Monday, January 20, 2014

Bengali moong dal | Bhaja Muger Dal

Ever since the Bengali Cholar Dal from Dassana's blog was declared a hit at the dinner table, I have been on the lookout for other similar Bengali dishes to break the monotony of the regular tried and tested dals. That's when I chanced upon the Bhaja Muger Dal. This Bengali Moong Dal recipe makes use of fried moong dal. Bhaja in Bengali means "fried". Moong dal is much easier to digest in the night, compared to the channa dal in Cholar Dal, making it a winning combination with roti for dinner. So if you are bored of the regular dal fry or dal tadka and want to try something new, then Bhaja Muger Dal is an excellent option.
After trawling a few bengali cooking websites, I found that the tempering was similar to the cholar dal. So I decided to follow Dassana's recipe itself. It's just got a handful of ingredients going into it. What's more, it is really simple to make and has its distinct taste that comes from the roasting and the tempering.
Bengali Moong Dal

So how does one make the Bhaja Muger Dal ? Here's how.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients for the Bhaja Muger Dal

1 cup of Moong Dal
2 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
1 bay leaf
1 pod cardamom
2 dry red chillies ( I used the byadgi variety)
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/2 tsp jeera / cumin seeds
A large pinch of turmeric powder
A large pinch of asafetida (optional)
1 inch ginger grated
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste

How to make Bhaja Muger Dal

In a wide pan, add a tbsp of ghee and roast the moong dal in it, till it imparts a nice aroma. This will take about ten minutes. Do not let the dal burn or brown. So that means, giving ten minutes of your undivided attention to the dal, since once this is done, you are pretty much set with your dal. 
Now pressure cook the dal with enough water in a pressure cooker. I cook for two whistles on low flame and then a third on high. It takes about ten minutes to cook a cup of dal.
bhaja muger dal tempering

While the pressure in the cooker subsides, you can get started with the tempering. Heat the remaining ghee in a pan and throw in the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf into it. Once their fragrance starts wafting out, add in the rest of the dry spices - jeera, chillies, turmeric and hing. Fry for a minute.
bhaja muger dal tadka

Now top this with the cooked dal. Season with salt and a little bit of sugar. Grate in about an inch of ginger into it. Of late, I have started adding the ginger towards the end of the cooking rather than the beginning. That way, the ginger does not get stuck to the bottom of the pan and its fresh taste is more prominent in the dish.
bhaja muger dal

Simmer for five minutes. Given the presence of spices like cardamom and cinnamon, this dal tends to be a little on the sweeter side. You can up the hotness of the dal by increasing the number of chillies going into it. 
Once all the flavors come together, turn off the gas and serve it hot with phulkas or rice. I served it with methi rotis and a carrot-ridge gourd sabzi on the side. 
bhaja muger dal dinner