Green Moong Dal Recipe AKA Mung Bean Curry

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Mung bean curry is a comfort dish to enjoy with plain rice or any flatbread. It’s an easy nutritious curry made with green moong dal that can be cooked in a regular pan, pressure cooker, or instant pot.

Pakistani mung bean curry in a round bowl.

Green moong dal in curry

When I tried green moong dal in a curry dish for the first time at my sister-in-law’s house, I didn’t realize that moong beans could be cooked as savory. Because I am an Indonesian native, and in Indonesia, we use mung lentils in sweet dishes a lot.

The most popular is the mung bean dessert, aka Bubur Kacang Ijo in Indonesian. Though we have a few savory dishes using these lentils, one of which is mung bean fritters.

So, I was surprised by how this green gram dal tasted delicious in a savory dish. 

A closeup photo of mung bean curry with some coriander leaves and a napkin on the background.

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Since then, I have learned a lot about how the Pakistanis use all sorts of lentils and beans in their cooking. Just like other ethnicities from the Indian subcontinent, such as Indians, Bengalis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese, etc.

I have also learned how to cook legumes in a variety of dishes. It has been more than 17 years since I was introduced to this wholesome moong dal. And I have made curries using moong lentils countless times, along with other lentils. 

Whole green moong dal

Green moong dal, also known as green gram curry or mung bean curry, is a perfect wholesome food for those who love spices and goodness in their food. Because this vegan curry has everything to offer. The taste and health benefits.

The dal creates a delicate and earthy taste and offers a wholesome and satisfying feel that this curry is a comfort food. 

In this green gram dal recipe, I am sharing three different cooking methods you can choose according to your circumstances. 

It is a curry made with green mung beans/ sabut moong dal. It is based on the Pakistani way of cooking, similar to the north Indian cooking. Therefore, unlike the South Indian curry, this green moong dal does not use coconut milk.

But I promise that whichever method you choose, you don’t have to spend ages making it. This green gram curry has been my go-to recipe when cooking something good and healthy in a jiffy. It’s a simple, great recipe, and I’m sure you can easily follow it.

I have made this recipe so many times. Every time I made this curry, it always went down well. Maybe because the curry tastes flavorsome and delicious. So I’m positive you’ll love this recipe, too.

What is the difference between green moong dal and yellow moong dal?

There are three types of moong lentils that you can find in the Asian/ Indian grocery shop. 

  1. Whole moong bean dal (with husks).
  2. Washed moong beans (without husks). 
  3. Split green moong dal with husks.

The first one with the green husks is known as whole green moong dal, whole mung dal, green gram, whole mung bean, green moong lentils, or Sabut moong dal. As the name says, this one has a green color. And this green gram is used in the recipe I am sharing here.

The second one is the washed ones without the husks; the lentils are yellow. They are known as moong dal or mung dal.  

The last one is split moong dal with husks. Its color is green and ivory, the color of the inner part of the lentils.

Do you have to soak the beans before cooking?

Ideally, yes, you do. Simply because you want to get rid of the dirt and impurities from the milling process that might stuck on the lentils.

And if you soak the dal before cooking, the lentils will cook faster and more evenly. 

You don’t need to soak them for too long. A few hours is good enough. Though longer will be better.

Ingredients for moong bean curry

You will need green moong dal, ginger, garlic, whole cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, coriander powder, ground cumin, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, ground/ coarse black pepper, salt, and cooking oil. You will also want to use green chili and cilantro for garnish and extra flavor before serving. 

If you’re cooking to feed your little one or don’t really eat spicy food, you can swap the red chili powder with paprika powder. So your curry will not be spicy. Or, you can combine the two spices in halves to get a milder spiciness. In short, feel free to add more or less chili according to your taste. 

Three ways to make green moong dal

I think you will love this Sabut moong dal recipe. Not only does this vegan curry made with mung beans is delicious, but it is also easy to make. 

It takes approximately half an hour to cook on the stovetop using a regular pan. And if you have a pressure cooker or an instant pot, you can make it much less than half an hour. It’s about 15 minutes, to be precise.

Don’t forget to soak the dried mung beans overnight or at least a few hours before cooking. This is to ensure all the beans will be cooked evenly. And also to cut the cooking time. 

How to cook in a stovetop regular pan

Place the soaked green moong in a thick-bottomed deep pot with a lid, and cook the dal without anything in about 3 cups of water at medium heat. Use hot water from the tap or freshly boiled water from the kettle if possible. 

It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to cook the whole moong beans. You may have to stir it every now and again to ensure all the beans are cooked evenly.

