Chetna Makan’s cumin dal

Turn to this cumin dal when you’re short on time and need something healthy, delicious and comforting. Moong dal takes very little time to cook and needs only the simplest tempering to make it perfect. I would happily eat this as a bowl of soup but my kids love it with yogurt and chapatti.

chetna makan cumin dal
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar



300g moong dal (split mung beans, available from Sainsbury’s)
1.2 litres water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground turmeric


1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 small green chillies, halved
10 curry leaves
20g fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

1. Put the moong dal, water, salt and turmeric into a deep pan and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes, until the moong dal are soft and mushy.

2. In a small pan, melt the ghee and add the cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add the green chillies and curry leaves, then, a few seconds later, the coriander.

3. Immediately pour the tadka over the moong dal and serve.

4. This cumin dal will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat before serving.

Now buy Chetna’s brilliant book

chetna mayan healthy IndianOur recipes are from Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian by Chetna Makan, which is published by Mitchell Beazley, price £20. To order a copy go to