Cardamom Scented Moong Dal Tadka – Tempered Yellow Lentils Soup Recipe with step by step photos. One of the best parts about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to make. Just a handful of simple ingredients, a pressure cooker, and a pan and gluten-free, vegan dal is ready. Perfect for busy weeknights.
Today I want to share an amazingly delicious, comforting and a simple recipe from my Mom.
She is such a creative person when it comes to cooking. Her meals are filled to the brim with health, deliciousness and they make you feel satisfied.
She always comes up with the quickest and the newest ways of cooking particular dishes. No wonder I got this cooking and exploring genes from my Mom. And I must say I am just her reflection in exploring new dishes everyday. 😉
For all of us, Mom’s food is the BEST. Same with me. My Mom’s food is just finger-licking good. She makes very delicious dishes and everyone just loves her simple and quick meal ideas. Her cooking style is quite versatile. Like she keeps changing her cooking methods. Means, she would keep making the same dishes with new creative styles. And that’s why we were not really bored of her everyday meals! She is really good at this cooking creativity. 😉
A couple of years back when I visited India, my Mom made this lentils dish.
When I was young, I never loved yellow lentils. But my Dad loves yellow lentils. So during my last visit she made yellow lentils for my Dad, in addition to my favorites for lunch. While having lunch, I asked to my mom, “Mom, what’s that dal. Smells really nice.”
Mom: “Really? But you don’t like it.”
Me: “Why? I want to taste that. The aroma is filling my nostrils. Can’t resist, I need to eat that.”
Mom: “But, that’s yellow moong dal and you never ate that. Not even a single spoon.”
Me: “I don’t know, I just want to eat that.”
Mom: “Alright, but don’t tell me later, that I didn’t warn you”.
Me: “Ya, ya! I won’t.”
And I took a spoonful in my mouth. “Mmmm, this is different in a good way. It doesn’t taste like the one you used to make earlier.”
Mom: “It’s the same dal. The only difference here is that I added ground cardamom to this. But this is also not the first time I am adding cardamom to dal.”
Me: “Really? I think as if I am eating this dal for the very first time. And from now on this is my new favorite.”
Mom: “Oh! Wow! So glad to see that you finally started eating yellow dal”.
Me: “I think you didn’t hear me properly. No any other yellow dal. I said, this and only this one is my new FAVORITE.”
Mom: “Okay, okay! Alright!”
And we both laughed, and enjoyed the rest of the lunch.
A little intro about Dals:
Dal (lentils) and rice is a humble, comforting, every day meal in India. I grew up eating a wide range of dals (lentils), and this yellow lentil was my least favorite as you know by now.
Growing up, one of my favorite dishes my mom would make us was a simple dal-chawal (rice-lentils). It was always so comforting, and I think it still is the best when it comes to comfy meals.
Slurping through the dal coated steamed rice is truly the definition of comfort food for most Indians. Oh gosh! What a gleeful feeling is that.
In my family, dal was an everyday affair. No matter what other side dish is, one dish with lentils, and beans would be there. Well, I must say this was my family thing.
But all of vegetarians who belong from India will tell you that they have some form of dal at least twice or thrice a week.
There are many other recipes I have shared earlier:
- Chana Dal,
- Cholar Dal,
- Classic Black Eyed Pea Curry in Pepper Onion Gravy
- DAL BUKHARA,
- Dal Makhani,
- Panchmel Dal
- Red Cabbage Zucchini Chana Dal
- Roasted Zucchini Garlic with Spiced Split Bengal Gram
- Urad Dal,
But, cardamom into lentils? Really?
Yes, lentils!! It’s so good. Touch of cardamom makes this golden yellow dal more classic.
Cardamom adds such a nice flavor to lentils. And when mixed with chopped garlics and onions, and dried red chili, it’s one of its kind. A perfect light and healthy dinner for any time of the year. Mmmmm, a mild yellow moong dal with a hint of freshly grounded cardamom. Just AWESOME.
If you’re looking to make this dish a little more heartier, I recommend using olive oil for instead of clarified butter (ghee). I seriously LOVE this ‘Cardamom Scented Moong Dal Tadka – Tempered Yellow Lentils Soup’.
