Dride Beans, Peas and Lentils

          India, a land rich in dry beans, peas and lentils, supplies to its general; populous a diet high in protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber.  These beans, peas and lentils are classified as legumes, i.e., plants having pods with edible seeds used fresh or dried.  Dried legumes can be stored whole or split, and when split they are called dals.  The word dal has a common connotation for all Indians, meaning a soup-like preparation made from any leguminous plant.  Dal is generally served with Indian bread or rice, and sometimes it is eaten straight from the bowl as soup.

          Legumes are enjoyed by everyone because of its nutty taste and soft texture and occupy a very prominent place in Indian cuisine because of its low cost and high nutritive value.  If the meals are properly supplemented with complementary proteins, one could get a well-balanced diet inexpensively.  Realizing this, people starts including them in their daily meals.  Their flavorful,. Delicious and versatile quality led to the creation of countless recipes thus enriching the vegetarian cooking with its wonderful varieties.  Dried beans,. Peas and lentils are cooked as a vegetable or with vegetables and sometimes combined with protein foods to make a main dish,. Or a side dish like a dip.  Legumes are cooked in many different ways by different cuisine�s, i.e., by mashing,. Mixing, pureeing, stuffing or baking.  When one becomes familiar with the cooking methods,. Once can create innumerable recipes according to one�s choice and liking.

         Though legumes are high in protein value, they are considered incomplete as they lack one or more of the eight essentials; amino acids which are necessary for our growth.  As such, proteins consist of 22 amino acids, out of which 14 are made, in the body and eight are to be derived from the plant protein.  Plants like nuts, cereals, beans, peans and lentils are high in protein.  To make complete proteins they must be judicially combined with each other so that they can supply all of the eight amino acids necessary for a healthy and strong body.  But the question is how to combine foods to make a complete protein?  So, for the benefit of the readers a chart is given to help plan a complete protein meal; for yourself and your family.

       Note: All the dried bean, peas and lentils must be picked over carefully before cooking because it has foreign particles and sometimes tiny stones.  They must also be washed thoroughly before cooking.  If you do not have the beans, peas or lentils, the recipe calls for try to substitute with the ones available in the market.  But make sure that split lentils are substituted with split peas.  I am sure your recipes will taste delicious and you will add new recipes to your collection.

Mung Dal Delight

(Marvari mung ni dal) 

1 cup mung dal                                   2 Tblsp ghee, butter, or oil

2 cups water                                       1 medium tomato, chop fine

� tsp cumin seeds                              1 small capsicum, chop fine

1 Tbisp coriander-cumin powder      Salt to taste

� tsp turmeric                                    Juice of � lemon

� tsp hing                                          1 tsp chopped coriander leaves

                                                                    for garnish (optional) 

1.     Pick over and wash the dal.  Cover with water just above above the level of the dal and soak for approximately half and hour.

2.     Add 2 cups of water to the dal.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Turn down the heat and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

3.     In a separate pan heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds.  As the seeds start to brown, add all the dry spices.  Saute the spice mixture for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and capsicum.  Saute for 3 minutes.  Add this mixture top the dal.

4.     Add salf and lemon juice to the dal and cook for another 10 minutes.

5.     Garnish  with coriander leaves (optional)

                                                       Server 4-6 

Spiced Mung Beans

(Masala mung) 

1 cup mung beans                                  � tsp turmeric

2 cups water                                          1 Tblsp ground coriander-cumin

1 tsp cumin seed                                   Salt to taste

2 Tblsp ghee or butter or oil                  1 tsp lemon juice

� tsp hing                                              � teaspoon chopped ginger root

1 tsp paprika                                          1 tsp chopped coriander leaves

                                                               or parsley

1.     Pick over and wash the mung beans.  Soak beans overnight in water just enough to cover the beans.

2.     Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

3.     Add spices and all; the other ingredients. Cook for 15-20 minutes until beans are soft and cooked.

4.     Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (or parsley).

                                                         Serves 4-6

Quick soaking method rebydrates dried beans in little more than one hour.  Bring the beans and water for soaking to a boil.  Boil for two minutes.  Remove from heat and cover the pot.  Let stand in water for one hour and cook the beans.  The beans can spoil if they stand in hot water soaked for 2 top 3 hours.

Mung, Udad and Chana Dal

(Trevati Dal) 

� cup mung dal                                       1 tsp garam masala

� cup udad dal                                   � tsp turmeric

� cup chana dal                                 1 tsp grated ginger root

3 cups water                                       Salt to taste

2 Tblsp oil                                          1 green chilli, chop small (opt)

2 tsp cumin seeds                                 4 heaping tsp yogurt 

1.     Pick over and wash dals thoroughly.  Place the dals in a pot with water, bring to a boil; and simmer for 20 minutes, covered.

