Moong Dal (Green Lentils)

Sneha: I grew up eating a lot of North Indian food since my mom grew up in Northern India (even though both my parents are South Indian). Dal (lentils) and roti (whole wheat flatbread) were a staple in my home and even now, if I go more than a week without it, I start to crave the comforting feeling of dipping my roti in dal. Karthik grew up eating more South Indian food; this dal is one he will happily eat and will actually ask for. So you know it has to be good! 

One of the things I love about this dish is the minimal prep time; though I love rajma and chana, I don’t always plan my meals out in advance to be able to soak the dry beans overnight. This dal gives you the SAME flavors with just about 30 min of cooking the lentils in the pressure cooker! 

Tips & Tricks

  • We use a traditional Indian pressure cooker to cook the lentils but you can also do it on the stove top, just allow the lentils to simmer on medium heat till cooked through 
  • You can use petite diced tomatoes instead of fresh; but ensure you boil the tomato onion mixture on medium for an addition 5-10 min to get the “can” flavor out of the mixture

Recipe Information

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 entree servings


  • 1 cup moong dal (green gram)
  • 1/2 white onion diced 
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 tomatoes diced (or half a can of petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric 
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder (we used Kashmiri chili powder)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash moong dal and rain water, add 2.5 cups water and cook – we use a traditional pressure cooker (15 min on medium heat after one whistle) but you can also cook the dal directly with the same amount of water until soft
  2. Add a few tsps of oil (or ghee) and add onions and garlic 
  3. Add turmeric, chili powder and salt and cook till soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes
  4. Add diced tomatoes and a few tsps of water and cover / cook for another 10 min on medium heat until tomatoes are cooked till soft 
  5. If you like a smoother dal, mash the cooked dal and add to the tomato / onion mixture 
  6. Continue cooking on medium heat for another 10 minutes – we like boiling down the dal to let it thicken 
  7. Add a squeeze of lemon and chopped cilantro when serving – with rice or roti