Zucchini moong dal is a delicious side dish served with rice and Indian flatbreads.
Zucchini is not a common Indian vegetable but it tastes really good with dal. Pre-cooked dal and zucchini are cooked together and then tempered with chilies. It is a real quick and easy summer dish.
Dal is an Indian version of lentil stew or a soup. It is an integral part of Indian cuisine, one of the main sources of proteins for most vegetarian in India and a staple food. There are many varieties of dals and some basic dals are as simple as cooking the lentils/pulses and pouring a tempering over it. It is also very common to cook dal with vegetables.
At home there are no takers for dal with vegetables hence I usually cook plain dal such as pappu, pappu khut, dal tadka and panchmel dal. When I have leftover greens, once in a while I make methi dal or spinach dal or just mix all the greens and make methi spinach dal.
Which dal to use?
Indian lentils or pulses are also called dal. Moong dal or green gram is ideal for zucchini pappu. Moong dal cooks really quick compared to other dals and so does zucchini. Second, moong is one of the favorite pulses at home, hence it is always a preferred choice. Good substitute is masoor dal as it cooks really quick, just like moong dal. Chana dal and toor dal are also a good substitute though these dals take a little longer to cook.
How to prepare?
There are numerous ways to cook this dal with various combinations.
- Cook together pre cooked moong dal and zucchini to a desired consistency and pour a tempering over it.
- Cook dal and zucchini in the tempering. Saute onions in the tempering, then lightly fry cooked dal, add zucchini and simmer for few minutes.
Heat - Chilies
I normally use green chili in dals except when preparing tomato dal or sambar. However, today’s recipe is an exception where I used both red chilies and chili powder. Nonetheless, green chilies are a good option. When using green chilies, pressure cook a couple of chopped chilies along with moong dal. Add another in the tempering for extra heat. If you like to weed out the green chilies, add all the chilies in the tempering itself.
Tang - Tomatoes & Lime
Using tomatoes or lime juice is optional and adding either or both gives a nice tangy flavor.
- Pressure cook tomatoes along with dal or add tomatoes along with onions.
- When using lime, add lime juice just before turning off the flame.
There are just too many ways to cook this dal and no matter how it is prepared, the end result is just a scrumptious dal! Stir fry in the pictures is zucchini gram flour stir fry.
More Zucchini Recipes
Detailed, Printable Recipe
Zucchini Moong Dal
- Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
- ¼ cup Moong Dal
- 1 Tomato chopped about ½ cup
- Few drops of Oil
- ½ small Onion diced
- 1 medium Zucchini diced 1 cup
- 4 teaspoon Oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 6 Curry Leaves
- 2 Red Chilies
- 1 teaspoon crushed Garlic
- ½ teaspoon Salt ¼ teaspoon Chili Powder
- Chopped Cilantro for garnish
- Wash dal and pressure cook it along with tomatoes, few drops of oil and ¾ cups of water for 4 whistles or until dal is soft.
- Once pressure releases naturally, add water onions, zucchini and boil until zucchini is cooked.
- In a separate pan, heat oil, add mustard, cumin, curry leaves and red chilies. Let the seeds splutter and chilies change color.
- Add crushed garlic and fry until light golden brown.
- Add chili powder, turmeric and give a quick stir.
- Pour the tempering over dal, keeping aside a spoonful for garnish. Cover and let the dal simmer for few minutes. Give a good stir, simmer for few minutes if the dal is too thin.
- Turn off the heat, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro and remaining tempering.
- Green Chilies - If you like green chilies in dal as we do, use 2-3 small green chilies instead of red chilies and chili powder. Add slit chilies to tempering or pressure cook moong dal with green chilies.
- Lime Juice - Substitute tomato with 1 tablespoon of lime juice. If using lime juice, add it just before pouring tadka over dal. You can use both tomatoes and lime juice, in which case use less lime juice and adjust it to your liking.
- Dal Substitute - Masoor dal is a good substitute for moong dal. Toor dal and chana dal also work but cooking time for these two dals is longer. Pressure cook for 6 -7 whistles.
- Zucchini Substitute - Cucumber and tender ridge gourd are a good substitutes. Bottle gourd is also a good substitute and if using bottle gourd, pressure cook the gourd along with moong dal.
- Nutritional Information - is approximate.
This also goes to PJ's My Legume Love Affair # 129, an event started by Susan of Well Seasoned Cooked and currently organized by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.
Such a delicious and nutritious dal. Lovely photos Usha. I made this simple zucchini pappu for my family and they absolutely loved it. We enjoyed it with some roti 🙂
Usha Rao says
Glad your family liked it Pavani.
Chef Mireille says
This was so bright and colorful. I ate it with my eyes first but when I tasted it, OMG thanks for such a delicious dal recipe to add to the repertoire.
Usha Rao says
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
What a great idea to use zucchini in the dal. A great way to use my fall zucchini that is coming out. The dal is so flavorful and we all loved it.
Usha Rao says
Oh, good to know your Fall vegetables are ready to harvest! Thanks for trying the recipe.
Addition of zucchini is new to me. Dal tempered with ghee is always flavorful and tasty
Srivalli Jetti says
Beautiful dish and must have tasted so good Usha, I would surely want to make this next time I get this veggie.
Sharmila Kingsly says
Dals are always a comfort food..indeed it's flavorful and tempting with zucchini and ghee..
I make this dal with lauki or spinach. will add zucchini now.. looks so flavourful and iniviting
Suma Gandlur says
The dal looks so vibrant and I am sure both the zucchini based dishes tasted delicious.
Sushma Pinjala says
I have tried Zucchini dal with toor dal, your version of dal with moong dal looks delicious. Will try soon.
Beautifully captured, Usha. Love such simple fare.
Gayathri Kumar says
I love to add any veggie in this type of dal. This is so versatile and goes really well with rice. The zucchini version looks fantastic.
Vaishali Sabnani says
I normally make this daal with lauki , and hubby loves it . It surely is a wholesome meal , so well presented and cooked .
My choice of vegetables for this kootu is chow chow or pumpkin. I will add zucchini to the list as well :-). Perfect comfort food there!