When the lentils are almost cooked, boil in another pot the minced ginger and garlic, turmeric powder, red chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, tomatoes, and salt in a cup of hot water. Let it simmer for a minute before placing the cooked dal in it. Continue cooking until it reboils.

In the meantime, make the Tadka/ Tarka by frying the whole cumin and black mustard seeds with a little oil in a frying pan. Then, add chopped garlic to the oil. When the whole spices are sizzling and the garlic turns golden brown with a delicious aroma, carefully add the oil and spices to the dal mixture. 

Cook for about 2-3 minutes as you stir it and mash some of the lentils. The consistency of the dal should be slightly thick and creamy. 

How to cook in the stovetop pressure cooker?

This one is my favorite method. Because you just put the hot boiling water from the kettle into the pressure cooker and add the soaked moong beans, ginger garlic paste, ground spices, and tomatoes. Stir it.  

Then, put its lid on and cook at medium-high heat until the pressure starts. Then lower the heat and continue cooking for about 17 minutes. 

Once it is cooked, turn the heat off and let the pressure wear off. Carefully open the pressure cooker according to its manual.

Lastly, you make the Tadka as mentioned above and mix it with the dal mixture. Let the green gram cook for 2-3 minutes at medium heat without the pressure. 

How to make instant pot green moong dal

This is my second favorite way of cooking moong bean curry. In instant Pot.

In essence, it is the same as cooking in a pressure cooker because you will use the pressure cooking function of the Instant Pot.

So put the hot water in the Instant Pot bowl, followed by the soaked green moong dal and all the spices. Put the lid on and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 17 minutes on the timer. 

When your IP finishes cooking, you can release the steam by pressing the venting button. Ensure you let all the steam out before opening the instant pot. And please refer to the manual if you’re not sure.

Like the above methods, you would make the Tadka once the dal is fully cooked and pour the Tarka into the dal. 

Press the saute button, set it for 3 minutes, and press start. Here, you might want to stir the lentil curry a little bit. To make sure it doesn’t stick at the bottom of the pot. 

Pakistani Moong dal curry in a round bowl.

Tips for perfect mung dal curry

  • Do not skip soaking the dry green lentils.
  • Make sure legumes are fully cooked and soft before adding the Tarka. 
  • Mash some of the dal with the back of a wooden spoon to create a creaminess. You can also use a handheld blender and give it a few blitzes.
  • Once you add the Tadka to the curry, stir well and let it cook until it simmers for a few minutes.
  • Although optional, try garnishing your whole moong dal with chopped cilantro or curry leaves. These greens will give an extra delicious aroma to the dal. If you like, you can also sprinkle a little garam masala just before serving to give more depth to the taste. 

How to enjoy this wholesome green moong dal curry

This moong dal is a delicious curry to eat with plain basmati rice. Spoon it generously over the rice and enjoy it with a teaspoon or two of plain yogurt and some pickles. Our favorite is mango pickle. This combination is so heartwarming and tasty.

But moong dal is often enjoyed with naan bread, chapati, or pitta bread.

How to store your leftover green gram curry

You can cook this mung bean curry recipe in bulk and keep it for another day during the week. Store any leftovers in a tight-lidded food container and keep it in the fridge/ refrigerator. It keeps well for up to 4-5 days.

And you can also freeze this whole green mung bean dal. It freezes well for up to 2 months. The day before you want to eat the dal, take it out of the freezer and leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then reheat it properly on the stove or in a microwave until it is piping hot. Finish the thawed curry within 3 days, and do not refreeze it once it has defrosted.

More lentil and bean recipes

Suppose you need more ideas for lentil and bean recipes. In that case, you can try this Dal Gosht (chickpea lentils and meat curry), Kadhi Pakora (pakora dumpling curry), Aloo Chana (potato and chickpeas curry), Whole Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry), or Kitchari recipe (rice and mung beans rice congee).

Thank you for checking this delicious green moong dal recipe. I hope you will try it. Please share your thoughts in the comments below after you try this recipe. I appreciate it.

Lastly, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Take care and all the best.

Recipe for green moong dal

Pakistani mung bean curry in a round bowl.
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4.92 from 87 votes

Green Moong Dal Recipe AKA Mung Bean Curry

Mung bean curry is a comfort dish to enjoy with plain rice or any flatbreads. It's an easy nutritious curry made with green moong dal that can be cooked in a regular pot, pressure cooker, or instant pot.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cooking pan or
  • Pressure cooker. or
  • Instant pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green moong dal/ green mung beans washed and rinsed.
  • 3 cloves of garlic.
  • ½ inch ginger.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder.
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika powder.
  • 1 teaspoon coarse/ ground black pepper.
  • 1 medium tomato chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds.
  • 2-3 whole fresh or dry chili optional.
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil.
  • 5 cups of water.

