Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mung Dal Soup With Spinach And Indian Spices

This soup is not only beautiful but nutritious and filling too. It is pretty easy to make and freezes well also; just defrost and heat up for a wonderful meal.

This recipe makes a mild soup; you can adjust the quantity of the spices as well as the green chilies and ginger according to your taste.

To make a complete and hearty meal, serve with warm corn bread or whole grain bread/rolls, and Rainbow Salad with Cilantro Dressing.


1. Yellow split peas or red lentils (split and skinless masoor dal) may be used instead of the Mung Dal.

2. Two medium grated Zucchinis {or other summer squash, ridge gourds (tori), chayote squash (Chow chow or Bangalore Kathirikai)}, and/or 2 medium chopped Tomatoes, etc. may be added to the soup at the time of adding the carrots.

3. Add a finely chopped onion and clove of garlic if you wish along with the ginger, green chili, and curry leaves and cook until onion is translucent before adding to the soup.

Nutrition Information: (Based on info from split yellow peas and unsalted butter since I could not find info on split Mung dal or Ghee)
One serving of soup contains approximately: 160 Calories; 10 g Protein; 26.7 g Total Carbohydrates; 7.5 g Fiber; 1.5 g Fat

8 Servings


2 Cups Yellow Mung dal (split and skinless Mung dal)
1/4 cup Barley
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
2 tsp Salt
2 medium Carrots
6 Cups Fresh Spinach
2 tsp Sambar powder
1/2 cup chopped Fresh Cilantro
Lemon or Lime wedges (Optional)


1 tsp Oil/ Ghee or unsalted butter (optional)
1 tsp whole Cumin Seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida
2 thin round slices of ginger, minced finely (Optional)
1 hot green chili, deseeded and minced finely (Optional)
1 sprig Curry Leaves


Sort the dal and remove stones, discolored dal, or other debris. Wash the dal and barley separately and thoroughly in a few changes of fresh water and drain.

Place barley in a large pot (5 or 6 quarts/litres) with 6 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the dal and continue to simmer until soft and creamy; stir occasionally to make sure the soup does not settle to the bottom of the pot and burn. Alternately, pressure cook the dal.

While the dal is cooking, wash and prepare the veggies: coarsely grate the carrots; thoroughly wash the spinach in several changes of fresh water and coarsely chop.

Add the turmeric, salt, sambar powder, boiling water if needed, and the grated carrots to the dal. Bring to a boil again and lower heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, cook until just wilted and turn off heat. Cover and set aside.

Heat oil/ghee if using, in a small pan and add the cumin seeds. Cumin seeds and spices maybe toasted without any fat also.

When the cumin is browned a little, add asafoetida and ginger, green chili and the curry leaves. Cook for a couple of minutes until the chilies soften.

Pour into the soup; ladle a little of the soup into the pan, stir and pour back into the soup pot to extract every bit of the spices.

Stir in the cilantro leaves. Let rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve hot with a wedge of lemon or lime to squeeze as desired.



Shobhaa said...

Geetha, that was yummy!!! Only I added roasted (cumin seed & black pepper)powder instead of sambar powder Also avoided the ghee/butter and used a tsp of sunfolower oil only for tadka to keep the fat content low... still, it was amazing!

Info on Boiled Mung Beans
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 110 kcal 440 kJ
Carbohydrates 19.15 g
Sugars 2.00 g
Dietary fiber 7.6 g
Fat 0.38 g
Protein 7.02 g
Vitamin C 1.0 mg 2%
Calcium 27 mg 3%
Magnesium 0.298 mg 0%
Phosphorus 99 mg 14%
Potassium 266 mg 6%
Sodium 2 mg 0%

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Geetha said...

Hi Shobhaa: I'll have to try the roasted spices next time - sounds really good! And I suppose we should be looking for every opportunity to cut out extra fat; I generally add a tiny bit of ghee in the tadka for its incomparable flavor :). Thanks Shobhaa for coming through with the info on the Mung; wasn't sure if it is for the split, and skinless dal or the whole beans.