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

chickpea sambar with pumpkin and celery

1st December 2013


I love Autumn

 and I am taking every opportunity to relish in its rain and

vibrant green,

the early morning dew and it’s amazing,



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It is enough. 


I am enough.

chickpea sambar with pumpkin and celery

When I make this to serve with dosa, I leave out the dal and add another cup of chickpeas, as the lessened water makes it a thick consistency for dosa.


1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped 

1 cup ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

3 cardamom pods

¼ cup moong dal/red lentils, well rinsed

2 stalks celery

2 medium carrots

1 cup pumpkin, finely chopped

1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar

½ tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp rock salt

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

sambar-coconut paste

1 – 2 tsp Sambar powder, moderately spiced

¼ cup dried shredded coconut

1 cup water


1 Tbsp ghee

1 tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves


1.   Drain the chickpeas and bring them to the boil in a deep pot of water – simmer for a 1 – 2 hours or until soft.

2.  Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot, when hot, add the turmeric, ginger and tomatoes, lightly crush the cardamom pods and stir them in.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning – the liquid from the tomatoes keeps everything moist.

3.  Add the dal, celery, carrots, pumpkin and drained chickpeas along with 3 cups water, bring to boil, then turn down heat and simmer uncovered until dal is soft – 20 minutes.

prepare the sambar-coconut paste

4.  Place in a blender, the coconut and sambar powder with 1 cup water, blend into a smooth paste -1 minute.

5.  Add to dal and swish the blender clean using the liquid from the dal.

prepare the voggarane

6.  In a small pan, heat ghee, add the mustard seeds; when they turn grey and pop, add asafoetida, fry for a few seconds then add the curry leaves – fry until fragrant.

7.  Add to sambar, stir in the tamarind paste, jaggery, salt and coriander leaves. Taste, adding more tamarind, jaggery or salt, if needed.

Serve with brown basmati or in winter, whole barley.  Drizzle lavishly with ghee.  Serve with a lemon-dressed green, leafy salad with steamed broccoli and a sprinkling of sesame and pumpkin seeds.


Goodness shared from Stacey

sambar moong dal

19th October 2009


Last week I was on school camp and the food on offer was very different from my usual staple dishes.  So, by Friday running on a diet high in carbs (lots of potatoes and processed bread) and fat (creamy, cheesy, oily dishes), my system was suffering.   So, one of Stacey’s dal was very much-needed.  Light, fresh and full of flavour.  The dal I decided upon is my current favourite variation of all of Stacey’s dal recipes.  Using her Golden Dal recipe as a base, I added Sambar powder when heating the spices and adjusted a few of the ingredients.

Using the basic recipe model in Stacey’s dal she has included on our blog, there is a lot of scope for variation in the spices and vegetables used.  These minor changes allow this very easy cooking model become a treasure trove of new dishes, that are also healthy and inexpensive.

There are two basic steps to cooking a dal successfully.  One, simmering the dal of choice in water and turmeric with any hard vegetables, then adding softer vegetables towards the end.  Ginger can also be added at this stage or it can be fried with the spices. Two, warming the spices to allow flavours to develop, by heating the mustard seeds until they pop then adding others of choice.  Coconut, palm/jaggery/coconut sugar, salt and pepper are added at the end, adjusting for taste.  Just before serving, coriander is added is so desired. 


sambar moong dal

½ cup split moong dal

2½ cups water

1 tsp turmeric

1 Roma tomato (finely chopped)

1 tsp ghee/olive oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger

1 tsp sambar powder

1 red chilli (fresh or dried)

2 Tbsp coconut (fresh or dried)

1 Tbsp coconut sugar/palm/unrefined brown sugar

handful finely chopped fresh coriander

salt to taste


1.  Combine the moong dal, water and turmeric in a saucepan, bring to boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until dal is soft and fully cooked.

2.  Add the tomato and stir.

3.  Heat ghee/oil in a small saucepan, when it is hot, toss in the mustard seeds, allow to turn grey and pop, then add the cumin seeds, ginger, sambar powder and chilli.  Heat through to allow ginger to soften.

4.  Pour this into the dal, add the coconut, sugar, salt to taste and fresh coriander.

Serve with rice.

Shared goodness from Donna

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

south Indian sambar with vegetables

25th June 2009

Sambar is another Indian dish I regularly make, serving it with dosa or rice.   You can experiment with any seasonal vegetables you have on hand or whatever is abundant in your garden. Whole green mung beans can be used instead of yellow lentils.

south Indian sambar with vegetables

Toor Dal is a yellow split lentil with a slightly sweet taste. Try to buy the polished variety, which has a quicker cooking time.  If you do not have toor dal, use split moong dal.  I kept the vegetables chunky to give it real substance. Sambar Powder, jaggery (Indian sugar), fresh curry leaves, and tamarind paste can be bought from any Indian store.

preparation – 45 minutes

serves 3 – 4  


½ cup toor dal or yellow split moong

4 – 6 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp ghee/oil

1 medium carrot (cut into rounds)

1 medium zucchini (cut into large chunks)

½ red bell pepper (roughly chopped)

a handful of beans (finely chopped)

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery/sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

fresh coriander

sambar – coconut paste

1½ heaped tsp sambar powder (or more to taste)

1 tsp tamarind concentrate

¼ cup shredded dried coconut

1 cup water


2 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)


1.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, wash the dal until the water runs clear; add water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, then add the vegetables.

2.  Simmer until the dal breaks down and the vegetables are soft – about 30 minutes.  If it becomes too dry, add a little water.

sambar – coconut paste

3.  Place in an upright blender the dried coconut, tamarind paste, sambar powder and 1 cup water – blend into a smooth paste – approximately 1 minute. 

4.  Pour into the dal and use a cup of the liquid from the dal to swish the blender clean. 


5. Heat the ghee in a small pan; when hot, add the mustard seeds, wait until they splutter and pop, then add the curry leaves and asafoetida.

6.  Pour the voggarane over the dal, add the jaggery, salt – mix and, cover with a lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to come together.

7.  Stir in the coriander. Taste and adjust by adding more tamarind, jaggery and salt.


Goodness shared by Stacey

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