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Monday, March 28, 2011

Mung Bean Dahl--a Food for Spring

By popular demand, I'm posting my recipe for Mung Bean Dahl, a dish for spring and summer known for its detoxifying qualities and ability to move stuck liver energy.  You know your liver energy is a bit stuck if you feel irritable, restless, or angry, not uncommon at this time of year. Source your kombu carefully.  I get mine from the darling folks at Pacific Wildcraft, who harvest it from the relatively pristine waters of the Mendocino coast. Cooking beans with kombu increases their digestability, adds nutrients, and shortens cooking time.  Plus it's a great way to work more sea vegetables into your life.  The seaweed-shy won't even know it's in there.  Visit this post for more exciting sea vegetable recipes.

Mung Bean Dahl
Mung beans are cooling and detoxifying, benefit the liver and gall bladder, and are easy to digest when soaked or sprouted (see this post for how- and why-to sprout your beans before cooking).   Cooking them with warming spices helps prevent them from over-cooling the body.  Dahl is one of those versatile dishes that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as is often done in its native India and Nepal.  Ayurvedic healers often prescribe a short cleanse on this dahl alone for spring detoxification. 

1 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight or sprouted for 2-3 days
5 cups water 1 6" strip kombu
1 onion or 3 spring onions, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery or small fennel bulbs, diced
2 tablespoons ghee, coconut oil or lard from a pasture-raised pig
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, coriander and turmeric
sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons coarsely grated ginger root
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup minced parsley

Place the beans in a medium soup pot, add the water and kombu, and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer.  Heat the fat in a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until it begins to shimmer, then stir in the mustard seeds an spices.  Stir for a moment until fragrant, then quickly add the onion and saute until it begins to turn translucent.  Add the carrots and celery or fennel and saute for a few more minutes.  Add the vegetables and spices to the pot of simmering beans, and simmer the dahl until the beans are tender, about 1 hour total.  Squeeze the ginger over the dahl, adding its juic, and season with the lemon juice and salt to taste.  Serve garnished with a parsley or cilantro.  I like to eat it with a big dollop of full fat yogurt on top.

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