mung dal sambar with green beans

29th July 2015


We have had two teachers here from India teaching the Jivana Yoga Programme which takes part two mornings on the weekends.  They inspire and guide us in the areas of asana, pranayama, Samskrta, Yogic philosophy and Yogic cooking –  but we also learn so much more by just being in their grace-filled presence.

I enjoyed cooking with Aarya Ganapati Bath (the more senior teacher) as he is very organised and precise, so each recipe we cook is perfected down to how much liquid or grain of salt is required. He also imparts a softness, grace and calmness in any room he enters and in everything he does. At the beginning of each week, we sit and discuss which dish we will be cooking, the benefits of that dish and then a trial of that dish the next day before cooking it again with the class on Sunday.

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These are just a few things I have learnt in his presence –

– always simmer with the lid off to eliminate any energetic impurities which may have entered the food.

– a pinch of mustard seeds is advised to add to the voggarane to cleanse the food energetically.

– always cook in a state of calm, quiet and good feeling, which will impart the same qualities in the food you will eat and serve to others.

– when passing a knife to others, always place on the ground or table, never directly in their hand as this can create quarrelling.


mung dal sambar with green beans

When we cooked this in the class, the fresh green beans were added at the very beginning to simmer with the whole mung dal – I like to add the green beans ten minutes before the end to keep them vital and fresh.  Any type of green bean can be used.

This dish can be made with seasonal vegetables of choice.  As a guideline, beetroot, cabbage and beans are recommended to be used by themselves, and carrot and capsicum are recommended to be combined with other vegetables.  The mixing of too many vegetables will result in an unsuitable taste when making a Sambar.  Instead of the whole mung dal – moong dal split or toor dal can also be used.

This dish is good for all constitutions in all seasons and may be consumed at any time of the day.  It balances Kapha, Vata and Pitta.  Sambar can be eaten with rice, dosa, chapati or pori. 

ingredients :

2 – 3 cups green beans

½ cup whole mung dal (green gram)

8 cups water  (divided)

1½ heaped tsp fine Himalayan rock salt

2 heaped tsp sugar/jaggery

2½ tsp Sambar powder

cup dried shredded coconut

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste


2 tsp ghee 

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

12 – 15 curry leaves

½ cup chopped coriander leaves

preparation :

Wash the beans and chop into small pieces.  Set aside.

In a heavy bottom saucepan, wash the dal by covering with water.  Swish around with your hand, then drain the water.   Pour in 7 cups water, and bring to a boil over a high heat.  Lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer.   Do not cover the pot with a lid, as this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.   Simmer until the mung dal is soft, approximately 30 – 40 minutes.  Add the chopped green beans halfway through cooking the mung dal.  Turn off the heat and add the salt and jaggery. 

Place in an upright blender, the dried coconut, tamarind paste, sambar powder and the remaining 1 cup water.  Blend into a smooth paste – approximately 1 minute.  Add this to the mung dal. Use a cup of the liquid from the mung dal to swish around in the blender to clean out any of the remaining sambar – coconut paste.  Bring the mung dal back up to a simmer.

voggarane :

In a small saucepan over a low heat, add the ghee.  When melted, add the mustard seeds.  Wait until they splutter and pop, then add the hingu and curry leaves.  Fry for 1 minute.  Stir this into the cooked dal and allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more tamarind, jaggery and salt, if needed.

Roughly break up the fresh coriander with your hands and add this to the sambar.

Allow to sit for five minutes for the flavours to meld together and serve with a drizzling of ghee.


Goodness shared by Stacey

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