Indian Split Green Mung dal recipe | How to cook / prepare Beet Greens
This New Year, I made a resolution to incorporate more seasonal vegetables and increase my efforts at reducing processed/refined foods.  I have been reading so much more about it and it indeed scares me when I realize that we are living in a world rich in "refined", "artificial" and "processed" ingredients. Its even more scary when such adulterated food products are marketed under attractive well meaning headlines. Its so easy to be fooled.  Although its hard to do a complete switchover to the other side, I am trying out a middle ground until I get comfortable enough to go refined free as much as possible. But the easiest thing to do is to incorporate more seasonal ingredients. While I sure did it last year, I was guilty, at times, of using ingredients that were not seasonal/locally produced. This year, the idea is to minimize it. Beets are in season and I got us some last week.
Indian Split Green Mung dal recipe | How to cook / prepare Beet Greens
I make Indian Dal recipes at least 4 times every week. Its inevitable in vegetarian's kitchen, esp. if that person also happened to be an Indian :). So the first thing I decided to cook with is the equally (and perhaps a tad bit more) nutritious Beet greens. Since I was planning to make some dal that night, I thought of adding some beet greens to it as well.
Indian Split Green Mung dal recipe | How to cook / prepare Beet Greens
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 people
  • 1 cup Moong dal/Green mung beans - skinned and split (see Tips)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 med-large Onion, chopped
  • 2 med-large Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 inch Ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • Beet Greens from beet bunch of 6 (see Tips)
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal (black gram, skinned and split)
  • 1-2 green chillies, as per taste
  • Lemon juice (fresh) to taste
  • Salt to taste
1. Moong Dal: You can use any type of lentil for this dish with beet greens. Red lentils (Masoor), Pigeon peas (Toor Dal) taste good equally with these greens.
2. Beet Greens: There is no specifics with respect to the amount you use. I used the greens from a bunch of 2 each consisting of 3 beets. The amount depends on how much you are comfortable with. Start with a bunch of 3 and then increase it if you like. We love our greens and hence I tend to be generous with its usage in our meals.
1. Dry roast the lentils in med-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until aromatic and lightly reddish. This step is OPTIONAL
2. Pressure cook these for about 3 whistles with 3 cups of water along with turmeric. Takes around 10-12 minutes.
3. While that's cooking, prepare the beet greens. Chop off the tops from the Beets.
4. Give the leaves a good rinse with cold water. I always fill my sink with water and clean them out. Inevitably there's almost always sufficient mud at the bottom after the cleaning. Greens are wonderful hoarders of dirt. So cleaning them well is essential.
5. Break off (or cut with a knife) the hard stems from the leaves. If the beets are fresh and young, the stems will be tender and you can use them in your cooking. Chop them finely along with your greens.
6. Chop the greens coarsely. At times when I have too much time to burn, I do a chiffonade. But seriously, its not a big deal.
7. Now wash these greens once again in water. Drain.
8. Meanwhile in a saute pan, prepare the tempering. Heat 2 tsp of oil (or ghee or mix of both) and then add mustard. Once it starts popping, add the black gram. When it turns brown,
9. add the chopped onions. Give it a quick stir for 1 minute and then add the tomatoes. Add salt and cook until its soft.
10. Add the chopped greens to it.
11. In about 2 minutes, the leaves will wilt. Reduce the heat to low.
12. Take the cooked lentils from the Pressure cooker,
13. and add it to the greens.
14. Mix until combined. You can add another 1 cup water to this or as required for your preferred consistency. The lentils take on a beautiful pink color thanks to the beet greens (and possibly cos of the stems I used).
15. We like it with chunky greens but I have been blending it a bit with the hand processor for my little one. Chopping the greens fine will not pose this issue.
Squeeze fresh lemons towards the end of the cooking to taste. I add it in order to aid the absorption of iron from the lentils. Serve warm with roti(s), parathas or steamed rice. Indian Split Green Mung dal recipe | How to cook / prepare Beet Greens

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Recipe Reference

recipe from my kitchen notes

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By Bina on Feb 9, 2014

:) I just made this today- I had bought some beets for juicing and this was a great way to use the stems- its such a comforting simple dal- will be a staple recipe in my household- Thanks so much for it!

By iguana on Jan 13, 2014

Chitra, the beet greens are exactly the same as swiss chard

By Vidia on Nov 12, 2013

Great food ! Can you please add the cooking time for people without a pressure cooker ? Thanks Vidia

I will from new recipes onwards. For this I assume it would take around 20-30 minutes on medium heat--DK

By abcd on Feb 13, 2013

You have not mentioned when to add chopped ginger........ :?:

By Anu on Jan 12, 2012

This beet green is so underused! I made beet green paneer once - same method as palak paneer and loved it. Will try yours sometime!

By Hema on Jan 8, 2012

Great lenthils and beet dhal. I like them.

By Jonathan on Jan 8, 2012

A combination of things I absolutely love: lentils and beet greens. Thank you for sharing! So looking forward to making this. :-D

By Cheryl S. on Jan 7, 2012

Mmm...Looks yummy. Definitely on my must try immediately list. On a minor note. In your sentence, this is a "homely" dish, the word, "homely" means, physically unattractive. In other words, ugly. The correct word is homey, which commonly is understood to mean comforting. Many people make this common error. Sorry, I'm a bit compulsive.

You are perfectly right. I did mean homey and wrote homely! How tragic an error, that a simple letter can create! Have corrected. Thanks :)

By Chitra on Jan 6, 2012

I was always scared to trying anything with beet greens. Everytime I buy I just use beets and throw the greens off. I am going to try this receipe now. Does it have a bitter taste or bland like baby spinach? I love all the varieties of greens we get in India.

By Priya on Jan 6, 2012

Super tempting dal..simply cant take my eyes from ur click..delicious.