Let's talk about moong daal, baby.
August 22, 2009 9:40 AM   Subscribe

What do I do with two pounds of moong daal that's been sitting in my refrigerator for three months? I'm a hopeless cooking noob on a budget, and I can't really grasp what this stuff even is.

A lot of you are probably rolling your eyes at this parade of stupid questions, but my cooking expertise consists of chopping up hot dogs and putting them in rudimentary stews. Google has failed me on *all* of these questions, which makes this new scary ingredient even scarier.

1. What exactly is this stuff? These small yellow beans(?) look a lot more like these yellow split peas than like these green mung beans and this recipe was one of the first things that came up when I googled "moong daal". The second result is the wikipedia for mung beans. Huh?

2. After three months (at least) in the fridge, is this stuff even still good? There's no information on the packaging at all except "moong daal" and "keep refrigerated", and they were gifted to me by a friend when she moved. I guess a more pertinent question would be, once they're open, do I have to use them up quickly?

3. OK, so what do I do with it? I guess the mung bean vs. split pea question will clear this up and allow me to follow recipes on the internet, but feel free to offer any cheap, simple, easy fun recipes you might have. I have garlic, cumin and tumeric on hand but I can't afford tons of fresh ingredients. I mean, a tomato and a ginger root, sure, but nothing beyond my elementary budget and skill level please. What recipes do you like? (Bonus points for flexible recipes that would allow me to throw in ingredients I know, like spinach or celery, but I know this may be asking too much...)

Thanks everyone!
posted by Muffpub to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you try reading the Wikipedia page? First paragraph: "The split bean is known as moong dal, which is green with the husk, and yellow when dehusked."
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 AM on August 22, 2009

Um, yeah. I figured it was more likely to be split mung beans, but the fact that the #1 daal recipe on google called for split peas confused me, particularly when they look so similar. Which is why I'm asking.
posted by Muffpub at 9:53 AM on August 22, 2009

"Dal" or "daal" refers to legumes that have been hulled and split. So "moong dal" refers to husked, split moong beans. "Chana dal" refers to husked, split chickpeas (chana). Split peas are, therefore, also a kind of dal; they're just one that's used more commonly in western cooking.
posted by redfoxtail at 9:59 AM on August 22, 2009

Basically, you boil them and season them them. Takes about an hour. You can find a zillion recipes on the net for indian dal, but you can also make Turkish lentil soup mercimek out of it. Freeze it in plastic containers. As long as you remember to cook them on a small flame and stir them so they don't burn, and remember that they will thicken when they get cool, you can't really make a mistake.
posted by zaelic at 9:59 AM on August 22, 2009

I went for dinner with a friend, she ordered the set four-course dinner, and when they plunked lentil soup in front of me I thought I am paying money to eat boring lentil-tomato soup? Seriously?

It was probably the best soup I've ever had in a restaurant, made it at home several times. Advice:
-fresh parsley sprinkled on top and stirred in just before serving; don't add before freezing. -Same with the lemon, the soup really needs the freshness of the parsley and lemon (you can serve the lemon as wedges on the soup plate if you like so guests can add the lemon to taste)
-adjust the spices so they're as warm as you can tolerate
-warm the paprika in an equal amount of oil and mix it with a tiny bit cream/sour cream/plain yogurt, and add a dollop of the resulting mixture to the top. It looks really nice if you have company

So. Delicious. And absolutely wonderful when you come home on a chilly summer or frigid winter day.
posted by variella at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

PS: smell them, and if they're musty or anything, pitch them. If they smell ok, eat a couple. If they taste okay, they're good. They smell a lot like stale rice when past their due date, and the taste will permeate anything you cook.
posted by variella at 11:27 AM on August 22, 2009

This is the best dal recipe known to man.
posted by jcruelty at 11:56 AM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

This is the best dal recipe known to man.

Just be aware that moong dal takes longer to cook (and will need more water, though you can add it as needed) than red lentils/masoor dal, as called for in that recipe.
posted by redfoxtail at 12:17 PM on August 22, 2009

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