One of the best parts about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to make. Just a handful of simple ingredients, a pressure cooker, and a pan. Perfect for busy weeknights, and SO perfect for these cool nights which some of you might be experiencing like me.
It’s been raining here for the last few days. Yes, it’s dark and getting colder. Especially the nights. And what we all need is a nice, cozy and comfy meal in this situation. So the point is that this is healthy comfort food at its best, so it’s perfect for one of those cool days of fall.
Most cooks can blindly make dal. Some lentils, water, salt, a few spices, and a pressure cooker. That is all you need.
What really makes an Indian dal to stand out from a lentil soup is the tadka (tempering), a technique of adding spices and flavour to the hot oil that’s poured on a piping hot dal. Tempering gives a nice and distinct flavor to dals.
The tadka/tempering is made in a separate pan with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped garlic, chopped onions and dried red chili. And the sizzling tempering is poured immediately over the piping hot lentils.
This is one the most basic dals which I make for my everyday’s dinner.
And I hardly use any measurement for this. I can even make this dal in my sleep virtually. That’s the beauty of this. It’s so simple, comfy and hearty dish.
Making Dal is a very basic thing. But all the recipes would be different. I think everybody’s favorite dal would would be the one they grew up eating. All dals are different in terms of lentil, tempering and consistency.
But in my case, I love all different types of dals. Remember I told you about my Mom’s cooking versatility, so I probably might have tasted every single type of dal. I see that as an advantage. 🙂
See, I love the ones which have the red chili powder, and I also love the ones which have green chili. I love no onion garlic version, and I also love ones with onion-garlic. 😉
Serve this dal as a soup, or as a main dish with some steamed rice, naan or with any of your favorite flat bread. But my personal favorite accompaniment to the dal is the steamed rice. Or if I am in a hurry, a good tortilla does the wonder.
Let’s learn to make this hearty ‘Cardamom Scented Moong Dal Tadka – Tempered Yellow Lentils Soup’.
Wash the yellow moong dal in running water and soak for about 20-25 min till the dal becomes soft.
In a pressure cooker add soaked moong dal, turmeric powder and water and cook for about 5 mins or till you see foam on the top. Remove this foam gently with the help of a ladle. Add salt, coriander powder, asafetida and chopped tomatoes. Cover the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles on high heat. Remove from heat. Let the pressure come off.
Open the lid and add ground cardamom to it. Whisk slightly to mash and cook it covered on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and mix well. Remove from heat. Dal is ready now.
Heat ghee in a small saucepan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chilies. When they start to splutter add ginger, garlic and chopped onions. Saute for 5 minutes. Add garam masala powder, and cook for 3 more minutes. Pour this tempering over hot dal.
- split yellow lentils (moong dal) - 1 cup
- water - 4.5 cups
- dried red chilies - 2
- tomato, roughly chopped - 1
- cardamom powder - 2 tsp
- salt to taste
- pinch of asafetida
- turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- coriander powder - 2 tsp
- lemon juice - 1 tsp
- oil or ghee - 2 tbsp
- garlic, crushed - 2-3 large cloves
- cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- ginger paste - ¼ tsp
- onion, finely chopped - 1
- garam masala - ⅛ tsp
- chopped coriander leaves
- Wash the yellow moong dal in running water and soak for about 20-25 min till the dal becomes soft.
- In a pressure cooker add soaked moong dal, turmeric powder and water and cook for about 5 mins or till you see foam on the top.
- Remove this foam gently with the help of a ladle. Add salt, coriander powder, asafetida and chopped tomatoes.
- Cover the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles on high heat.
- Remove from heat. Let the pressure come off.
- Open the lid and add ground cardamom to it.
- Whisk slightly to mash and cook it covered on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and mix well.
- Remove from heat. Dal is ready now.
- Heat ghee in a small saucepan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chilies. When they start to splutter add ginger, garlic and chopped onions. Saute for 5 minutes. Add garam masala powder, and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Pour this tempering over hot dal. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
If you cook this dish, be sure to tag your photo with this hashtag: #mggk
Happy Cooking and Keep Sharing! 🙂
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.