2.     Heat the oil; in a small saucepan and brown cumin seeds.  Add spices and fry for 1 minute.

3.     Add fried spices to the cooked dals.  Add chopped green chilli (optional) and mix well.  Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

4.     Season with salt.

5.     Serve in individual bowls.  Top each bowl of dal; with 1 heaping teaspoon of yogurt.

                                          Serves 4-6 

To grate fresh ginger root use a hand grater.  Peel the ginger opf its bark-like skin with a knife.  Using a grater with small holes, grate or shred the peeled ginger.  If your grater has several whole sizes use the side with the smallest holes.

Split Lentil Dal

(Masur dal)

1 cup masur dal                                         � tsp cayenne (optional)

3 cups water                                               1 medium tomato, chopped fine

1 Tblsp minced ginger root                       2 Tblsp coriander leaves,

2 Tblsp ghee or oil                                      chopped fine

� tsp cumin seeds                                                Salt to taste

� tsp paprika  

1.     Carefully pick over the dal; and wash thoroughly in warm water until the water runs clear.

2.     Place the dal in a saucepan, add water and ginger and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the sheet to low and simmer, partially covered,. For 20 minutes or until the dal; is tender but still intact.

3.     In a separate saucepan, heat the ghee or oil.  Add the cumin seeds and reduce heat to low.

4.     When the cumin seeds starts to brown, add the turmeric, paprika and cayenne (optional) Add the tomato and saute the mixture for 5 minute.  Add this oil mixture to the cooking dal.

5.     Add salt,. Lemon juice and 1 Tblsp of coriander leaves top the dal; and mix well.

6.     Cook the dal on low heat.  Covered, for another 15 minutes or until the dal falls apart.

7.     Garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves and serve.

                         Serve 4-6



1 cup lentils                                                         1 tsp paprika

2 cups water                                               2 tsp grated ginger root

1 Tblsp oil                                                  1 medium tomato, chopped

� tsp turmeric                                            2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp ground coriander-cumin                             Salt to taste


1.     Rinse lentils thoroughly and drain.

2.     Soak lentils in water to cover for a minimum of 4 hours.

3.     Bring lentils to a boil with 2 cups of water.  Add oil spices, ginger and simmer on low heat, covered, for approximately 20 minutes.

4.     When the lentils are soft, add tomatoes,. Lemon juice and salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered,. Till the tomatoes are soft.

                                     Serves 4-6

Black-Eyed Beans


1 cup uncooked black-eyed beans                    1 tsp garam masala

4 cups water                                                1 heaped Tblsp finely

3 Tblsp oil                                                       chopped ginger

� tsp turmeric                                              3 Tblsp chopped coriander laves

� tsp hing                                                     5-6 curry leaves, chopped (opt)

2 tsp ground coriander-cumin                               1 green chilli, cut into 2 pieces

1 tsp paprika                                               Salt to taste

Make a paste of:

                   2 Tblsp plain yogurt

                   1 � Tblsp chick-pea flour (besan)

1.     Wash and soak beans in enough water to cover for at least 4 hours.

2.     Cook the beans in a pressure cooker or add 4 cups of water and cook beans for 45 minutes or until; tender.  Add more hot water if necessary.

3.     In a heavy pan, heat the oil.  Add the turmeric, hing, coriander-cumin power, garam masala and fry lightly

4.     Add chopped curry leaves, coriander leaves, ginger and chilli and saute lightly.  Add salt and mix well.

5.     Add the cooked beans and the yogurt/chick-pea flour paste to the spice mixture.  Stir well.  Turn heat to low and cook, covered for 10 minutes.

                     Serves 4-6

A tip to remember: When cooking any beans, lentils or peas do peas do not add any ingredients which are acidic (e.g., lemon, tomatoes, vinegar) during cooking time.  It retards the cooking and softening process.  Only when beans are done add the acidic ingredients.

Chana Tuver Dal

1 cup tuver dal                                           3 tsp ground coriander-cumin

� cup chana dal                                         1 small green pepper, chopped

5 cups water                                              1 medium tomato, chopped

3 Tblsp oil                                                  1 Tblsp Shredded coconut

1 tsp mustard seeds                                        (fresh or desiccate)

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp hing                                                          2 tsp lemon juice

� tsp turmeric                                            1 Tblsp coriander leaves,

� tsp paprika                                              chopped


1.     Pick over and clean dal.  In a large colander, wash the dal under warm water until water runs clear.

2.     Bring 5 cups of water and the dal to a boil in a pan.  Reduce the heat to very low, cover pan partially and simmer for half an hour or until dal is tender.

3.     In a separate pan, heat oil.  Add mustard seeds.  When the seeds start to pop, add cumin, hing, turmeric, paprika, coriander-cumin powder, chopped pepper and tomatoes, coconut and salt.  Saute together for 5 minutes.  Mix well.  Add to the simmering dal.

