Bangladeshi mug dhal bhuna

1 hour 15 minutes



  • 375g of split yellow moong lentils
  • 4 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger paste, fresh
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 4 green chillies


  • 2 tbsp of ghee, or vegetable ghee for vegans
  • 3 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 3 dried red chillies


Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the moong lentils. Dry roast for 7–8 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning. You should have a toasted aroma towards the end. Once done, immediately place the beans into a bowl filled with cold water. If the beans clump together, break apart with a spoon. Make sure that the water is about two inches above the beans
Soak for 15 minutes. Once soaked, rinse a few times until the water runs clean, drain and set aside
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan or karai over a medium-high heat and add the crushed garlic and ginger. Fry for around 2 minutes until golden
Add the onions, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom and salt and cook for 8–10 minutes until golden. Pour in 100ml water and simmer for 2–3 minutes until the onions are soft
Stir through the ground spices and cook over a low heat for 2–3 minutes
Add the moong lentils and stir through to incorporate all the spices, then add 400ml water. Turn up the heat to medium, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, covered, stirring once or twice
Once the water is absorbed, stir in another 500ml water. Bring to a simmer then turn the heat to low and add the whole green chillies. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, by which time the lentils should have almost completely absorbed all the water
Prepare the torka (tempering) by heating the ghee over a medium-high heat in a frying pan. Add the dried red chillies and fry until deep brown in colour, then add the garlic
Once the garlic is golden brown, pour the ghee mixture into the lentils and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir though the chopped coriander just before turning off the heat
Serve with plain rice or porotas