Hello Dahl-ey


Hi. Do you have the song in your head now? ;) Still love me. HEY so here’s what. I get so many questions about mung dahl because there seems to be a lot of confusion on what they are exactly. I’m with ya. When I first started learning Ayurveda, I didn’t know what a mung (or moong) dahl (or dal) was either. So, let me help you!

Not long ago I was in my local Indian “sweets & spices” store. And while waiting for them to make my lunch, I like to shop and see what kind of Indian goodies jump out at me. On this fun day, I saw mung dahl (the right kind) and next to it, I saw mung dahl (not the right kind) and I thought, “Ah-HAH! I’m totally going to take a picture cause this stuff is confusing as all heck.” And then I decided to take a photo of the other kinds of little yellow beans that might be mistaken for mung dahl too. YAY!!

In Ayurveda, we make kitchari as a nice meal and it’s even used as a cleanse. One of the most crucial ingredients in kitchari is mung dahl. It’s a complete protein and it’s a sattvic food which means that it’s totally pure for the mind and body. So, I’ve been asked, “Can I substitute yellow split peas for mung dahl?” and, “I got the green ones. Are they okay?” and “I got these yellow split beans, chana dahl, are those the same?” Not to mention, it’s spelled different ways too, like: {mung, moong} and {dahl, daal, dal}. All those spellings mean mung dahl and that’s what you want.

So let me clear the air. Simply put, none of those other dahls, beans, or peas have the same qualities as mung dahl does. Therefore, your kitchari will not behave the way that it should and therefore it won’t do the “job” on the body-mind that kitchari should. Those dahls will not hurt you of course, but they won’t have the effect on you that kitchari should.

Have a look below and hopefully you’ll be clear as day!

(above) The green mung beans are whole, so they are tougher to digest and can aggravate vata. Once the whole green beans are shelled and split, you get mung dahl which is what we want! So these two mungs are the same, but they are in different forms. You want the yellow ones, not the green.

(above) HOHkay. Look how confusing this can be! All these pretty little yellow lentils look the same, but only one is mung dahl. Notice how much smaller the beans are than the other two and they are much smaller than yellow split peas.

SO! Does this help?! Gosh I hope so. It’s not easy being an American and trying to seek out this Indian-esque stuff on our own. That said, they probably don’t have mung dahl at your regular grocery store. I believe Whole Foods has it, Trader Joe’s does not. Any Indian grocery will have them and if you find them online somewhere, tell me and I’ll post the links.

Carry on good people. Carry on and enjoy the body-mind cleansing effects of a happy and correct kitchari. Yay. xo

20 Responses to Hello Dahl-ey

  1. Alice says:

    Hi Monica, would red lentils work similarly?

  2. coloring books says:

    I am convinced We’ve check this out identical kind of affirmation in other places, it should be gathering popularity with the masses.

  3. Hi Monica!
    Love your informative site…
    Have a question on the green vs. yellow. Whole foods has a sprouted green mung bean that I bought to make kitcharee, does this eliminate the digestive issue that you’re talking about with green b/c they’re sprouted? I’d love to know.Thanks!

  4. […] digestive friendly and can cause extra gas or bloaties (what we DON”T want!)  Check out this article for better clarification on the RIGHT dahl to purchase – helped me […]

  5. Jackie says:

    Hi Monica,
    I don’t know if others have posted this resource yet:
    They have so much. It’s an amazing place to visit too, if you’re in NYC.
    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve not made it in years but I love it.

  6. SD says:

    Most chinese store will sell Mung dal too.

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ashleylpitman, HeyMonicaB. HeyMonicaB said: The FULL scoop on what mung dahl is (photos!) and why it cannot be substituted in kitchari for a body-mind cleanse: http://bit.ly/gZ1c4b […]

  8. Holly says:

    Thank you so much for clarifying this; it really helps!

  9. Mary says:

    pardon my typing on the last note :D

  10. Mary says:

    Also, chatting with your local Indian food store guy is Super fun. I told him I wanted to make Kitchari and he led me right to the correct beans. then proceeded to give me all sorts of tips and gave me some curry leaves and tiny peppers (that he warned me about) to try. We were both so excited as I left the store and the kitchair turned out great! thank you Monica for adding this wonderful food to my life! :))

  11. Magdalena says:

    Hahaha! :D Monica, I looove it! Hilarious, really well expressed/made and extraordinary clear..! Totally made me long for kitchari, I’ll have to go make some now… hehe… Yum!

  12. Carolina Nava says:

    amazon doesn’t send food to mexico….only books… :(

  13. Carolina Nava says:

    deal!!!!!! but be sure they can send them to Mexico please!!!!!!!!Hugs and Blessings

  14. Carolina Nava says:

    hey monica!!!!!! always so helpful!!!!!!……in mexico we only have the green whole mung beans….but I bought some mung dahl at an Indian grocery store on my last trip to Houston….I made your kitchari recipe…YUMMMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!! I looove it!!!! the bad part of this is that I’m running out of them… :(

    • Monica says:

      yaaaaaaay!!! I know, so many people are confused by this. I still wonder if there is a reputable place online to buy the beans. If you find one, tell me. If I find one, I will tell you. Deal?! XOXO

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