moong dal

moong dal with slivers of ginger

8th April 2021

This soup is inspired by a recipe posted many years back, this version uses dal that is lighter and easier to digest – whole moong (green mung bean) and split yellow moong (which is the whole moong that has been skinned and split – see photo below).

It can be served as a soup with chapati or bread or with rice and a simple vegetable palya (adding less water for a thicker consistency).

~ late evening walk in S Pedro de Sintra

I live in a village called São Pedro de Sintra, just on the outskirts of the historic city centre of Sintra. It is surrounded by history and character, with many old palaces and castles meandering up and down cobblestone roads and tall trees. I walk out my door and, within 5 minutes, enter into a majestic forest and the beauty of the Sintra Mountain.

I try to walk daily and find exercise a soothing medicine; my sleep is better, and my mind is calmer with fewer thoughts. There is a deep sense of well-being and wonder when in nature.

Nature brings gratitude and opens the heart.

moong dal with slivers of ginger

Preparation 30 – 40 mins

Serves 3 – as a soup or 2 – as a dal


½ cup/100g split moong beans (split yellow dal)

¼ cup/50g whole moong dal (mung beans)

6 – 7 cups water

1-inch thick knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin slivers

1 medium /120g carrot, chopped

¼ tsp turmeric powder


2 Tbsp ghee – divided

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

1 small fresh mild green/red chilli, seeded and cut into slivers

8 – 10 curry leaves

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp fine rock salt


1.  In a large pot, rinse the dal until the water runs clear, drain, add the water, bring to boil, skim off the foam that collects on the surface, then add the carrot, ginger, turmeric and 1 teaspoon ghee.

2.  Gently boil, uncovered, until the dal is soft and broken down; approximately 30 mins. Add more water if needed.


3.  Heat remaining ghee, add mustard seed, fry until they turn grey and pop, then add the cumin, asafoetida and chilli; fry until fragrant and golden, add curry leaves; fry for a few seconds, then add to the dal.

4.  Stir in the salt, lemon juice and coriander. Taste, and add more salt or lemon as needed.

When serving, garnish with fresh coriander and drizzle with ghee.

grounding & satisfying -whole moong with greens, grated beet & carrot salad, cucumber raita, round brown rice

6th June 2020

I have a little brown book the size of the palm of my hand where I write down combinations which have worked well and have become a weekly favourite. Whenever I lack inspiration in the kitchen, I refer to this little book.

I appreciate the aestheticism of things, so my cooking is very much inspired by this, also in terms of the colours I use. If I am using a lot of greens in one dish, like the dal used here, I add in bright colours which contrast nicely, like beetroot and carrot. This approach extends to the flavours, if the dal is spicy and strong, the accompanying dishes will be soft and light so that there isn’t competition between the dishes.

In the menu below, the dal is softly flavoured, so the spiciness of the ginger in the salad balances and enables the other dishes to shine.

The menu: 


whole moong dal with garden greens – two variations

Prepare the soupy version of this recipe, adding in whatever greens are in the garden or fridge. Usually fennel or celery, then leafy greens towards the end: fenugreek leaves, coriander, kale or spinach. In the image above, I used fennel, then added fenugreek and coriander leaves towards the end of cooking.

grated beetroot & carrot salad

Prepare a simple version of this salad, using only grated beetroot and carrot, toasted sesame seeds and lots of ginger in the dressing. If you have sunflower sprouts or small bitter leaves on hand, add a handful of those to sprinkle over the top.

round brown rice

You could use basmati, but there is something pleasing about the plump texture of this small round rice with the dal. Keep it slightly undercooked so it doesn’t turn to mush.


yoghurt, salt, fresh dill

Don’t forget to drizzle with 1 – 2 spoons of ghee to enhance the taste and aid digestion. Having a strong digestion enhances every aspect of your life.


