This is Maa‘s absolute favourite recipe. Maa loves moong dal (yellow lentil) and back home, this is the most popular dal that she cooks often. I am not a big fan of moong dal, though, don’t mind having it sometime. Simple and plain moong dal is too boring for me, rather, I like masoor dal that way. I like masoor dal in any form, but, the thing is not same with moong dal. For me to like moong dal, the recipe has to be very interesting. So, this is the recipe that Maa used to cook for me to make me eat moong dal. Now, this is the only moong dal recipe that I cook often in my kitchen and yes, I do love it. Though, I give some twist of my own to make it more interesting and adding coconut is one of them.
Moong dal is considered as niramish (vegetarian) dal in Bengalis, whereas, masoor dal is amish (non-vegetarian). Moong dal is usually prepared with no onion and garlic. This recipe that I am going to write today contains fish head, but yet, no onion or garlic are added. Macher Matha diye Bhaja Moong Dal is a traditional Bengali dish and is one of the delectable non-veg makeover of this veg dal.
Bengalis cook moong dal in two ways – kancha (raw) and bhaja (fried). While both the forms are super tasty and healthy, bhaja moong has a different aroma and goes very well while cooking with fish. For bhaja moong dal, the lentil is dry roasted before cooking and it’s truly aromatic.
Packed with many amazing health benefits, moong dal is rich in fiber and protein and is excellent for keeping cholesterol under control and thus giving your heart a long life. This lentil also helps to keep the blood sugar level in control and a very rich source of antioxidants. Also, if you are looking for weight loss and healthy skin, moong dal is definitely your thing.
I love fish head and use it often to prepare dishes. I have few recipes of fish head in my blog and you can check them out. Today’s recipe of Macher Matha diye Moong Dal is protein packed, aromatic, healthy and highly delectable. Bongs love this dish and it goes excellent with bhat (rice). Adding coconut to it is my twist and is completely optional, yet, recommended. Here’s the step-by-step recipe for you all.
- 1 fish head and 1 tail piece (any fish, I used Rohu)
- 1 cup moong dal
- 1/3 cup chopped coconut
- 5 green chillies, slitted from middle
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seeds
- 2 cinnamon stick (each 1 inch)
- 5 cloves
- 5 green cardamom
- 1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
- 2 table-spoon mustard oil
- 2 table-spoon ghee
- 5 cup water
- salt, according to taste
- Rub the fish head and tail with 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and salt.
- Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the pieces very well. Remove and keep aside.
- In an separate heavy bottom pan, dry roast the moong dal until aroma starts spreading. Remove and keep aside.
- In the same pan, dry roast the chopped coconut until it turns little brownish. Remove and keep aside.
- Now, heat water in the same pan and bring to boil.
- Meanwhile, wash the roasted moong dal 2-3 time in normal water and make it ready.
- Once the water is boiled, add moong dal, green chillies, 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder and required salt. Cover the lid and lower the flame. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
- After the stipulated time, open the lid and check the dal. The dal should be cooked and broken by the time. If the find the dal has thickened too much, this is the time when you can add some more water (warm water).
- Now, add the fish head and tail and mix well. Cover the lid and cook in medium flame for another 10 minutes.
- You can open the lid in between and bread the head and tail with your spatula into small pieces. I break the tail into small pieces but, prefer not to break the head too much. The choice is yours.
- After 10 minutes, open the lid and add chopped coconut. Give a quick mix. Cover the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and keep the dal aside.
- In a separate small pan, heat ghee and temper with cumin seeds, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Stir for 1 minute and turn off the flame.
- Immediately, pour it to the dal and mix well.
- Cover the dal and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Your Macher Matha diye Bhaja Moong Dal is ready to be served now.
Serve it hot with piping hot rice (gorom bhat) and enjoy this Bengali delicacy with your family. This should not go very well with roti/phulka as the dish contains lot of fish bones. As I say always, squeeze a piece of lemon while eating to enhance the taste.
Enjoy this authentic Bengali delicacy and do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks. Happy eating!