Recipes: Rustic Moth or Matki Dal

Commonly grown in the arid and semi-arid regions of India, Vigna aconitifolia is a drought-resistant legume, commonly called mat bean, moth bean, matki, Turkish gram or dew bean. The pods, sprouts and protein-rich seeds of this crop are commonly consumed in India. Due to its drought-resistant qualities, its ability to combat soil erosion and its high protein content, moth bean has been identified as possibly a more significant food source in the future. This legume is native to the Indian subcontinent.

Moth beans contain calcium which is the mineral vital for maintaining stronger bones and prevent the risk of osteoporosis. It also contains phosphorus which helps to strengthen bones according to experts. Moth beans are loaded with remarkable nutrients. So its consumption defends the body against bacteria, fungi and viruses. The presence of zinc in Moth beans strengthens immune system which helps to prevent various sorts of health problems. Zinc acts as antioxidant which helps to control oxidative stress. It means daily intake of moth beans is effective for those people having busy lives. An intake of moth beans and other food containing zinc helps to lower the impact of stress in the body. Like other pulses, moth beans are a great source of protein which is essential to build as well as repair muscles. It is a great source of protein for vegetarians who have to obtain protein from food products. With high presence of protein, Moth beans are useful for those who are trying to lose weight. It increases muscle mass that causes burning of calories. Moth beans have vitamin B which is essential to convert food into fuel. Moth beans also have zinc which provides stress-reducing properties. As with most legumes, Moth beans prevents constipation as it contains fiber. It promotes regularity and eradicate toxins present in gut.

The recipe I am sharing today was actually made by our helper R. This is how it is made in homes in the Northern part of India. It’s a fairly simple recipe, one that is loaded with taste. It goes very well with brown or basmati rice as well as Indian flatbreads or any kind of rotis or parathas.

Rustic Moth Dal


  • 1 cup moth/matki dal, washed and soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes.
  • 2 onions, 1 finely chopped and 1 finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 bulb garlic, finely chopped or ground into a paste
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped or ground into a paste
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Pressure cook the dal for 3-4 whistles with the turmeric powder until it is very soft. If you are cooking over the stovetop, cook with sufficient water until the dal loses its shape and becomes soft and mushy. In both cases, after the dal is cooked, whisk it well and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the ghee and when the ghee becomes warm, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the garlic, ginger and green chilli pieces and stir for a few minutes.
  • Now add the finely chopped onions and stir well. Let the onions become translucent.
  • Then add the finely chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt and let the tomatoes cook till they are mushy and lose their shape.
  • Now pour in the cooked dal and continue cooking and stirring the masala into the dal till the dal starts to bubble.
  • Add the garam masala powder and season with salt. Crush the kasuri methi in the palms of your hands and sprinkle it on the dal.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
  • While serving, if you want to serve it like they do in Punjabi households, then pour some dal in a cup and top it with some sliced onions, a dash of lemon juice and a bit of ghee and serve. You mix this well before eating it with rice or rotis.

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