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 tsp Oil
- ¼ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 6 Curry Leaves
- 2 Red Chilies
- 1 tsp crushed Garlic
- ½ tsp Salt ¼ tsp 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 tbsp 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.