Akha Mag Ni Dal is a Gujarati gravy that is made using whole green moong beans. Not only is it an easy thing to put together, but absolutely delicious as well. As in most Gujarati dishes, sweet and sour flavours blend beautifully with a mild spiciness to create a delectable whole. It pairs beautifully with plain rice as well as rotis.
Full of nutrition, green gram aka whole moong beans are one of our favourite legumes at home. I love that they are so versatile and can be used in so many different ways, and they don’t need too much prior soaking as well! I use moong beans often – in dishes like these Healthy Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps, this comforting Mag Nu Pani soup, spongy dhokla, a divine sweet sundal and a Kerala curry with coconut milk. This Akha Mag Ni Dal is also another family favourite made with moong beans. Next on my to-try list is this wonderful Sprouted Moong Pulao my blog friend Swaty – it sounds so, so good!
Today, let me share with you all the way we make Akha Mag Ni Dal. This is a recipe I learnt from Gujarati neighbours years ago and have continued to make regularly since.
What goes into Akha Mag Ni Dal
Whole green moong beans are the key ingredient in this dal. Coriander seed powder and roasted cumin powder are the major spices used (I have added them separately in place of the dhana-jeeru, a mix of these spices and a key ingredient in several Gujarati dishes). There is a wee bit of garam masala going in too.
This Akha Mag Ni Dal gets its sourness from the addition of tamarind (in lieu of which kokum can be used, if available). Jaggery is used for sweetness, here.
This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe. Ginger and green chillies are used to add flavour to the dal, along with curry leaves and fresh coriander.
Akha Mag Ni Dal recipe
Here is how we make it.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
1. 1 cup whole green moong beans
2. A small ball of tamarind
3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
4. 2-3 green chillies
5. 1 sprig of curry leaves
6. 3/4 tablespoon oil
7. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
8. 3/4 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
10. Salt to taste
11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
12. Red chilli powder to taste
13. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
14. 3/4 teaspoon coriander seed (dhania) powder
15. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
16. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
17. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
1. Wash the moong beans well. Soak them in enough water for at least 1-2 hours.
2. Soak the tamarind in a little warm water for at least 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. Let it cool down enough to handle.
3. Once the moong beans are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Transfer the washed and drained beans to a wide vessel, then add in about 1 cup of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 5-6 whistles or till the moong beans are well cooked and soft (not too mushy). Let the pressure release naturally.
4. In the meantime, peel the ginger and chop finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the curry leaves ready.
5. When the tamarind has cooled down, extract all the juice from it. Use a little more water to help with the extraction if needed, but do not make the extract too watery. Keep the tamarind extract ready.
6. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked moong beans out. Keep them ready.
7. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Then add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, finely chopped ginger, curry leaves and slit green chillies. Saute for a few seconds on medium flame, taking care not to burn the ingredients.
8. Now, keeping the flame at medium, add the cooked moong beans to the pan along with the water they were cooked in. Mash the moong beans lightly to give some texture and thickness to the dal.
9. Add in about 3/4 cup of water or as needed to adjust the consistency of the dal. Mix well.
10. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder.
11. Next, add in the tamarind extract.
12. Add in red chilli powder to taste.
13. Almost immediately, add in the jaggery powder.
14. Add in the coriander powder, roasted cumin powder and garam masala. Mix well.
15. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes till the mixture thickens. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened but is still on the runnier side – remember that it will thicken up further upon cooling.
16. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Akha Mag Ni Dal is ready. Serve hot with rotis or rice.
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the quantity of jaggery, tamarind and spices as per personal taste preferences.
2. Make sure the moong beans are well cooked before using them to make the dal. At the same time, they should not be overly mushy.
3. I prefer soaking the moong beans for at least 1-2 hours to avoid digestion-related ailments. However, this dal can be made without soaking the moong beans too.
4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how thick you want the dal to be. Remember that it thickens up quite a bit upon cooling too. The ideal consistency of this dal while serving should be thickish, but not overly so, not very watery.
5. You can skip the roasted cumin powder, coriander seeds powder and garam masala if you don’t prefer using them. This Akha Mag Ni Dal can be made without these as well.
6. Traditionally, kokum (Garcinia Indica) is used in this dal. I have used tamarind here, in place of the kokum. Lemon juice can be used instead, too.
7. I prefer this dal without onion and garlic. If you want to use them, you can definitely do so. Finely chopped tomatoes can also be added in.
8. This Akha Mag Ni Dal is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.
9. This is not a gluten-free recipe, because of the use of asafoetida. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, hence are best avoided when following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.
10. If you have dhana-jeeru powder at hand, you can use it in place of the coriander seed powder and roasted cumin powder I have added separately here.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!