Instructions

Using a regular cooking pan

  • Boil the mung bean in 3 cups of water until it is fully cooked.
  • In the meantime, mince the ginger and 2 cloves of garlic.
  • And in a separate pan, boil 2 cups of water (or use hot boiling water from the kettle). Then add minced ginger garlic, cumin powder, ground coriander, turmeric powder, chili powder, coarse/ground black pepper, chopped tomatoes, and salt.
  • Let the spiced water simmer for about 2-3 minutes and mash the tomatoes while it’s simmering. Then add the cooked mung bean to it. Stir well and continue cooking at low heat.

Using a stovetop pressure cooker

  • Pour hot boiling water from the kettle into your pressure cooker. Then add minced ginger garlic, cumin powder, ground coriander, turmeric powder, chili powder, coarse/ground black pepper, chopped tomatoes, and salt. Turn the heat to high, and let the water reboil then let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
  • Next, place the mung bean into spiced water, give it a stir, and put the cooker lid on. Set your cooker according to its manual and cook the moong bean with pressure for 20-25 minutes.
  • Once it is done, turn the heat off, let it cool down, and open it according to its manual.

Using instant pot

  • Pour hot water (from the kettle or boiling water tap) into your instant pot bowl. Add minced ginger garlic, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, ground black pepper, chopped tomatoes, and salt. Stir until all is mixed.
  • Put the instant pot lid on and secure it. Turn your instant pot on, choose the pressure cook button, and set the timer to 20 minutes, then press start.
  • When the cooking is finished, you can either let the steam out by pressing the valve or you leave it to be released naturally. Then you take the lid off when it is safe to do so.

Making tadka/ tarka:

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and place the whole cumin seeds and black mustard seeds in it.
  • Slice or mince 1 clove of garlic and add it to the seeds. You can add whole dry chilies as well if you like. Fry until the seeds sizzle and the garlic turns golden brown.
  • Then carefully add the oil and spices to the mung bean mixture. Stir well and cook further at moderately low heat for about 4-5 minutes.
  • If you cook the bean in a pressure cooker, you don’t need to cook under pressure after adding the tarka. Just cook it without its lid or use the cover of a regular pan. And if you use instant pot, use the saute program after adding the tadka to your moong dal.

Notes

  • You can swap Kashmiri red chili powder with paprika powder if you want a mild curry. Or you can mix both, ½ teaspoon of chili powder with ½ teaspoon of paprika powder to make a less spicy curry.
  • If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use tinned chopped tomatoes. For this recipe, ¼ cup of canned tomato is more than enough.
  • I use rapeseed oil or sunflower oil for my cooking. Feel free to choose whichever you like. You can skip using the whole chili in your Tarka, but adding it makes your Mung bean curry smells nicer.
  • You can also garnish the curry with chopped coriander leaves if you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3mg

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

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18 Comments

  1. You don’t mention what to do with the minced garlic and ginger?

    1. Ooopps…thank you for pointing that out to me. I’ve amended the recipe. Basically, you just have to put the minced garlic-ginger in the boiling water together with the spices. All the best.

  2. Absolutely delicious best Dahl I’ve ever made usually a bit mild – creamy but this one is very tasty & extremely satisfying thank you.

    1. Thank you. You made my morning. All the best.

  3. How much water do you put in the pressure cooker based on one cup of mung beans?
    Thanks

    1. You can put 5 cups of water when cooking in a pressure cooker. Thank you.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve recently started cooking a lot more with mung beans instead of lentils and love them. This recipe was delicious! So much flavor and very easy.

    1. I agree about how easy it is to cook this mung bean curry. I’m glad you like it.

  5. 5 stars
    I love dal! This recipe was incredibly flavorful and the best I’ve made! I’d never think to put mung beans in but it was fantastic.

    1. That’s super. This mung dal is underrated.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe has so many flavors to offer. It’s really delicious, and it’s a good addition to my vegan recipes at home! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    1. You’re most welcome. And I’m happy that this is approved for your vegan recipe collection

  7. 5 stars
    This mung bean curry is the perfect comfort food! It’s warming and the spice blend is perfect.

    1. I’m so glad you like the spice blend. Thank you.

  8. 5 stars
    This curry recipe was my first time cooking with mung beans. It is so good! Super easy to make and my whole family loved it. I will be making this often!

    1. Yayy, and I promise this only give nutrition to you all.

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious? Check!
    Nutritious? Check!
    Climate friendly? Check!
    Easy to make? Check!
    Quick? Check!
    Hence the five stars ☺️

    1. Great to know you approve the recipe 🙂

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