Soft mung lentil dumplings in a tangy tomato and yoghurt based gravy, this fresh moong dal mangodi curry is one of my favourite vegetable curry. I don’t know if it can really be classified as a vegetable as the “hero” of the dish is actually moong dal.
In Angola, my Pakistani neighbour was always impressed how in Indian cuisine we cook every vegetable in so many different ways. But when I made this moong dal mangodi ki sabzi, she was really amazed. “Tumne dal ki hi sabzi bana di!”, she exclaimed. (You made lentils into a vegetable!)
Mangodi is deep fried moong dal dumpling. It is also called moong wadi or badi in some homes. In Rajasthani cuisine we have a lot of dehydrated food items that are easy to store and use later. Being a desert state, fresh vegetables were limited and that constraint led to many innovations in food like papad ki sabzi or gatte ki sabzi. Mangodi is another such innovation using moong dal to make a vegetable curry when the real vegetables are in short supply. As a kid I remember my mom making these in bulk and drying them on the terrace. In the evening me and my sister would go up, turn them and remove the dried ones. Mom would them store them in an airtight box. Now-a-days dried mangodis are also readily available in stores.
But my favourite way of having them is by making a vegetable curry with fresh mangodis. Cook them in a flavourful tomato-yogurt gravy right when they are soft. The dried mangodis don’t cook so soft as the fresh ones. In the fresh mangodi curry, the dumplings completely absorb the flavours of the curry.
Instead of drying the fresh mangodis, you can also freeze them. Take them out from freezer about 30 mins before cooking and put in warm water before adding to the curry. Lentil dumplings absorb very little oil, so even though the recipe requires deep frying, there is little oil in the curry.
While the traditional constraint of non-availability of vegetables no longer holds true, we still enjoy this mung dal curry every now and then. It remains my go-to recipe for days when I actually don’t have many veggies in the fridge and want to cook something special :-). I often make mangodis for 2 times at one go and freeze half.
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Mangodi sabzi is a vegetable curry made with deep fried moong dal dumplings in a tangy tomato-yogurt gravy. Traditional Indian recipe from the desert state of Rajasthan
- ½ cup yellow moong dal
- a pinch asafoetida (hing)
- salt , to taste
- oil , for frying
Soak the moong dal in 2 cups hot water for about 30-40 mins.
Drain and put the dal along with asafoetida and salt in the mixer jar. Blend to a smooth paste. Add a little water as required for grinding. Don’t add a lot of water otherwise it won’t form dumplings.
Heat oil in a small deep pot. Add spoonfuls of lentil paste and deep fry until golden.
Remove on an absorbent kitchen towel.
Heat oil in another pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and green chillies. Reserve some green chilli for garnish.
Sauté for a minute and then add the ginger-garlic paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes till the onions start to soften. Add the tomatoes and all the spices. Mix well and cook covered for 5 mins.
Add the whisked yoghurt and about 1 cup water. Stir until there is a boil. Reduce heat and cook until you get the desired consistency of the gravy. Remove from heat and using a hand blender, blend the gravy together.
Add the fried dumplings and cook covered for another 5 mins. You may also keep some of the dumplings as is to serve on the side.
- You can also use red lentils or whole green mung dal for the dumplings. Any lentil of your choice will work, just remember some lentils may need longer soaking time.
- I make my own ginger-garlic paste using equal amounts of ginger and garlic.
Moong dal is one of my favourite lentils. It is amazing how it can be cooked in so many ways. Here are some more very different recipes with Moong dal:
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