4.     Add lemon juice and coriander leaves.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.

                                       Serves 4-6

Five-Lentil Mix

(Punch kuti dal)

� cup chana dal                                       � cup masur dal

� cup green mung dal                               2 Tblsp ghee or oil

� cup tuver dal                                          2 medium tomatoes, chopped

� cup udad dal                                           4 cups water

Grind to a paste in a coffee grinder or food processor:

1 Tblsp coriander seeds                                      1 tsp turmeric

� tsp cumin seeds                                                1 Tblsp coriander leaves

� tsp ground cinnamon                                       � inch piece fresh ginger root

1/8 tsp ground cloves                                 1/8 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp paprika                                              2 Tblsp water

                                                                   Salt to taste

1.     Rinse the dals thoroughly and drain.  Cook the dals in 4 cups of water until soft and mushy.

2.     Heat ghee or oil in a pan.  Add tomatoes and saute for a few seconds.  Add ground spices and cook for another 5 minutes.

3.     Bring the cooked dal to a boil.  Lower the heat.  Add fried spice mixture.  Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mix well and serve.

                                           Serves 4-6

Mung Dal with Vegetables

(Shak vali mung ni dal)

1 cup mung dal                                           5 ounces spinach, chopped

2 cups water                                              � med.  Cauliflower, separated

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                      into small flowerets

1 Tblsp ground coriander-cumin               2 Tblsp oil

1 tsp paprika                                              Salt to taste

� tsp garam masala                                  Juice of � lemon

� tsp turmeric                                            1 tsp chopped coriander leaves

� tsp hing (optional)                                     for garnish

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1.     Clean and wash the dal thoroughly.

2.     In a saucepan, cook the dal in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes.

3.     Add spices, ginger, spinach, cauliflower and oil to the dal and mix well. Bring to a boil; and cook, covered for 20 minutes no low heat.

4.     Garnish with chopped coriander before serving.

                                       Serves 4-6

Split Pigeon Peas No. 1

(Tuver Dal)

1 cup tuver dal (oily)                                  � tsp paprika

3 cups water                                              � tsp chopped, ginger root

2 Tblsp ghee, butter or oil                         � tsp coriander leaves,

� tsp hing                                                     chopped (optional)

� tsp turmeric                                            salt to taste

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                1 medium tomato, chopped

1 tsp mustard seeds                                   1 tsp lemon juice

1.     Wash tuver dal thoroughly and drain.

2.     Place the tuver dal and cold water in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and maintain a medium-to-low boil.

3.     When tuver dal is almost soft (half cooked) add the oil, spices ginger root, coriander leaves (optional) and salt.  Cook till tuver dal; becomes very soft and falls apart.

4.     Add the tomatoes and lemon juice.  Mix well and serve.

                                  Serves 4-6

If, by mistake, you have added extra salt to a dish just add slices of raw potato, it will absorb the salt.

 Mung Beans with Yogurt

(Dahiwala Mung)

1 cup mung beans                                                Salt to taste

2 cups water                                              4 tsp maple syrup

2 Tblsp ghee or charified butter                         4 tsp firmly packed, grated

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                   fresh coconut

1 Tblsp ground coriander                           � cup yogurt

1 tsp paprika                                              �  cup chickpea flour

1 tsp turmeric                                            4 tsp loosely packed, chopped,

1/8 tsp hing                                                            fresh coriander

1.     Soak beans overnight in water just enough to cover the beans (or soak at least 5-6 hours).

2.     Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

3.     In a saucepan heat the butter.  Add the cumin seeds.  Cook briefly, stirring. Add the ground coriander, paprika, turmeric and hing.  Stir, and add the mixture to the beans.  Add half the coconut chopped fresh coriander, salt and maple syrup.  Bring to a boil and cover, Simmer over low heat, about 20 minutes or until beans are tender.  Stir occasionally to redistribute the heat so that they cook evenly.

4.     Heat the yogurt in a small pan until lukewarm.  Add the chickpea flour to the yogurt and mix well.  Add this paste to the mung beans.  Cook for 5-7 minutes and turn off the heat.

5.     Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with remaining coconut and coriander.

                                                    Serves 4-6

Masala Lentils

(Masala Masur)

1 cup lentils (green or brown)                             1 Tblsp coriander leaves or

4 cups of water                                            parsley , chopped

4 Tblsp ghee of butter                               � tsp cayenne (optional)

Salt to taste                                                         2 large tomatoes, chopped

Grind to a paste:

1 � inch piece of fresh                               1 tsp cumin seed

  ginger root                                               1 tsp poppy seeds

2 tsp coriander seed                                  2 Tblsp desiccated coconut

1.     Pick over and wash lentils.  Soak in enough water to cover for at least 2 hours. 

2.     Add 4 cups of water cook covered until the lentils are tender but still intact, approximately, 20-30 minutes.

3.     While the lentils cook, grind all the paste ingredients in a coffee mill or food processor until it becomes a paste.

