While many Indian bean dishes, known as dals, are thick and soupy, chef Suvir Saran of New York's Devi restaurant simmers the yellow mung beans here without stirring so they become fluffy, like a pilaf. To enhance the beans' natural buttery taste, he flavors them with a chile-and-cumin-scented butter, then tops the dish with sweet fried onions.
Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes
1 1/3 cups split yellow mung beans (10 ounces), soaked in water to cover for 1 hour
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups water
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 small dried red chiles, seeded and crumbled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 plum tomato, finely diced
How to Make It
Drain and rinse the mung beans. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the ginger and jalapeño and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mung beans, turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, without stirring, until the mung beans are tender and the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 325°. Add half of the sliced onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining onions.
In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the cumin seeds and dried chiles and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape the cumin-chile butter into the mung beans and stir in the lemon juice, cilantro and tomato; season with salt. Ladle the bean stew into bowls, top with the fried onions and serve.
The beans can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The fried onions can be refrigerated overnight. Crisp in a 350° oven for about 3 minutes.
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