Soothing Mung Bean Dal In Buttermilk Curry

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Mung bean dal in buttermilk curry is easy to make, and eating this dish may feel like giving your body and mind a calming spa treatment.

Hailing from Gujarat, a state on India’s northwestern coast, and known in India as khatta mung, this very popular mung bean dal is both comforting and sublime.

mung bean dal curry

I love treating myself really well with food, and every time I make this dish, I find myself anticipating how good I will feel after eating it. Hopefully you will experience the same.

Contrary to the fact that buttermilk is in the name of this recipe, the ingredient that creates the creaminess is actually whole milk yogurt, which I think is a better choice since yogurt is a standard ingredient that most of you will have in your fridge already.

For my vegan readers, simply substitute with a plant-based yogurt alternative.

yogurt with spices for mung bean dal

After the tangy yogurt is mixed with some spices, it becomes a lovely simmer sauce for the cooked mung beans.

This simple dish is really easy to digest, which gives your internal organs a break, and a chance to heal.

Pair this curry with some sautéed greens and basmati rice, and your satisfying vegetarian dinner is ready.

Mung Bean Dal Is A Sattvic Dish

Mung bean dal in buttermilk curry is considered sattvic, or pure. One of the reasons is that it is made without onions or garlic.

Sattva is one of India’s traditional lifestyles. It is often associated with yogic or spiritual adherents, because eating sattvic food is said to bring clarity and calmness to the mind.

mung bean dal with buttermilk curry

You don’t have to be a devout practitioner to have your own spirituality, so I encourage you to try this dish and see if you can feel any calming affect.

Another way to be consistent with sattvic principles is to choose fresh, locally-produced ingredients.

And when you cook, try to keep your mind calm and your thoughts positive.

If you want to read more about sattva, visit “What Is Mind-Body Cooking.”

Are you ready to start making this recipe? That’s wonderful! Let’s gather up the ingredients.

Where Do I Buy Mung Bean Dal?

Mung beans are a staple in Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and other Southeast Asian cuisines, so they are pretty easy to find at most grocery stores.

Or you can check this Amazon link for a good organic source.

You may also be interested to know that mung beans are revered in India as “the king of dal” for their supreme digestibility. Mung beans are also (not surprisingly) sattvic.

The Ultimate Guide To Indian Dal (Photo Glossary) —READ MORE

Where Do I Buy The Other Spices I Need For This Recipe?

Depending on what the ingredients is, it will be available at a regular grocery story, an Indian grocery store, or online. Let me break it down to make it as easy as possible for you.

ingredients for mung bean dal

Spices you can get at ANY grocery store:

  • chickpea flour (a substitute for gram flour)
  • turmeric powder
  • cayenne pepper (a substitute for red chili powder)
  • cumin seeds
  • ginger
  • jalapeño (a substitute for green chili)
  • fresh cilantro or coriander

Spices you may need to get online, or at an Indian grocery store:

  • gram flour (also known as besan)
  • red chili powder
  • asafetida (optional, but recommended)
  • black mustard seeds
  • green chilis
  • curry leaves (optional, but recommended)

Check the Amazon recommendations below for the spices you need.

Don’t Have An Indian Ingredient? Indian Ingredient Substitutions —READ MORE

More Mung Bean Recipes You May Like

Whole Mung Dal With Cumin, Ghee & Turmeric

Healing Khichdi (One Pot Dish)

Sprouted Mung Bean Sauté With Coconut

Mung Bean Sprouts Salad With Green Mango

soothing mung dal

Recipe For Mung Bean Dal In Buttermilk Curry

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Soaking Time: 4 hours
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 147kcal
Mung bean dal in buttermilk curry is easy to make, tasty, and soothing to digest. Enjoy for lunch or dinner with basmati rice and a vegetable side.
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  • 1 cup whole mung beans

