A Pakistani dining table staple in my home, moong daal is a simple and versatile addition to any meal. The lentils are boiled and then flavored with ghee or butter infused with spices. Tempering never fails to take me home to my mother's kitchen in Karachi, Pakistan. —Sumayya Usmani
moong daal (without husk), soaked for 10 minutes before cooking
red chile powder
Salt, to taste
ghee or butter (mixed with 1 tbsp oil)
Drain the moong lentil and add to a saucepan. Cover with water and add turmeric, cinnamon stick, and red chile powder and allow to come to the boil.
When it reaches a boil, turn low, skim any froth, and allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft and cooked through. If the lentils dry up, add a little water as they cook. The end result should be the consistency of thick soup.
When cooked, place in a serving bowl and prepare the tempering. In a small frying pan, heat the ghee.
Add the cumin seeds allow to splutter, add the sliced garlic, and when it turns slightly brown, add the red chile and curry leaves. Only let these splutter for a couple of seconds and do not let the garlic brown too much or else the ghee might taste quite acrid
Immediately pour this over the cooked lentils and garnish with cilantro leaves and ginger and sprinkle a little garam masala on top.
Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.