Yoghurty Moong Dhal

A dhal with a twist. These softened pearls of emerald-green moong dhal are steeped in a rich, thick, spiced yogurt sauce packed full of flavour and fresh heat.

This recipe comes from ‘The Delicious Book of Dhal’ by Nitisha Patel, which is packed full of comforting vegan and vegetarian recipes, using a range of lentils, peas and beans.

SERVES 4 • Prep time: 10 minutes • Cooking time: 50 minutes
Moong dhal base
  • 100 g/3. oz. whole green moong dhal, picked and rinsed, then soaked in 1 litre/quart lukewarm water overnight
  • 1 litre/quart boiling water
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt, plus extra to taste
Yoghurt sauce
  • 320 g/1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp chickpea/gram flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Holy Trinity Paste
  • 1 tsp palm sugar/jaggery
  • Tadka
  • 3 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes/hot red pepper flakes
  • 10–15 fresh curry leaves


  1. Drain the moong dhal, then transfer it to a pressure cooker with the boiling water and salt. Close the pressure cooker and place over a medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or 5–6 whistles until the lentils are soft but still retain their shape. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook the soaked and drained lentils in a large saucepan with 1 litre of boiling water and the salt. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes, topping up the boiling water as needed.
  2. When the lentils are cooked, release the steam from the pressure cooker slowly (or remove the pan from the heat). Most of the water should have been absorbed during cooking, but gently crush the lentils with any small amount that remains. Set aside.
  3. For the yoghurt sauce, combine the yoghurt, chickpea/gram flour, salt, turmeric and holy trinity paste in a medium saucepan. Whisk together well to remove any lumps, then pour in 200 ml/ (or a generous 3/4 cup) of cold water and whisk again. Place the pan over a low/medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer for 3–4 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent the yoghurt from splitting.
  4. Add the cooked and drained moong dhal and the palm sugar/jaggery and mix in well. Allow the mixture to simmer gently for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, for the tadka, put the ghee (or butter) into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cloves and cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds until they crackle in the hot oil. Add the garlic, dried chilli flakes/hot red pepper flakes and curry leaves and fry for 10 seconds. Pour the tadka oil into the dhal and stir well.
  6. Serve with warm roti and roughly chopped coriander.