Urvesh Parvais of Gujarati Rasoi shares his recipe for mung bean dal, recreated by Victoria Brown
Urvesh kindly shared this recipe for mugg (mung bean dal) with me, when I interviewed him as part of a series in which I explore the foods that are important to Borough Market’s traders. You can read the article here.
“A staple of any Indian cook’s repertoire, I love mugg. It’s a really comforting dal that reminds me of my childhood. The flavour should be a balance between the taste of the chilli, the sweetness of the jaggery and a sour note from the lemon juice. Delicious mugg would be served with hot buttered chapatis direct from the tavo.” Urvesh also recommends cucumber raita and cumin poppadoms on the side.
220g mung beans
4 tbsp sunflower oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp green chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
4 tsp dhana jeru (ground cumin and coriander)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garam masala
4 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp jaggery
Small bunch of coriander
1 dried whole chilli
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
250ml tomatoes, pureed in the blender
Handful cherry tomatoes, to serve (optional)
Put a saucepan of water (approximately 4 cups) over a high heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, check the mung beans thoroughly for stones, rinse twice with cold water and drain.
Once the water has boiled, reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the mung beans along with 1 tbsp of the sunflower oil. Simmer for 20-30 mins, until you are satisfied with the texture—the longer it is cooked, the softer the bean. Do not allow it to boil dry; add more water if necessary.
Finely chop 1 clove of the garlic and add to the mung beans along with the green chillies, ginger, dhana jeru, salt, turmeric, garam masala, lemon juice and jaggery. Roughly chop the coriander, reserving a few sprigs for garnish, and add a handful to the mung beans. Stir and simmer for a further 5-10 mins.
Slice the rest of the garlic lengthways. Add the remainder of the sunflower oil to another pan and put it on a medium to high heat. Add the dried whole chilli and allow it to brown, but not blacken. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the sliced garlic and curry leaves and allow them to brown, but not burn.
Add the tomato puree and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the simmered mung beans and mix well. Taste and add more salt or chilli, if required. Add cherry tomatoes, if using.
Garnish with coriander and serve with rice and/or chapatis and your preferred side dishes.
Recipe: Urvesh Parvais
Images: Victoria Brown