4.     Heat the ghee or butter in a separate saucepan.  Add the paste and fry for about 3 minutes.  Add the paste mixture to the cooked lentils.  Season with salt and cook for another 5 minutes.

5.     Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.

                                             Serves 4-6

Split and Shelled Black Udad Beans

(Udad dal)

1 cup udad dal                                           � tsp chili powder (optional)

4 cups water                                              Salt to taste

1 Tblsp oil                                                  1 Tblsp finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                 coriander leaves

� tsp turmeric                                            2 Tblsp fresh lemon juice1.     Wash and drain the udad dal.

2.     In a medium size pot bring the water to a boil and add the dal.  When the dal; starts boiling, lower the heat and cook covered for 20 minutes or until the dal when pressed between two fingers is easily mashed.

3.     In a small pan heat the oil.  Add the cumin seeds.  When the cumin seeds start browning,. Add the turmeric and chili powder (optional) and add this oil mixture to the simmering dal.

4.     Add salt, coriander leaves and lemon juice to the dal.  Let the spiced dal simmer for 10 more minutes. Stir frequently.

5.     Turn off the heat and serve with chapatis, rice and okra vegetables.

                                                    Serves 4-6

Spicy Carrot Soup

3 Tblsp Basmati rice, steamed                            � cup water

  in � cup water                                                   1 tsp salt

1 cup sliced carrots                                   � cup light cream

1 tsp minced ginger root                                     � cup water

1 clove                                                        Sweet butter or ghee for garnish

� inch piece cinnamon stick          

1.     Pick over, wash and steam rice.

2.     Simmer carrots and spices in � cup water for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool and transfer to the container of an electric blender after removing the cinnamon stick.  Add salt and rice and blend thoroughly at high speed.  With blender still running, pour in the cream and remaining water.

3.     If necessary, put the soup through a sieve.

4.     Reheat the soup and serve hot in individual bowls, each bowl topped with a bit of sweet butter.

                                                  Serves 4-6

Yogurt Soup

(Gujarati Kadhi)

2 cups yogurt                                             4 � inch pieces of

3 Tblsp chick-pea flour                             stick cinnamon

  (gram flour)                                             2 cloves

4 cups water                                              1 tsp grated ginger

2 Tblsp ghee or oil                                     3 Tblsp radish chopped fine

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                � tsp hing

� tsp fenugreek seeds                               2 Tblsp chopped coriander leaves

                                                                   Salt to taste

1.     Mix the yogurt, flour and water in a blender.

2.     Add salt to the mixture, pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Lower heat and continue to let it cook until the kadhi is thick (approximately 15 minutes).

3.     In a separate pan, heat the oil.  Add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, radish and fry until lightly browned.  Add hing.

4.     Add the fried spice mixture and coriander leaves to the Kadhi and cook for another 15 minutes.

5.     Serve with a rice dish.

                                                   Serves 4-6

Spinach Soup

(Palak Soup)

10 ounces (1 bag) spinach                         8 Tblsp (1/2 cup) white sauce

2 cups water                                              Salt to taste

1 tsp peeled and chopped

    Fresh ginger root

White Sauce

2 Tblsp butter                                             1 cup milk

3 Tblsp flour                                              Salt and pepper to taste

1.      Melt butter.  Add flour.  Stir constantly and let mixture cook for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the milk and continue stirring until all the milk is added.

2.      Season with salt and pepper.  Continue simmering until sauce thickens.


1.     Cook spinach in 2 cups water until soft (about 15 minutes). Cool

2.     Blend cooled spinach and ginger at high speed (or put it through a sieve.)

3.     Reheat the spinach/ginger mixture, white sauce and salt.  Add water top desired thickness.

4.     Let soup simmer till ready to serve (approximately 10 minutes).

                                           Serves 4-6
Gujarati Dal Broth


� cup cooked tuver dal                                       � tsp hing

4  cups water                                             1 Tblsp chopped coriander leaves

2 tsp oil                                                      2 tsp lemon juice

� tsp cumin seeds                                                Salt to taste

� tsp turmeric                                            1 tsp gur or brown sugar

5-6 curry leaves (optional)

1.     Mix the dal and water in a pot and boil.

2.     In a separate pan, heat the oil.  Add cumin seeds and fry lightly.

3.     As the seeds brown, add hing, turmeric and curry leaves.  Add this spice mixture to the pot of boiling dal; and water.

4.     Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 top 15 minutes.

5.     Serve in individual bowls at the end of the meal.

                                              Serves 4-6