I discovered the original Moong and Masur Lentil Curry version of this recipe when my brother gifted me Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine back in the day. I absolutely love Indian food, and while I have tried many different cookbooks, this is the one I keep coming back to. The recipes are well seasoned and absolutely delicious. I also love the variety; while the majority contain meat and dairy, with a bit of creativity I have managed to adjust them in a way that works for us. I was thrilled when Vij’s at Home was published a couple of years ago, as we were able to expand our recipe base, and discovering Vij’s Sutra at the Hudson Market here in Victoria made me one happy camper, as their Kale and Navy Bean Curry is out of this world.
This particular version came about as a result of many years of experimentation. I stuck with the classic for a long time, because why mess with perfection after all? Then I started to play around a bit, the natural result of the culinary programs I have taken over the past couple of years, which helped me find my footing and start experimenting in the kitchen. I love the texture variety that comes with a bunch of different lentils; please feel free to switch things up as you like.
The addition of quinoa or amaranth (two protein-rich, super grains) allows for a one-pot dish and a night off for your rice cooker. Combining turmeric, black pepper, and coconut oil helps to boost the bioavailability of curcumin, the main cancer-fighting component of turmeric, and the addition of a bit of fresh lemon helps maximize the absorption of iron in the kale.
I have also added an optional powerful, superfood ingredient in the form of Harmonic Arts 5 mushroom blend to boost the nutrient profile of the soup, along with increasing immune system support. This is a long-standing family favourite; my son was pretty much grown on it, given that it was a major craving during my last pregnancy, and it is a staple that we eat at least once a week.
One-Pot Immune Boosting Mung Daal Stew
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ tsp asafoetida (also known as hing, optional)
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 medium onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1-1½ Tbsp fresh grated turmeric (or 1 tsp dried)
1-1½ Tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
8 cups filtered water
2 tsp Harmonic Arts 5 Mushroom Blend (optional)
½ cup split mung daal
½ cup red lentils
½ cup du puy or beluga lentils
½ cup quinoa or amaranth
2 cups kale or spinach, finely chopped
2tsp-1 Tbsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Juice of one organic lemon
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Dried chili flakes or Thai chilies, sliced (optional)
Melt the coconut oil over medium heat until liquid. Add spices, and stir until mustard seeds start to pop. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic, turmeric, and ginger (the latter two can be grated directly into the pot). Stir to combine and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant. Then add water, sea vegetable flakes, Vitamineral Earth and 14 Mushroom Blend (if using), split mung daal, red lentils, du puy lentils, quinoa or amaranth, and kale, and stir again to combine. Add sea salt & pepper and proceed as follows:
Pressure Cooker Method
Place the cover securely on top, and lock. Turn the heat to high, until under pressure and then turn the heat on the stove down to medium. Let steam for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and quick release the pressure. Unlock the lid (facing away from you, to avoid a mung bean steam facial) and add lemon juice. Give it a stir to combine and serve, garnished with fresh cilantro and Thai chilies (if desired).
Cover the pot with a lid, and bring to a boil. Give the daal a stir, and lower heat to medium low, cooking for 30 minutes. For a thicker soup, allow the daal to cook without a lid for the last 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, and serve, garnished with fresh cilantro and Thai chilies, if desired. With the stovetop method, you can wait and add the kale during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Feel free to modify and adjust this recipe based on what you have on hand, and be sure to let me know what you think!