Moong Dal Recipe (Moong Dal Tadka)

4.94 from 43 votes

Moong Dal is a simple Indian dal made with dhuli moong dal (split petite yellow lentils). Tempered with mustard, cumin seeds, garlic & curry leaves this dal is comforting, vegan and makes a wholesome dish. It can also be easily made gluten free.

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This simple and comforting Moong Dal is one of the simplest Indian dals made with split petite yellow lentils. This wholesome dal has a tadka (tempering) of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and curry leaves making it flavorful. This dal is vegan, easy to digest and light on your stomach and pairs well with rice, roti or any grain of your choice. You can make this moong dal recipe in 30 minutes using a traditional pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

moong dal tadka in a copper kadai with a garnish of cilantro and cumin

Of all the dals that I grew up eating at home on a regular basis like chana dal, toor dal; moong dal was probably everyone’s least favorite. Most people consider it bland and in fact we used to eat it when we were sick or needed to eat something light. My brothers would always stay away from it. The only way they ate it was in moong dal khichdi and that too with a very sad face!

However I always liked moong dal, for me it was as good as any other dal. All you need is a good tadka (tempering) to add flavors to your moong dal.

What is Moong Dal

Moong Dal is one of the popular lentils that we eat in India on a daily basis. Moong dal in this recipe refers to dhuli moong dal aka split petite yellow lentils which is the most commonly available variety of moong dal. It’s the same dal which we use to make moong dal dosa, moong dal ladoo and more. This particular variety is easy to digest and light on the stomach. We would often eat it when we wanted something light and healthy for dinner. You can find it at any Indian grocery stores or specialty stores where lentils are sold.

There’s also a version of moong dal which is called sabut moong dal aka whole moong dal. It’s also called green moong dal. And there’s also a skinned moong dal which is known as moong dal chilka. My mom used to make khichdi with it.

Ingredients Required

ingredients to make moong dal arranged on a board

Moong dal dhuli (split petite yellow lentils): these are small yellow lentils, if you compare them to toor dal/arhar dal, these lentils are much smaller.

Spices: this dal is mildly spiced with spices like turmeric, red chili powder and some whole spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chilies.

Garlic and curry leaves: these are 2 of my favorite ingredients to flavor my moong dal. They add tons of flavor to the dal. If you are not a garlic fan, you can definitely cut down on the amount of garlic in this recipe.

Why We Love This Moong Dal Recipe

  • is light and easy on your stomach.
  • is vegan and can be made gluten free by skipping the hing.
  • goes well with roti, rice or grain of choice.
  • makes a wholesome and comforting dish.

For this moong dal recipe, I used my Instant Pot to boil the dal. You can use your regular pressure cooker or even a stove-top pan. Moong dal cooks rather quickly so it’s one of those dals which would not take too much time to cook on a stove-top.

Step by Step Instructions- How to Make Moong Dal

1- To your Instant Pot or regular stove top pressure cooker, add the following:

  • 1 cup moong dal, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium chopped tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder and
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt.

Stir to combine. If using an Instant pot, press the pressure cook/manual button and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then do a quick pressure release or you can also let the pressure release naturally. If using a traditional pressure cooker, cook for 2 to 3 whistles on high heat. Let the pressure release naturally.

2- Once the pressure is released, open the lid of the cooker and give the dal a stir. Adjust the consistency of dal at this point to your preference. I added 1/2 cup extra water at this point.

3- To make the tadka, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds. Let the seeds sizzle, wait until the mustard seeds pop.

4- Then add 1/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida).

step by step picture collage of making moong dal at home

5- Add the 5 to 6 sliced garlic cloves and 2 dried red chilies and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the garlic become light brown in color.

6- Then add the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.

7- Transfer the tadka to the cooked dal and stir.

8- Add in the juice of half lemon, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and mix. Taste test and adjust the salt as needed. Serve hot.

step by step collage of making moong dal tadka

Serving Suggestions

Serve this moong dal with basmati rice, jeera rice or quinoa. You can also serve it with roti along with a side of aloo palak or aloo gobi.

How to Make Moong Dal On Stove Top

If you don’t have a pressure cooker and want to make this dal on stove top, first soak the dal for 30 minutes. Then drain the water and add the dal to a pot. Add water, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and chopped tomato. Stir and cook for 20 to 25 minutes on medium heat until the dal is soft and cooked.

