I learned to cook Indian food in NYC through a workshop I took at the NYC Botanical Gardens in the late 1990’s. I had taken an Ayurvedic course a few weeks earlier. It was all part of exploring why since as far back as I can remember I have loved the Indian culture. At 42, I am only starting to figure it out. I can say everything just feels familiar and wonderful to me. From the music to the food. I am a missed placed Irish lass that somewhere must have some Hindi roots.
The thing I found most fascinating about cooking Indian food was how we were to add the spices first to the pot. I don’t know about you but I always learned to season my food last. But this has a profound way of seasoning the food. It’s wonderful. But I have to say this as a warning. If your new to Indian cooking, watch out for the steam that comes off the spices when they are in the pot. I have made the mistake of inhaling them and well we can just say that I had my sinuses cleared out.
I wanted to make a Moong Dal, which is a spicy mung bean dish. I took a recipe I had and changed it around to be easy for a night I didn’t have much time. I used sprouted mung beans. See if you buy mung beans you will need to soak them over night. If I don’t set an alarm to remind me, I will not remember to soak beans. I am downright horrible at it. I am the type of person who wakes up in the morning and goes “Oh no I forgot to soak my beans!” and before I have breakfast am up boiling water, doing my cheat method to soak beans before I need to cook dinner. Yes, if your wondering I do tend to wake up thinking about food and what I might cook that day. Using sprouted beans meant I didn’t have to remember to soak the night before (but I still woke up thinking I forgot oddly enough) and was able to cook them up quickly following the directions on the back of the package.
Sprouted Spicy Moong Dal
- 1 cup sprouted dry mung beans
- 2 teaspoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 to 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 1 -inch piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno green chilies, finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Cook the sprouted mung beans according to the package and set aside.
2 .Heat the ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and stir for a minute or two. Next add the ground spices, stir for about 15 seconds, and then add the onion, ginger and green chillies to the pan. Fry until the onion wilts and begins to brown. (this is where you don’t really want to breath in the steam like mentioned above)
3. Next add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and mung beans along with 1 cup of water. Simmer for about 20- 25 mins untill the liquid is mostly absorbed. Have a little taste and check for seasoning. Then add in cilantro and stir.
I serve this with brown basmati rice and greens. You could serve it also with Naan bread and a salad as well.
I wanted to share a couple of videos I found on YouTube that will give you look at Little India in NYC . The first one explains a little of why food can be medicine. Sometimes we just need to check out the cabinet for a cure for what ails us.
Untill next time,