to the cooked dal and simmer for a few minutes. This will create a creamy and flavorful tarka dal that is perfect for a cold winter evening.
Add greens: Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are a great addition to this dal. Add the to the cooked dal and simmer until the greens wilt. This will create a mung bean dal that is packed with nutrients and adds a fresh, earthy flavor to the dish.
Lentil and vegetable green moong dal: For a more filling and nutritious version, you can add some chopped vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, or sweet potatoes to the whole moong dal before cooking it. This will create a lentil and vegetable tarka dal that is hearty and flavorful.
Dimer tadka: 'Dim' means egg in Bengali and tadka dal with eggs is the most popular version. Follow this recipe and add eggs towards the end to make dimer tadka. Eggs can be added in two ways - either scramble them and add them or add whole eggs directly to the tadka dal and simmer until done.
Mangshor torka: 'Mongso' means meat and here minced meat (goat/lamb) is used. Cook the minced meat separately and simmer it with the tadka dal once it is cooked.
Tempering/seasoning: Most roadside eateries add tempering/seasoning to this dish just before serving. Heat some butter or ghee in a small pan and add cumin seeds, chili powder, and hing. Let the spices bloom for a few seconds before adding them just before serving.
I use 6 cups of water for this recipe. This gives me a slightly thick dal. Adjust the consistency of the dal as per your liking.
You can make this dal on the stovetop. Use a stovetop pressure cooker and pressure cook for three whistles. You can cook the dal in a kadhai without a pressure cooker. Add more water and simmer on medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
For the best-tasting dal, use lots of garlic. I have used two tablespoons of chopped garlic in this recipe.
Soaking the green gram and chana dal helps cook it easily. You can soak it for 1-2 hours or even overnight if you are planning ahead. If you don't soak it, increase the pressure cooking time to 20 minutes.
Check out how to sprout mung beans with this easy and detailed recipe.
Here are some serving suggestions for this hearty green moong dal curry:
Serve with plain rice: This dal pairs well with steamed basmati rice. Serve the dal and rice together in a bowl, and enjoy the comforting and hearty flavors of this dish.
Serve with flavored rice: Saffron rice and jeera rice are some delicious side dish options for this dish.
Accompany with bread: Serve it with bread like naan, roti, or paratha.
Add a side of salad or raita: A side salad like kachumber or onion raita can add freshness and crunch to the meal.
A dollop of yogurt: A dollop of plain yogurt can be a nice addition to whole moong beans, as it adds a cooling and creamy texture that balances out the spices.
How to store green moong dal?
This mung bean curry is a great option for meal prep as it can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Storing the green gram dal in the refrigerator: Let the leftover dal cool down to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. Seal the air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, transfer the dal to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat until it is heated through, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little bit of water to loosen the consistency if needed.
Storing mung bean dal in the freezer: To freeze the dal, let it cool to room temperature and transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Label the container with the date and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, transfer the dal to a saucepan. Add some water, cover, and simmer on low heat until it is heated through.
More Instant Pot easy recipes
Click here to browse through my collection of Instant Pot lentil recipes.
Yes. This whole green moong dal recipe is vegan and gluten-free. Remember to use gluten-free hing in this recipe. Hing, in its natural form is gluten-free; however, some brands available in Indian stores can have a gluten-based filler or binder.
It is best to soak it for at least 1-2 hours. If you are planning ahead, you can also soak it overnight. Soaking not only helps remove the phytates but also makes the green moong easy to cook. If you have missed soaking, you can still follow this recipe to make the dal with unsoaked beans but increase the pressure cooking time to 25 minutes.
Yes, you can make this recipe in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving. See the storing suggestions above for instructions.
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Green Moong Dal in Instant Pot (Mung Bean Curry)
- 2 cup green moong dal
- ½ cup chana dal (Bengal gram)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic finely chopped (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped (approximately 1 tablespoon)
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1-2 green chili finely chopped
- 2 medium tomato finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves
- Wash the green moong and chana dal thoroughly. Soak them for 1-2 hours.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add oil. Add garlic and saute until the garlic is lightly golden.
- Add ginger and saute for a few seconds. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes (until onion is translucent).
- Add tomato, green chili, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt. Mix well.
- Cover and let the tomatoes cook for 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup water and deglaze the pot.
- Drain water from the soaked dal and add it to the IP. Add 6 cups water and mix well.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Set the IP in saute mode. Using a ladle or potato masher, mash the cooked dal well. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add garam masala, cilantro, and crushed Kasuri methi. Mix well.
- Serve hot with roti/chapati or rice.
This sounds delicious. I never tried this dish but I'm adding this recipe to my list to try. I love the flavors and I bet this tastes amazing.
Kayla DiMaggio says
I am just now venturing into more indian dishes and I love it! This dal was so delicious and was so full of flavor!
Dawn Conklin says
We had this for dinner and it was amazing! It was easy to make and full of flavor. Will be making it again, the whole family loved it.
Kalin Williams says
This looks incredible I can't believe it came out of an instant pot!
Rosanna Stevens says
Delicious as always, and I loved scooping it up with roti and devouring the whole bowl
Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady says
I love a good dahl with fresh roti. Such a delicious meal!
Such a hearty and flavorful Instant Pot recipe!
Made this recipe for Bengali Tadka last night and it was so flavorful. Definitely a winner!