Then add the tadka as mentioned in the recipe and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Expert Tips

  • Moong dal has this reputation of being bland but all you need is a good tadka to amp up the flavors. For this recipe, I have added a tadka of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, dried red chilies and curry leaves. Here are a few other things that you can add to your tadka- ginger, green chilies, whole spices like cloves, cinnamon, ground spices like coriander powder, garam masala etc.
  • You can make a Moong Dal fry with chopped onions and tomato masala along with ginger garlic paste, all the dry spices and fresh cilantro.
  • Adding ghee makes it more aromatic so use ghee in place of oil to make it more flavorful. But if you wish to keep this dal vegan, then stick to oil.
  • You can make the whole dal in one pot using Instant Pot or stove top pressure cooker. First heat the oil, then add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, garlic, dried red chilies and curry leaves. Saute until garlic turns light brown. Then add the dal, tomato, turmeric, salt, red chili powder and salt and cook for 4 to 5 minutes at high pressure  in your Instant Pot or for 2 whistles at high heat in your traditional pressure cooker. Let the pressure release naturally. Then add the cilantro and lemon juice at the end and serve.
  • The consistency of the dal can be adjusted according to preference. If you like a thicker dal, add less water and vice versa.
bowl of moong dal tadka and rice served with sliced onions

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This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2014.

Moong Dal Tadka

4.94 from 43 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Moong Dal is a simple Indian dal made with dhuli moong dal (split petite yellow lentils). Tempered with mustard, cumin seeds, garlic & curry leaves this dal is comforting, vegan and makes a wholesome dish. It can also be easily made gluten free.


  • 1 cup moong dal dhuli 200 grams, also known as split petite yellow lentils
  • 3 cups water 24 oz
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt or adjust to taste


  • 1 tablespoon oil 15 ml, or you can also use ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing asafoetida
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves sliced
  • 1-2 dried red chilies
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • half lemon juice of
  • chopped cilantro
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  • Add the rinsed moong dal along with 3 cups water, tomato, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt to a pressure cooker or Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  • Press the high pressure or manual button and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes if using an Instant Pot. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then do a quick pressure release. 
    If using a traditional pressure cooker, cook for 2 to 3 whistles on high heat. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Once the pressure is released, open the lid give the dal a stir. Adjust the consistency of dal at this point to your preference. I added 1/2 cup extra water at this point.
  • Make the tadka/tempering by heating 1 tablespoon of oil (or you can use ghee) in a small pan on medium heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add hing and stir.
  • Add the garlic and dried red chilies and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until garlic become light brown in color. Add the curry leaves and stir.
  • Transfer the tadka to the dal and mix well. Finish by adding lemon juice and cilantro. Serve moong dal over rice or grain of choice for a hearty meal.



  • To make this recipe gluten free, skip the hing (asafoetida) or use a gluten-free hing.
  • You can use ghee or oil to add more flavor and aroma to the dal. 


Calories: 227kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 4g, Sodium: 143mg, Potassium: 87mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 485IU, Vitamin C: 35.4mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 2.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
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Hi, I’m Manali!

Bringing you easy, delicious vegetarian & vegan recipes! Eating veggies can be fun, you just need to get creative in the kitchen with the right set of ingredients!

4.94 from 43 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this on the stovetop for breakfast, I didn’t have tomatoes or curry leaves so I skipped those but it was delicious and satisfying. I will keep making it.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe turned out really well! I made the Tadka with lime leaf in place of curry and it was very yummy. Already planning to make again next week.

  3. 5 stars
    I use stovetop directions and cannot get the lentils soft enough to my liking. I soaked the lentils overnight, cooked over medium heat and added water. Please advise

  4. Hello! I am excited to make this dish but i dont have a pressure cooker. Any advice on simply simmering the lentils on the stove top and for how long? Thanks!

  5. How would deleting tomatoes affect the recipe? Personally I enjoy the recipe very much, but a friend of mine cannot eat tomatoes. Thank you!

    1. you can skip, it’s fine. Maybe sauté some onions in the tadka and add that for flavor 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for the recipe. Personally, i think, this is the BEST moong dal recipe. Reminded me instantly of home. I knew mong dal was supposed to be easy on stomach, but, none of the recipes before this one , made dal easy on stomach. After trying this recipe , with no onions, ginger, garam masala , i felt the difference immediately. Not only is this recipe light, but it also stimulates appetite. The nutty aroma from cumin seeds + mustard seeds stimulates my appetite.

  7. 5 stars
    Iv made this multiple times and love the flavor. I do not have a pressure cooker so I’ve made it stove top in a small dutch oven. In your directions for stove top it does not specify to cover and simmer or simmer w/o covering. The last two times I made it it seemed too watery so I had to simmer longer w/o the top on. While the water gets absorbed the dal doesn’t have that firmer texture I like. Should I cut back on the water some? Thanks

    1. definitely cut back on water. Everyone has a preference when it comes to dal consistency, there’s no right or wrong way.