If you want to add more colour and texture, instead of serving the raita, crumble feta over the salad or slice an avocado decoratively. Ninety-five per cent of the time I keep it simple, without the addition of cheese or nuts, as the meal then becomes heavy on the system. The magic in this combination is that not only it tastes good but it is easy to digest which helps access the full nutrients and minerals of each of the ingredients leaving you feeling content, satisfied, brighter and lighter.

I hope this combination inspires, nurtures and nourishes you!


“Eating food that tastes good to us is very important. Otherwise, we will not feel satisfied with our meal. The feeling of satisfaction brings balance to many emotions that are essential to a healthy human being. If we consume food that does not have the proper taste, there will be something lacking in our emotional state. Balanced emotions support us to enjoy both bhoga and yoga.”

~ The Sacred Tradition of Yoga – Dr Shankaranarayana Jois ~

one-pot dal for Yasmin

6th March 2017


A simple dal we make weekly, served with chapati and alongside a cabbage or okra palya.  A recipe my daughter requested that I write-up so that she can refer to when she moves out later this year.  It is also one of her favourite meal combinations.  We are in the process of learning how to make 6 easy meals which she can prepare herself.  This dal is one of them.

If the thought of making chapati sounds a bit overwhelming – it can be served with a bowl of rice and a crispy salad.  When drizzled with ghee it becomes a deeply soothing, warming, nourishing meal.

The tomatoes can be replaced with any vegetable of choice,  I like the process of stewing them in a voggarane pan before adding in the dal, this way they slightly caramelise, deepening the flavour with the spices.

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~ Evening forage at the end of the day in a blanket of mist.  Silent.


one-pot dal

Preparation – 30 mins

Serves 3 – 4

Inspired by Tara O’brady – Everyday Yellow Dal.

In Ayurveda, it is important to understand the different types of dal/legumes used and their energetic qualities. The most favourable and used most often – whole moong (mung beans); when husked and split becomes split moong. These two are easy to digest, gentle on the system and cause minimum disturbances to all constitutions.  All other dals are recommended to use in moderation and in small quantities.



1 cup/200g yellow split moong dal

3 cups/750ml water


2 Tbsp ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1½ heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 dried chilli – torn in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

12 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

1 heaped tsp finely chopped ginger

2 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces

1 tsp fine rock salt

a small handful coriander leaves

juice from half a lemon

to serve 

cabbage carrot palya



1.   In a bowl, wash the dal until the water runs clear, drain and refill with 3 cups water – set aside.

2.  Finely chop the tomatoes and measure out the spices for the voggarane – set aside.

prepare the voggarane 

3.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, turn down the heat, add cumin seeds,  chilli and asafoetida – fry for a few seconds, then add curry leaves and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around for the spices to fry evenly.

4.  Add the tomato and ginger, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally – fry until the tomato starts to break up.

5.  Pour in the bowl of dal and water, bring to a rapid simmer, then simmer until the dal is soft and broken down – 20 minutes. Add more water if the dal becomes too dry.

6.   Add salt, jaggery, lemon juice and garnish with fresh coriander.

Serve with chapati, a cabbage or okra palya.


Goodness shared by Stacey

warm salad of roasted carrot, cauliflower, dal & mustard

10th January 2017


So good to have my site back.  It had disappeared for 10 days – having it back was like having the comfort of an old friend.

We just came back from a holiday with my husband’s family travelling through parts of Kerala in the South of India.  We started in Cochin, staying in a lovely place called The Eight Bastion in Fort Kochi, where the food was exceptional and prepared by a wonderful chef who catered for all our odd dietary needs, taking such pride, care and enthusiasm in everything he prepared.  We saw the Chinese fishing nets and visited a few local churches and a Synagogue – in the heart of Fort Kochi. We then travelled high up into the hill stations of Munnar staying at a lovely resort called ‘The Spice Tree”, where we were literally up in the clouds.

