Moong Dal with Zucchini and Coriander

26 Sep

Moong Dal with Zucchini

Moong dal pairs well with gourds: my much-clicked recipe of ridge gourd moong dal is ample proof of that. This recipe combines moong dal with another similar gourd – the zucchini – with some green leafy goodness added to the mix. It’s homey, light and lemony, the kind that inspires coinages such as “comfort food”.

Zucchini Moong Dal

Moong dal with zucchini broadly follows the template of an Ayurvedic soup recipe I found on YouTube, with a key departure in the sequencing of ingredients. I pre-boil the dal and mix in the veggies later. This method suits me better during weekday cooking, plus I prefer the color of the finished dish this way.

Moong Dal with Zucchini

You Need:

  • Yellow moong dal – 1 cup
  • Zucchini – 1
  • Spinach – 1 small bunch (1 cup of leaves when chopped)
  • Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch (1 cup of leaves when chopped)
  • Lime juice – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teapoon
  • Asafoetida powder – a pinch
  • Green chili – 1 (more if you like it hotter)
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch stick
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoons

Spinach, Zucchini, Lemon, Coriander

In the picture above: spinach, zucchini, Indian limes, coriander leaves, ginger.

How To Make Moong Dal with Zucchini and Coriander:

1. Boil the dal

Dry-roast moong dal in a pan or kadhai till it turns golden. Let the roasted dal cool to room temperature.

Roasting Moong Dal

Wash roasted moong dal in a few changes of water till the water is clear. Soak the dal in two cups of water for 20 minutes. Drain.

Roasted Moong Dal, Soaking

Cook the dal in water till soft. If using an Indian-style pressure cooker, boil a cup of moong dal in two cups of water till one whistle on high heat, then another whistle on low heat.

[I normally boil the dal ahead of time, refrigerate it and take it out for use just before making this zucchini moong dal.]

Moong Dal, Boiled

2. Chop the vegetables

Chop zucchini into 1-cm cubes.

Cut spinach into strips.

Peel and coarsely chop the ginger stick. Destem and chop the green chili.

3. Make the coriander ginger masala

Place the coriander leaves, chopped ginger and green chili in a grinder. [Note: Set a few sprigs of coriander leaves aside for adding at the end of cooking.]

Coriander, Ginger, Green Chilies


Coriander Ginger Paste

2. Cook it all together

In a pan, heat two teaspoons of ghee.

On low heat, add asafoetida powder. Give a quick stir and follow with the ground coriander-ginger-chili paste.

Cook the masala paste for 2-3 minutes.

Coriander Ginger Chili Paste, Cooking

Tip in chopped zucchini.

Zucchini Cubes, Cooking

Cook for 6-7 minutes on medium heat, or till the zucchini is 3/4th done.

Zucchini and Coriander, Cooking

Add boiled moong dal, chopped spinach leaves, turmeric powder and salt to the pan.

Moong Dal and Spinach, Zucchini

Mix well together. Add a cup (or more) of water to adjust the dal’s consistency to your liking.

Moong Dal with Zucchini

Bring to a boil. Simmer everything together for about five minutes or till the zucchini has softened and the spinach is done.

Dal with Zucchini and Spinach

Chop the remaining coriander leaves and add them to the cooked moong dal with zucchini.

Stir in freshly squeezed lime juice.

Moong dal with zucchini and coriander is ready. Serve hot on its own or as a side dish with chapatis/bread.

Moong Dal with Zucchini and Coriander

In the pic below: chapatis, plantain curry, moong dal with zucchini, spiced fried onions, green chili and lemon wedge.

Chapati with Three Curries


I’m nearly always replacing the exotic expensive zucchini with lauki or ridge gourd in my cooking. It gave me a good laugh to read this [When You Can’t Always Get What You Want… Get Zucchini] blog written from Sonoma’s Wine Country, in which the author says:

Zucchini are tricky. They’re everywhere this time of year and nearly all times of year, and they’re cheap […] what to do with it?! Cook it like the vegetable I do not have, that’s what. Cook it like ridged gourd.

What opposite worlds we live in!

Zucchini Moong Dal with Coriander

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