  8. 4 stars
    It was -15 here in the Frozen North this morning so my wife and I were really looking forward to some flavourful, warming, comfort food for supper. Miss Manali’s Dal Tadka was a perfect choice. The wonderful, full bodied aroma and taste from the dhungar method was well worth the extra few steps. Smoked the lentils for 10 minutes but only five would have been sufficient. Served with paneer tikka masala and rice. Thank you, Miss Manali, for another winning recipe!

    1. black mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds are not very often used for tadka. In my house they were used in achar (pickle) stuffing and also in some regional recipes but overall use of black mustard is more common

  9. 5 stars
    I make this all the time now, family live it ,I break the rules and fry the tempering first then add the rest and pressure cook, fresh coriander sprinkled on top at the end – Thankyou Manali

  10. This recipe looks great and the accompanying photos are very useful.
    Can I just ask what oil I should use? I’m British but living in Spain and it’s difficult to get anything but olive oil here which tends to have quite an imposing flavour.
    Many thanks,

    1. you can use olive oil. I generally use avocado oil for my cooking which is flavorless. I would recommend using any flavorless oil.

  11. Thank you for this recipe. I used chana dal, by accident, and the instructions for the one-pot recipe, and the flavor is very good. I added a little fenugreek leaves at the end, as that was part of another ingredient for the chana dal recipe. All in all wonderful!!

    I have always loved Indian food, its complexity and the dense aromatic flavors that I did not grow up with. Also, I am trying to incorporate more peas and lentils into my diet, and Indian again is my go-to cuisine. Many thanks for this recipe, I love it!

  12. Very good! I had soaked 1 cup moong dall overnight without a plan and found this recipe. Easy, quick and flavorful!
    I didn’t have a pressure cooker/instant pot so made it over the stove – took about 10 minutes.
    Thank you Manali

  13. Thank you, Manali. I love many of your recipes! As someone from Europe i have no clue about Indian cooking and your way to bring it up is most understandable clear and simple for me, without any extra unnecessary things! Thank you. Lots of inspiration with your cooking. Looking forward for more healthy recipes!

  14. 5 stars
    Made this lovely dish for dinner last night and it was delicious! Authentic flavor, texture and very comforting served with basmati rice, steamed pumpkin and broccoli! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  15. 5 stars
    I found a large container of the small yellow dhal in my pantry and didn’t have a clue why I had them or what to do with them. Came across this recipe and OMG it will be a new favorite for sure. I do a fair amount of Indian cooking so I had all the spices I needed and all I can say is I couldn’t stop eating this! It’s like an Indian version of Mac & Cheese – no mac and no cheese but just as addicting and equally comforting! The fresh cilantro and extra squeeze of lemon at the end was a perfect bright finish. Fun and easy to make and so delicious! A real keeper and when I’ll finish that container of yellow dhal I’ll be buying more!

  16. I added 1Tbs of tamarind paste & 1 Tbs of dark brown sugar & it made the dhal taste like Gujarati dhal.

  17. 5 stars

    Mille mercis pour cette recette O combien parfumée, l’ agrume citron et la coriandre fraîche apporte une touche acidulée au plat, et intensifie chaque épice, c’ est magique. ♫


    Many thanks for this recipe O how fragrant, citrus lemon and fresh coriander brings a tangy touch to the dish, and intensifies each spice, it’s magic. ♫

    I used split peas and carrots, not having yellow lentils.
    On my Facebook page, you can see your recipe, which I shared, as well as your link.

    Thank you and have a nice day. ♫

  18. 4 stars
    Dear Manali, moved to a new place and decided to make your Moong DhalTadka as the pics was great and ingredients seemed interesting enough and easy to follow. I used ghee and added ginger in the tampering. But am perplexed , needed to up load a pics ..of the dhal it became mushy and thick , half hour after I added water as it was thick and heated it up and put it on the table.Dont have your email. Would have liked to upload a photo of it.

  19. 5 stars
    Soo easy and came out sooo yummy thank you for this! Didn’t have Curry leaves so used Bay leaves instead, not sure if they are similar or the same?!

    1. glad you liked it! and no curry leaves are entirely different from bay leaves. if you get hold of it some time, do try it in this recipe, the curry leaves give a wonderful aroma/flavor to the dal.

