This sprouted moong dal is inspired by Maharashtrian mugachi usal, made the way my mom used to make it for the family. It features nutritious sprouted moong dal, with the heartiness and warmth of a good dal. Serve it to your family with some basmati rice for a perfect weekday dinner.
Why This Recipe
Featuring moong sprouts, this dish is super-healthy. It is also very fast to make if you already have the sprouts.
This recipe is based on a meal my mom used to make. She grew up in Bombay, surrounded by Maharashtrian friends. Although she mostly cooks Gujarati food, Maharashtrian foods come in a close second.
An Instant Pot Recipe
Using the Instant Pot is convenient for this recipe because of the ease of cooking a few items in saute mode, then throwing everything else in and letting it go for 12 minutes.
This recipe is easily adapted to the stovetop, which you may prefer. Just boil for about 5 minutes, or however long you like to get the texture you want. Moong bean sprouts are already edible, so the goal is to meld the flavors and get soft (but not too soft) texture.
Sprouted Moong (“sprouted mug”) – Moong sprouts are protein-rich and very nutritious. For this reason, they are highly valued in India’s vegetarian culture. Moong sprouts are the same sprouts found in Chinese and other Asian foods, but Indians tend to use them when they are smaller and younger.
Curry leaves – The curry leaves add a nice aromatic, but you can leave them out if you don’t have them.
Coconut – adds a coconut-y flavor and texture. Not everyone loves this; if you’d like to leave it out, go ahead. For the coconut flavor without the texture, use coconut oil and add a little coconut milk in place of water.
Mustard seeds – add a spicy pungency. The combination of curry leaves, coconut, and mustard seeds is a frequent theme in Maharashtrian foods.
Garam Masala – garam masala can be purchased at an Indian grocery store, or made from freshly ground spices.
I add the chilis, garlic, and coconut separately. It’s a bit of a simplification and the way my mom taught me to do it. Authentic usal is more commonly made with a ground-up paste of chilis, garlic, and coconut instead of added separately the way I have done it.
Sprouted Moong Dal
- 2 cups sprouted moong
- 1 Tbsp oil
- ½ cup onion chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2 Tbsp dried grated coconut (optional)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ginger paste grated ginger
- 1 tsp garlic paste 2 cloves grated
- 1 green chili or to taste
- 1 tomato chopped
- 1 ½ cups water
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil on sauté mode, until it shimmers. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
- Add onions. Cook until softened.
- Add coconut, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and chili. Cook until the tomato is jammy.
- Add 2 cups sprouted moong and 1 1/2 cups water.
- Cook under high pressure for 2 minutes, followed by natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
What to Eat it With
This is a great weeknight dinner food. It goes well with simple basmati rice or a slightly dressed-up rice like jeera rice or turmeric-garlic rice. It also goes well with a simple flatbread like roti or paratha.
- Be careful not to overcook it in the pressure cooker. You do not want to create a soft mush. 2 minutes is plenty. You can cook it another minute or two if you like a softer texture.
- This is a highly customizable recipe. Make it how you like: leave out the coconut, add more coconut, or swap mustard seeds for cumin seeds.
Storing and Reheating
Sprouted moong dal will store in the fridge for a couple of days, but the sprouts will start to wilt quickly, so no more than that.
To keep it for longer, put it in the freezer. It should freeze well.
Reheat in the microwave or stovetop.