Indian dal with chilli-fried onions

Indian dal with chilli-fried onions

15 mins
Cooking time
90 mins
Deidre Rooney

This stalwart of many an Indian restaurant is a good, starchy dish to serve with more highly flavoured ones. It’s even good on its own, just served with rice, as long as you have interesting chutneys alongside.

From the grocer


Quantity Ingredient
400g split yellow mung beans
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

From the greengrocer

Quantity Ingredient
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
4cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 green chilli, halved, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, halved, seeded and shredded
fresh coriander leaves, to serve


  1. Wash the mung beans in a sieve until the water runs clear, transfer to a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and green chilli.
  2. Half cover the pan and cook over a very low heat for 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mung beans should collapse into a purée. If you want a thinner purée add more water. If you want it thicker, remove the lid completely and cook until the mixture reduces to the consistency you like. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Heat the peanut oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over a medium– low heat until soft. Increase the heat and fry until the onion darkens. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chilli, and cook for another couple of minutes. Serve the mung beans with the onions on top and scattered with the coriander.
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