    2. 5 stars
      Totally amazing. We had home cooked Indian in lockdown and yr moong dal was the favourite, thank you so much for sharing xxx

  20. Can’t wait to try this! My culture companion from Afghanistan makes an amazing dal & I can’t wait to make this for her. I inherited grandma’s stovetop pressure cooker, which I will use. I love your stainless steel bowl with the handles in the last picture. I have been trying to find similar bowls with no luck for some time now. I will definitely come back and rate the recipe after I try it!!! Thank you ?

  21. 5 stars
    Delish! Our son isn’t often a ‘fan’ of dals -but this one is a winner for all of us. Served w/your aloo-patak dry curry (both dishes w/lots of garlic, yum and healthy!), brown basmati AND nan (store-bought, w/carmelized onion). Some leftovers for tomorrow – yeah! Thank you for such easy great recipes – tasty, healthy and presented in detail with such clear instructions.

  22. 5 stars
    Just made this together with my gf and it was delicious. We used canned tomatoes instead of fresh, and followed the stove-top instructions without the pressure cooker. Turned out just fine and the flavors were perfect! Definitely will make it again.

  23. I’ve made moong dal for my mobile food trailer business and this recipe looks great. I use a Hare Krishna recipe that’s one of my best sellers. I have a lady that has stomach problems and buys it in bulk as it’s only thing she easily digests. I’m going to morph both recipes and see if it’s better. I’m a chef and love the building of flavours Indian food has. I add a bit of ginger and cook finally chopped cilantro roots in the temper at the end. Also put in finally diced carrots in the water along with florets of cauliflower. Also a few fennel seeds. Fennel is great for digestion! Thank you for recipe! Xx

  24. Hi Manali…
    Two following things I wish to comment here are…
    1. Alter numbering your tempering items such as heeng, garlic etc. for the fear of quick changing of texture and burning…
    2. Good tempering comes with desi ghee thereby not fit for vegans…
    Both above are suggestive only…
    Good luck

    1. Thanks! I have listed ghee as an’s in the recipe card. I love tempering with desi ghee but wanted to make this recipe vegan friendly

  25. 5 stars
    Moong dal is probably my favorite s f this Instant Pot recipe has become a staple in my house. This has such wonderful flavor and is so easy to make. My son in law gives this 5 stars.
    Your Palak Paneer recipe is also a favorite. So yummy!!!

      1. Hi to all. I am an infant a newbie if you will. Almost a year ago, I started working for a very nice Indian family as their nanny. I had to basically start eating food as I was there over the dinner hour. Now-I am obsessed. So I have made a simple potatoe curry? with potatoes and the seemingly usual garlic, fried cumin seeds and I have most of the Indian spices now; I do not have an instant pot and probably won’t be getting one soon. I am assuming I can make this dal on stovetop? Also, I do have a slow cooker. Here’s my email for any help:

  26. 5 stars
    Made this last week and it´s moong dal day tomorrow again! 🙂 I loved this dish – and as we also tend to eat meat as little as possible, this was a very welcome recipe. Moong dal is the only dal that suits me (my belly). I also added fresh ginger to tadka. Thank you for this!

    1. Welcome! glad you liked it..yes it’s the easiest dal to digest for sure 🙂 my mom always made it when I wanted to have something light

  27. Love this dish. The first two times I made it, I used Chana dal not realizing I was using incorrect dal. Last night I made using moong dal, and the dal was over cooked iHMO. How can I overcome this problem or what suggestion do you have? Thanks so much, love your site, and bought your cookbook too.

    1. Hi Arthur, glad you liked it! Also, thanks for purchasing my cookbook. Hmm, well moong dal is usually eaten like this only in India..and it’s a personal preference anyway. If you want it less cooked, just reduce the cook time. I will probably just cook for 3-4 minutes and do a quick release in the instant pot. Hope this helps !

      1. Thank you. I’m making this again today with some Paneer Butter Masala and either Jeera rice or rice Palio. Will keep you posted.

  28. You can add a green chili to give flavour to dal,while cooking. Onions / sambhar onions can be added to cbbetasnicennice

    1. I just use my Instant Pot now…honestly I never cook my dal in stove top’s always a pressure cooker..either traditional or Instant Pot and I don’t find any difference in the taste

  29. 5 stars
    This was so simple to make and it turned out great! I added only one garlic clove but the daal still carried great flavor. Very thankful to you for this recipe.

  30. I love that this recipe reminds you of Scotland! Lol! I think it sounds wonderfully comforting and perfect for the impending soup weather!

  31. I’ll definitely have to give this a try Manali. I love that you gave us a traditional dish that looks fantastic!