india spices

moong 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 have enjoyed cooking with Ganapati Aarya (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.


moong 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 dal – I like to add the green beans 10 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. 


½ cup/100g whole moong dal 

6 cups water – divided

2½ cups/275g green beans, chopped into small uniformed pieces

1½ heaped tsp fine Himalayan rock salt

2 heaped tsp sugar/jaggery

sambar-coconut paste

2½ tsp sambar powder – moderately spiced

cup dried shredded coconut

1 tsp tamarind paste


2 tsp ghee 

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

15 curry leaves

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

½ cup coriander leaves, chopped


1.  In a medium saucepan, wash the dāl until the water runs clear, drain and pour in 5 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

2.  Add the beans and simmer until the vegetables are soft and dāl has broken down – 30 minutes.  

3.  When the dal has softened, turn off the heat and add salt and jaggery.

prepare the sambar-coconut paste 

4.  Place in an upright blender, the dried coconut, tamarind paste, sambar powder and remaining 1 cup water. Blend into a smooth paste – 1 minute. 

5.  Add the paste to the dal.  Swish the blender clean using liquid from the dal.  


6.  In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the ghee, add mustard seeds; when they turn grey and pop, add the asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric – fry for 1 minute, swishing the pan around for the spices to fry evenly. 

7.  Pour the voggarane into the sambar and allow to simmer for a few minutes. 

8.  Add the coriander and let to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to meld together. Taste adding more sweet, salt or sour. Serve with a drizzling of ghee.


Goodness shared by Stacey

healing yellow dal with lemon & black pepper

20th February 2011

I love the Winter in Israel.  The days are bright and blue and beautiful.  I love the rainy days that quickly follow the sun.  It makes everything golden, especially in the late afternoon.  I love these days when everything is quiet and rested.

The quiet is such a blessing.

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a simply golden soup

Inspired from Mysore Style Cooking by V. Sandhya

It is important to use yellow lentils (also known as toor dal and not yellow split peas).  You could replace with yellow split moong dal or as I do, half toor and half split moong.  Add more or less pepper and lemon until the taste is just right.

Serves 2


½ cup split moong dal

3 cups water

1-2 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)

salt to taste


1 Tbsp ghee/oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

8 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

juice of half a lemon, or to taste

2 Tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped


1.  Rinse the dal until the water runs clear, add 3 cups water, bring to boil, turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and using a hand blender, puree until smooth (optional).

2.  Add the tomatoes, black pepper, and salt, and turn off the heat – set aside.

for the voggarane

3.  In a small pan, heat the ghee, add the mustard seeds and fry until they pop and turn grey, then add cumin seeds and asafoetida – fry for a few seconds and add curry leaves and turmeric.

4.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, add the fresh coriander and squeeze in the lemon juice to taste.

Serve hot with a drizzling of ghee and rice on the side.

Feeling fatigued?  Have a sore throat, sniffles, cough, or headache?  This soup will help cleanse and soothe your body of all those ailments.  But remember to rest. Eat when you are hungry.  Eat slowly…… until you feel soothed.  But stop short of familiar feelings of fullness.  Leave room to breathe in healing oxygen, and thank the trees for providing it!


Goodness shared from Stacey

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