For the buttermilk sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (or plant-based alternative; see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons gram flour (for thickening; see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder (substitute with cayenne pepper)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (optional; see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup water

for the spice tempering

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon green chilis (substitute with jalapeños) slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced or grated
  • 5–6 curry leaves (optional; see notes)

for the garnish

  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or coriander leaf minced


Cook the whole mung beans

  • Cover mung beans with cold water and a pinch of salt, and soak for 4 hours or overnight. Drain off the soaking water and rinse well until the water runs clear. 
  • Cook the mung beans using the saucepan method or the pressure cooker method. 
    Note: Pressure cookers are amazing for cooking pulses quickly and efficiently. If you are unfamiliar with their use, please refer to my post on “How to Cook Beans From Scratch” for more information.

Saucepan Method

  • Add mung beans to a medium saucepan with 4 cups of cold water. Add turmeric powder and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, loosely cover the pot, and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the mung beans are soft. Keep an eye on it while simmering to ensure that the water does not evaporate below the level of the beans. If it does, add more water.

Pressure Cooker Method (Stovetop OR INSTANT POT)

  • Add mung beans to a pressure cooker with 3 cups of cold water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of salt.
  • STOVETOP COOKER: Cover, place the pressure regulator on the lid, and turn the heat to high. Once the cooker has reached high pressure, turn the heat down slightly, and cook for 8 minutes.
    INSTANT POT: Cover, select "High Pressure," and set the timer for 12 minutes on high pressure.
  • Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes. Manually release any remaining steam, and open the lid. The mung beans should be soft and breaking apart.

Make the buttermilk curry

  • Whisk together the ingredients for the buttermilk sauce. The yogurt, gram flour, turmeric powder, red chili, optional asafetida, and salt in a small mixing bowl until smooth with no lumps. Mix in 1 cup of water. Set aside.
  • Temper the spices. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook (watch carefully) until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add green chili, ginger, and optional curry leaves, and cook for another minute, until the ginger starts to brown slightly.
  • Add the prepared buttermilk sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more water if needed to adjust the consistency if it gets too thick. 
  • Add the cooked mung beans to the sauce and continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes to integrate the flavors and ingredients together. Taste, and adjust for salt.
  • Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro. Another option is to stir the cilantro into the curry. Either way it's delicious.

To serve


GRAM FLOUR is made from ground up Indian chickpeas known as kabuli chana. In India, gram flour, also known as besan, is a common ingredient in flatbreads, fried foods, desserts, and in this case as a thickening agent for curries. If you don’t have gram flour, use chickpea flour or substitute with cornstarch.
ASAFETIDA is a powder made from the sap of a plant relative of fennel. It is commonly used in Indian cooking, but is virtually unknown in the West.
Asafetida (also known as hing) is sometimes associated with a sulphur smell, and is thus very unique, and nearly impossible to substitute. It is a wonderful spice once you get familiar with it. I highly recommend investing in it when you are ready.
For now, if you do not have asafetida, leave it out. Under some circumstances, it could make sense to substitute onions, shallots, or garlic, but only use a small amount if you choose to do this.
Also, be aware that most asafetida is mixed with flour to make it flow, which makes it less strong. If you have pure asafetida, you will use much less quantity.
CURRY LEAVES, also known as kari patta, are small, fragrant, somewhat citrusy leaves that grow wild in India, but are difficult to find in the West unless you visit an Indian grocery store.
You can usually find a package of fresh curry leaves in the refrigerated section of an Indian grocery store. Once you bring them home, store them in the freezer, and they will keep for months.
It is very worth using curry leaves if you can find them, but their flavor is subtle, so if you cannot source them, just leave them out.
Visit A Guide to Indian Substitutions for spice buying recommendations. 


Substitute the whole milk yogurt with a plant-based yogurt of your choice.
Recipe adapted from Archana Doshi of Archana’s Kitchen


Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 402mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 621IU | Vitamin C: 283mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 2mg

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