We went on hikes through the plantations and saw all sorts of spices grown – peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and even had a go at cutting and harvesting rice. The evening sunset walks were particularly special, enjoying the breath-taking views down into the valley.  The last part of our trip was exploring the backwaters. We spent a day on one of the typical house-boats made of teak and bamboo – observing how the local people lived on the water, using the river to bathe, to wash their clothes and dishes, as a source of food and transport and everything in between.  We watched palm tree after palm tree pass us by, paddy fields and colourful houses and a romantic way of life that seems unchanged for centuries.  This is the beauty of Kerala.

For the last 25 years, we have been travelling to India, and this was the first time as a tourist, rather than a budding yoga practitioner.  India as always, presented her magic and opened all our hearts – it was a truly memorable and magical trip.

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~ Chinese fishing nets in a bright sky at Fort Cochin

~ Tea Plantations taken from the bus window at the end of a winding, five-hour journey, Munnar

~ Domestic chores along the river, Kumarakom

~ Water, vegetation and sky all become one, Backwaters


a warm salad of roasted carrot cauliflower, dal & mustard

Recipe slightly adapted from Grown and Gathered.

Don’t be shy with the kale greens, just make it green and lots of it.  I love how the carrot adds a splash of colour; roasted beets would also work.  I serve it with a whole avocado, sliced and spread into a fan, and slices of grilled halloumi. It is also great with a bowl of hummus.  A welcomed dish to take along to a lunch or dinner.

Serves 4, as a side dish or 2 as a main.


400g carrots or Baby (Dutch) tops trimmed to 2cm

½ head/400g cauliflower

½ cup/100g whole moong dal (mung beans)

3 cups water

120g kale, mustard greens, chard, spinach, coarsely chopped

mustard dressing 

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp brown sugar/jaggery/honey

zest from two lemons


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)

½ tsp fine rock salt

⅛ tsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp honey/sugar (optional)


1.  Preheat the oven to 190 C/ 375F.

2.  Cut the cauliflower into rough 4 cm florets, and peel the carrots and cut into matchsticks, about 5 cm in length and place in a large bowl – set aside.

3. In a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds until about half are ground and half are cracked; add the remaining dressing ingredients and continue to grind gently until combined.

4.  Pour the dressing over the cauliflower and carrot and toss, using your hands until thoroughly combined.

5. Spread the vegetables out on a baking tray in a single layer and roast for 45min – 1 hour, or until the vegetables are just beginning to blacken around the edges.


6.  Wash the dal and place in a saucepan with the water, bring to a rapid simmer and leave, uncovered until they are tender – about 20 – 30 minutes. Just keep in mind you may have to add more water when cooking – depending on the quality of your dal. You really need to keep an eye on them and judge so that you are not left with mush. You want the dal firm, but cooked. When ready, pour into a strainer to drain off any excess water – leave for a few minutes.

7.  Prepare the vinaigrette – place the oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper in a jar. Seal with a lid and shake well.  Set aside.

8.  Remove the stem from the kale, mustard and chard, and roughly chop, then lightly saute in a skillet, turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes until just wilted.

9.  Place in a large salad bowl, pour over the vinaigrette, add the cooked dal and toss gently.  The heat from the dal will help soften the leaves even more – set aside for the flavours to come together while the vegetables are still roasting.


10.  When the vegetables are ready, add them to the marinated greens and dal and gently combine. Garnish the top with a large avocado, sliced and spread out into a fan, then add a few good rounds of freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.


Goodness shared by Stacey

Aytana’s winter warming dal

14th December 2014


When we hold workshops, we host up to 12 people staying in our home and up to 16 – 20 for dinner, I draw up a timetable/roster and everyone signs up for their turn at cooking, cleaning, lighting the oil burner, refreshing flowers and the general cleanliness of the yoga room over the course of the 10-day seminar. This way all the cooking and stress is evenly distributed, and I also get to enjoy the workshop – but the best part is that I get to be inspired by other amazing cooks and enjoy their creations.


“What we have learnt is a seed, it will grow to open a new world.”

