Moong Dal Or Yellow Lentil Soup

Low Fat, filling, quick to make and super rich in proteins! This is a great dish for those on a diet or watching their weight!

In the US or Europe, you’d probably call this Yellow Lentil Soup, but in India this is a staple dish that almost every family has every single day, as a side. All Lentils are called Dal in Hindi, and from there you go into various kinds of Dal.

This Moong Dal recipe gets little tweaks as you travel the length & breadth of India. It’s the simplest dish I’ve ever made, yet a little addition & subtraction can change the entire flavor taking you to a new part of the country.

The following is a combination of recipes served around India with specific changes, to make it traditional to Gujarat (the Western most state in India). Make sure you read the entire post before you start to cook. The method & end product can look & taste very different. The Dal in the photo, is the Gujarati version.Image

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


Moong Dal – 1 cup

Red Onion – 1 finely chopped

Ginger – 1 inch finely chopped

Garlic – 2 whole pods crushed


Ginger & Garlic Paste – 1.5 tsp

1 small tomato finely chopped OR 6-7 Dried Kokum pieces (available in your local Indian store, makes it very Gujarati in its taste)

2-3 small finger chillies – Finely chopped

Coriander leaves (Optional Garnish)

1/2 tsp – Coriander Powder

1 tsp – Cumin Powder

1/4 tsp – Tumeric Powder

1 tsp – Cumin Seeds

1 tbsp – Vegetable Oil (don’t use Olive Oil for this dish)

Salt to taste

Lemon Juice to taste


Heat the oil in a deep pan, but do not let it smoke or burn.

Add the Cumin Seeds to the oil and let them go brown (careful not to burn them).

Add the chopped onion, ginger and garlic and cook over a low flame till they are translucent.

Add the spices – i.e – turmeric, coriander, cumin powder.

Cook with the onions for 2 minutes to release the ground spices.

Add the washed cup of Moong Dal

Add 2 cups of water, salt, Kokum and green chillies to the Dal.

Let it come to a boil and then simmer till the Dal is cooked, but not mushy. It should still have a bite to it.

Now comes the fun part!

If you want to serve this Gujarati style follow these steps:

Pour the dal (as little liquid as possible) into a food processor. Too much liquid and your kitchen will look like it was attacked by the lentil fairies. Blend till its almost paste like in consistency  Bring it back to the stove, adding enough water to make it a thick soup. Heat. Serve.

If you want to serve this in the regular style follow these steps:

Skip adding the Kokum and green chillies when boiling the dal up. Also, do not puree in the food processor. Leave the lentils in the pan ensuring there is enough water to make the consistancy of thin soup, with the lentils left in whole (but with a bite).

In a small frying pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and heat. Add 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 chopped tomato and the green chillies. Watch yourself, this stuff sputters! Leave it on high heat for 1 or 2 minutes and then quickly pour on top of the boiled lentil soup. Add some lemon juice for some tang. Serve.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this as a soup. Traditionally in India, it is served with either plain boiled rice or chapatis. You can get frozen ones at your grocery store but do try and avoid the ready to eat nans you get in supermarkets. They are unhealthy and full of preservatives.


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One thought on “Moong Dal Or Yellow Lentil Soup

  1. geekay35 November 7, 2012 at 5:12 am Reply

    Mmmm wonderful. I would use ghee & red chilli powder for the tadka in the regular version.

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