This is one dramatic dish. The eye popping red is all over your bowl by the time you are done eating this dish. No crushed bugs were involved in the making of this dish and the color is entirely due to the addition of the main vegetable – beets. You should eat more beets because they are one of those super foods; high in vitamin C, B vitamin folate, fiber, potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Or you can skip the science and eat beets because they just taste good.


In any case, the daal here is made from grated beets and moong daal. Moong daal or mung daal comes from the green mung bean. The moong daal is a result of the whole green mung bean being split and the green outer skin removed. Rather than repeat some good information about mung beans and daal, it makes sense to point you to this wikipedia page. Moong daal is easier to digest than most daals and it is an excellent source of vegetarian & vegan protein – about 11 g of low-fat protein for every 1/4 cup of moong daal.

1 cup whole moong daal
2 cups water
1 bunch beets, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup onion, diced finely
1 jalapeno pepper, slit lengthwise
1-2 tbsps vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 fresh curry leaves
Salt to taste

Rinse the moong daal and place it in a pan with 2 cups water. Cook on medium heat, uncovered, for about 15-20 mins or until it is soft but not mushy. The daal should be intact but completely cooked. Set aside.

While daal is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in another pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the pan. When the mustard seeds are popping, add the onions, jalapeño pepper and curry leaves to the pan. Add a bit of salt to coax the water out of the onions which will help cook the onions without burning them. When the onions are translucent, add the grated beets to the pan. Stir the mixture around until the beets are lightly cooked and turn darker red in color, and beet flavors have concentrated. Combine the cooked daal with the beet mixture. Add some more salt to taste and stir everything together. Lower the heat and keep covered for 4-5 minutes until the flavors combine. 

Serve hot with steamed white rice or quinoa or fresh rotis.