Suva ni bhaji is a fragrant curry with fresh dill and moong dal (split mung beans). A traditional Gujarati dish with variations enjoyed across North India, especially in Maharashtra. This is something my family made whenever fresh dill was available.
There are lots of good reasons to make this recipe:
- Gluten-free (be sure to use gluten-free hing if this is important to you)
- Nutritious greens and moong dal
- Vegetarian friendly
- Very easy recipe, especially if you have a bunch of dill to use up
- Simple to make on the stovetop or Instant Pot
- A handful of ingredients – hing, garlic, dal, turmeric, salt, black pepper
- Turmeric and black pepper make a classic, healthy pair.
About the Recipe
In Indian cuisine, dill is often treated as a green rather than an herb. In this dish, the dill is cooked down, making the sharpness of the dill more subtle. As a cooked green, that dill flavor is there, but it is not overwhelming.
Dill is also considered a great thing in ayurveda to give postpartum because it is thought to increase milk production. A version of this shaak is often given to women post-pregnancy. There is also a drink with dill seeds that my mom made for me after I had my son.
My mom and grandmother made versions of this recipe, but we have all created our takes on it. My mom makes it on the stovetop, without a pressure cooker, which is also a good way to make it. The moong dal doesn’t need to cook for an especially long time, so the Instant Pot only saves a few minutes.
I like to use the Instant Pot for this recipe because of the simplicity of cooking it in one pot and the ability to walk away while the Instant Pot does its thing.
Many people cook this by adding the moong dal after the dill. When I tried this, the dal was undercooked, and if I were to fix that, the dill would have been overcooked, destroying the nutrition, flavors, and textures. For that reason, I think it is essential to cook the moong dal first.
Dill – dill is used as a green here rather than an aromatic. In India, it is in season in early Spring. In much of the US, it is more of a late summer, early fall vegetable, though where I live, in California, we can grow it any time of year.
Moong dal – not cooked to a super soft texture that you would see in a dal. It still retains some texture. They are cooked just to the point of being soft, providing a good source of protein and a contrasting texture with the dill.
Turmeric – turmeric and black pepper is a healthy combination. The black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin.
- Under or over-cooking the moong dal. You want to have some bite remaining. It should not be hard or mushy. I recommend cooking the dal before the dill because the dill will cook much faster than the moong.
- It’s ideal to cut the dill very finely. If you have long strands of dill in your shaak, it can get stuck between your teeth, which is unpleasant.
This is a great, traditional Gujarati shaak. It is at home in a thali, alongside another shaak, some dal, rice, flatbread, and a sweet. I would serve it with a nice gobi aloo matar, laccha paratha, jeera rice, and dudhi halwa or kheer. You could also serve it with another greens curry, like this beet greens curry.
- Substitute moong dal for masoor dal (red lentils), which is more readily available. Cook under pressure for only 3 minutes.
- My grandma made a version of this with potatoes. She would cut the potato into wedges and fry those until crispy, then add the dill.
- Some people add dhana jeeru, cumin, or other additional spices. My family likes to keep it simple, and I don’t think the dill needs the competition.
Refrigerates for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen in the microwave or stovetop with a bit of oil.
Suva ni Bhaji | Dill Curry
- 3 cups dill
- ¼ cup moong dal
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tbsp ghee or oil
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ⅛ tsp hing
- ½ tsp salt
- Rinse and soak the moong dal for 10 minutes.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode. Add ghee and allow it to get hot. Make a vaghar by adding hing, let it sizzle for a few seconds, then add garlic, turmeric, and black pepper. Cook the garlic until it begins to brown around the edges.
- Add dal and water. Cook for 5 minutes under high pressure, followed by quick release. Stir and test the dal. It should mash easily against the back of a spoon.
- Set the Instant Pot back to saute mode and add dill. Saute until the dill is soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.