Protein is such an important part of our diets. It helps build muscle and a strong healthy body. That’s one of the reasons I’m a big fan of all legumes – and dried lentils in particular. They are a rich source of plant-based protein. The other reason is that they are easy to cook with. Even on a frantic weeknight! Especially yellow split lentils – take my word for it they are the easiest of the bunch.
As soon as the first leaf falls (see what I did there) I start yearning for dal. One of my favourite comfort foods, there are endless ways to cook dal in Indian cuisine. Each region has their favourite, each family their twist. My mom makes a mean chana dal (bengal gram lentil – the kernel of the chickpea) with lauki (bottle gourd) and while it sounds like nothing, it reminds me of home every time. And since I’m a fan of quick cooking and easy weeknight meals I decided to simplify this already quite simple recipe – kitchen to table in less than a half hour.
Indian Lentil Soup – Moong Dal with zucchini tempered with garlic and crispy onions
I love it when experiments end up wholesome, delicious and generally amazing. This was one of those times AND the family loved it. I served it with dal fritters – moong dal pakodis. You can serve this delicious dal with roti, rice, triangles of pita or a soft white dinner roll. Yum!
Real Life Kitchen Tips
- Before cooking rinse the lentils out a couple of times till the water runs clear.
- While yellow lentils do not require it they can be soaked for a couple of hours prior. It cuts down on the cooking time.
- If you’re planning your meals for the week then soak your lentils on Sunday night and put them in the fridge. They will stay for a couple of days. Take them out when you are ready to cook with them.
- 1/2 cup Yellow Split Lentils (skinless Moong Dal)
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 1 in piece Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oil or ghee
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup of finely chopped onions
- 2 garlics cloves sliced thinly
- 1 green chilli (if you like the heat) chopped in large chunks
- Soak the rinsed lentils in twice the quantity of water for a couple of hours, or overnight or longer in the fridge.
- Add the yellow lentils in a pan with 3 times the quantity of water along with the ginger and turmeric. If you have a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot then use it for this recipe.
- Boil and then turn the heat to medium and let it simmer away for 20 minutes.
- If you see any scum collect on top scoop it away. This isn't bad for you just takes away from the flavour.
- Add in the chopped zucchini in the last couple of minutes aftre the dal is already cooked.
- Add salt and sugar. Don't worry it will taste like nothing till you add in the tempering.
- Heat the ghee on high in a pan and add in the cumin seeds. If you'd like to make this dish vegan switch the ghee for vegetable oil.
- Let the seeds brown and sputter and then add the sliced garlic. Turn the heat to medium.
- Add in the onions and green chillies if you're using them.
- Once the mixture is brown and crispy pour the tempering on top of the dal. Get the last drop of tadka. This is delicious gold.
- Serve with your favourite roti, naan, rice or bread.
From the top the dishes are:
Easy Weeknight Turkey Chili @ Mommydo
Grape Jelly Meatballs @ The Inspired Home
Puffball Mushroom Soup @ OffThePorch.ca
Creamy Curry Meat Soup @ Allergy Girl Eats
Moong Dal (Indian Lentil Soup) @ Maple and Marigold
Chicken Pot Pie @ Red Cottage Chronicles
Pumpkin Molasses Muffins @ Everyday Allergen Free