Aytana’s Winter warming dal

This was a recipe which Aytana made one night – simple, smooth, creamy, quick and delicious. The key here is the blending/whisking of the dal at the end to create the soothing creaminess and the stewing of the tomatoes at the beginning. It is easy to digest and the light consistency makes it appealing in all seasons.  Depending on the season, I usually serve it with an okra or cabbage palya, a big bowl of steamed green beans and kale, and brown rice. Or in Summer accompanied by a crunchy salad.

Serves 4


1 cup yellow moong dal, split

4 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

for the voggarane

2 tsp ghee/oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

6 – 7 curry leaves

tsp finely chopped fresh chilli or 1 tsp of rasam powder

tsp asafoetida powder

1 cup ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 tsp rock salt

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped 


1.  Rinse the dal until the water runs clear, drain and add the ginger, turmeric, and 3 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat – simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until the dal is soft and has broken down.

prepare the voggarane

2.  While the dal is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the cumin seeds and fry until they brown.

3.  Add asafoetida powder, curry leaves, chilli and fry for 20 seconds.

4.  Stir in the tomatoes and carrots, cover and allow the tomatoes to stew for 20 minutes, then add the cooked dal – simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Remove from heat and add salt, then beat with a wire whisk or using a hand blender, blend until smooth and creamy.

6.  Add coriander and stir to combine.  Garnish each portion with a twist of lemon and drizzling of ghee.


Goodness shared from Stacey

green mung dal with Indian spices (revisited)

16th March 2014


The following post was first published in June 2009 in the very beginning stages of our blog. We both love this dish, so thought we would update it and repost it.

Usually, I never know what I am going to cook until I venture into the garden and start picking, smelling, and just being present and then, the excitement and inspiration start to flow, followed by a sense of elation.

The idea of planting a seed, watching it grow, protecting it, then eating the result which was nurtured, fed and watered gives an extraordinary sense of completeness and purpose. A closer connection to a higher source.  A sense of joy.

This dish is a particular favourite.  Earthy and filling.  Usually, at this time of year, there is an abundance of spinach, kale or chard in the vegetable garden, which I steam lightly until emerald-green.  I try to keep the greens bursting with colour, flavour and nutrients by giving them very little cooking time.  Sometimes, if the zucchini’s need to be picked I use those instead of the beans, sweet peas in Spring or broccoli in the colder months.

This is also one of those dishes which will keep you warm and nourished in Winter and because of the unique nature of the beans – cooling in Summer.  Mung dal is easy to digest and in Ayurveda are considered medicinal, cleansing and one of the keys to a long, vibrant and healthy life.  Mung dal are also valued for their anti-inflammatory benefits and highly nutritious blood purifier.  By neutralizing toxins throughout the body, they are able to calm the mind and promote the healing of all diseases. They are high in protein, rich source of fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals.



Below, is a dry version I made recently by adding ½ brown round rice and ¾ cup mung beans/dal, adding less water until the water evaporates and the dal and rice are dry and cooked, adding the vegetable with the voggarane, lemon juice, fresh coconut and lemon zest.

mung dal with Indian spices

serves 3 – 4


½ cup/100g whole mung dal

4 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder


1 tsp ghee

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped

8 fresh curry leaves

1 whole green chilli, split

½ cup coconut, freshly grated 

handful green beans, finely chopped

350g fresh spinach/chard/kale

1 tsp fine rock salt

juice of 1 lemon

½ cup coriander leaves, chopped


1.  Wash the dal and place in a saucepan with water, add turmeric, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered until tender – about 30 minutes.  Just keep in mind you may need to add more water when cooking.   If using a pressure cooker, allow for three whistles and wait for the pressure to release.

2.  Wash the spinach or chard and steam until just wilted – set aside to cool then squeeze out excess moisture and chop finely – set aside.

prepare the voggarane

3.  In a small pan, heat the ghee, add cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves, and whole chilli; when the cumin seeds darken slightly, add the green beans and saute until just tender.

