Mung dal in Ayurvedic texts is considered a rare, balancing food amongst the bean family. It is light in nature, drying and can be slightly aggravating to vata dosha but pacifies kapha and pitta doshas. It can be enjoyed year-round through various preparations. Mung dal is a smart food choice when recovering from sickness, the flu, fevers, dehydration, diarrhea, or post-surgery when one’s digestive strength is not quite at its best. It is easier on the digestive system and helps gradually improve digestion without burdening the digestive tract. Diluting the dal with water, for example in a soup recipe is a better choice for someone recovering from dehydration and diarrhea. The addition of ghee helps it make rich and robust and is better for vata dosha especially when mixed with warming spices such as cumin, hing, ginger, and salt.
The whole mung bean (the one with green color) takes much longer to cook and will be slower to digest. The split mung bean is a bit easier to cook and the yellow mung dal is quickest to cook and easiest to digest, especially for those with a vata vikruti (imbalance)
Dosha: V+PK- (The increase in vata is mild)
Rasa – Astringent and Sweet
Virya – Cool
Vipaka – Pungent
- Caraka Samhita Vol 1 Sutrasthanam, Chapter 27, Verse 23
- Astanga Samgraha, Sutrasthanam, Chapter 7, Verse 22-24
Yellow Mung dal
1 measured cup yellow Mung dal
6 cups water for cooking
1 tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp ghee. Individual preference of oil can replace ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch ginger, finely chopped or crushed into a paste
¼ tsp black pepper
⅛ tsp pinch asafetida (hing)
⅛ tsp red chili powder (optional)
A couple of sprigs of chopped cilantro
Few drops of lime or lemon juice
Yield- About six servings
Rinse the mung dal a few times or until the residue has been washed away. Let it rest in clean water for about 20 minutes. While dal can be cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker, instant pot or a slow cooker, this recipe uses a saucepan to cook. In a medium-sized saucepan add dal with 4.5 cups of water, bring it to a boil and reduce it to medium heat stirring it occasionally. If you see any froth on the top of the boiling liquid, scoop it out with a spatula or a ladle. Add salt and turmeric after the froth has been removed. After about 15 minutes of cooking on the medium flame, reduce the heat to the lowest, and cover the pan. Continue to check and stir every 6 – 7 minutes to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this point, the remaining 1.5 cups of water can be added. In about 25 minutes at the lowest flame, the dal generally gets cooked. Turn off the burner and keep the dal covered.
To prepare the tempering, heat ghee in a shallow frying pan. Add cumin seeds, chopped ginger, (garlic if your constitution likes) black pepper and hing. Sauté for a minute and add cilantro, and lastly red chili powder. Keep sautéing for few more seconds and add it to the dal to swirl it in. Add lemon or lime juice to improve taste and to add another rasa to the dal. It can be easily spiced- up or down depending upon one’s taste and constitution. Dal is now ready to be enjoyed by itself or with roti or rice.
Author Madhvika Singh
Madhvika was raised in India and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a background in Ayurveda and a Masters in Health Care Administration, with a passion for gardening, cooking, and health policy. The best way to reach her is at MadhvikAyu@gmail.com.
Edited by Dr. Marc Halpern Ay.D.