Mung Bean Dal with Apples, Coconut, and Mint

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: About 1 hour, largely unattended

Many dals rely on deep flavors, but here’s an example of how fresh, bright ingredients can set off the natural heaviness of beans. The result is a hearty dish that manages to be refreshing, even in summer.

Other beans you can use: pigeon or black-eyed peas or chickpeas, cooked for up to an hour longer.

11/2 cups dried mung beans, washed, picked over, and soaked if you like

1/2 cup shredded coconut 2 medium green apples, cored, peeled, and chopped

2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons minced garlic Pinch ground turmeric (optional)

2 cups coconut milk, either made from scratch (see Coconut Milk), or canned (use 1 can, slightly less than 2 cups, with a little water)

1/4 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup sliced scallion

Juice of 1 lime

Combine the beans, coconut, apples, ginger, garlic, turmeric if you’re using it, coconut milk, and brown sugar in a large pot. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low so the mixture bubbles steadily but not violently. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding some salt as the beans become tender, until the beans are quite soft, 45 to 60 minutes, adding water or coconut milk as needed to keep everything moist.

When the beans are tender and the liquid is thickened, sprinkle with pepper and stir in the mint, scallion, and lime juice. Cook for a minute or two more, then taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Variation

Mung Bean Dal with Carrots, Cashews, and Thai Basil. A nice twist: Instead of the apples, use 3 or 4 medium carrots. Use whole cashews instead of the coconut. Add a couple dried Thai chiles to the pot if you like and replace the mint leaves with Thai (or other) basil.