4.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, add spinach, salt, coconut and coriander. Turn off the heat and let the flavours steep for 5 minutes. Before serving, pour in the lemon juice, adjust more or less to taste.

Drizzle with ghee when serving.  Enjoy with a bowl of quinoa and oven-baked sweet potatoes or slices of pumpkin.


references –

Goodness shared from Stacey

toor dal, mung beans & fresh dill palya

6th November 2010

This is another dish that I made from Sandhya’s cookbook.  You could experiment with any combination of vegetables you have on hand.  What is so unique about this dish is the fresh, light taste of the dill and the soothing, softness of the just-cooked mung beans and toor dal.

The toor dal can be found in any Indian supermarket.

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photo’s from a previous India trip – Forest Hills, South India

toor dal, mung beans & dill palya

Serves 3 – 4


5 Tbsp toor dal 

5 Tbsp whole mung beans 

4 – 5 cups water

250g finely chopped green beans

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 bunch dill, chopped finely


1 Tbsp oil/ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

pinch asafoetida

1 red chilli

2 Tbsp fresh coconut, grated

1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)


1.  In a heavy-bottomed pot, place the water, toor dal and mung beans – cook for 30 mins.

2.  Add the vegetables – simmer for 5 minutes until they just become soft, but still have their freshness.

3.  Add salt to taste, then drain the water and set both water and vegetables aside.

The remaining broth can be consumed with a sprinkling of fresh pepper and a little lemon juice. This is heavenly!

4.  Prepare the voggarane, heat oil or ghee in a small pot, add the mustard seeds; when the seeds start to pop and splutter, add asafoetida, chilli – fry for a few seconds, then add the grated coconut.

5.  Pour the voggarane into the cooked vegetables and add finely chopped dill – mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Optional to add a generous squeeze with lemon.

Goodness shared from Stacey

sambar roast pumpkin soup

2nd August 2009


 While I have been defending my broccoli crop, my in-laws have also been battling with their own enemy, the possum.  They won their war and produced a magnificent crop of sweet, Kent pumpkins.  Perfect on their own roasted with a splash of olive oil, but even tastier as a soup with roasted sweet capsicums, baby carrots and tomatoes, dal and sambar powder.  I picked up the brightly coloured mini capsicums from the Farmer’s Markets, and they were just crying out to be roasted.  My initial plan was to use them in a roast vegetable dish, but as I am going away to the beach for two weeks, I ran out of time and they had to be used up.


roasted pumpkin & mini capsicum soup with sambar


500g pumpkin, peeled and cut in pieces

9 mini or small sweet capsicums, whole (mine were about 10cm in length)

1 bunch baby carrots, whole with tops cut off

20 cherry tomatoes, whole

½ cup split moong dal/red lentils

4 cups water

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp ghee/olive oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 whole red chilli, fresh or dried

2cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated

1 – 2 tsp sambar powder (I used 2 tsp of the MTR brand from Indian stores, use less if prefer a mild spice flavour)

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 Tbsp dried shredded coconut

1 Tbsp coconut sugar or 2 tsp palm sugar

salt to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 200C.

2.  Place pumpkin and whole capsicums on a baking paper-lined tray and the carrots and tomatoes on another.  Roast in oven until capsicums blacken slightly – about 30 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile bring dal, water and turmeric to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

4.  Remove roasted vegetables from oven, deseed, peel and dice capsicum and chop carrots into small pieces.

5.  Add roasted vegetables to dal and continue to simmer for a further 15 minutes or until all vegetables are soft, then puree the soup before adding the following spice mixture.

7.  Heat ghee/olive oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds; when seeds turn grey and pop, add chilli, ginger, cumin and sambar powder then add this mixture to soup along with the coconut and coconut sugar.

8.  Add salt to taste.  When ready to serve, remove whole chilli and serve with yoghurt if desired.


Shared goodness from Donna

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