Hyacinth Beans or Sheem in Bengali, are a variety of broad beans that finally found their way into our garden this year. To celebrate their arrival, I cooked them with Yellow Split Moong Lentils, cooked in the traditional Bengali manner in a recipe that we call Bhaja Mooger Dal.
These lentils can be made with or without vegetables, they are characterized by a nutty taste, which results from the obligatory dry roasting of the lentils until they are pale golden and aromatic.
Putting my brother to good use, I even created a video for this post. As I had thought, getting the home crew involved with the video production is certainly helping with creating more synchronized real time videos for my posts, all I need from you guys is a little bit of inspiration and support so please do subscribe to the channel to keep my spirits happier.
After his last trip to Kolkata, which you will hear more about soon, my son has been interested in simple Bengali dishes such as this, which can only be done right in a home kitchen. I had meant to make them for him, but forgot until I saw these beautiful sheem or hyacinth beans.
In the US, these come in the standard green variety, the seeds of which we got from the temple in Pomona, and the ornamental purple variety, which we found the starter seeds from our the garden patch maintained in downtown Valhalla by Mughal Palace.
This particular dal, is made with or without vegetables. I have a recipe for the uncluttered variation in the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, and is also made a tad thinner in most households. With all my yearning for comfort moods and foods, this thick soulful variation is really what my heart has been craving.
A hearty soulful dish of fragrant moong lentils, perfect for a weeknight fall supper.
- 3/4 cup split yellow moong lentils
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon red cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 cup (about 1/2 pound) hyacinth beans, trimmed
- 1.5 teaspoons ghee
- 2 whole red chilies
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 1 medium sized (about 2 inches) cinnamon broken into smaller pieces
- Dry roast the yellow lentils, stirring frequently for about 6 to 8 minutes, the lentils will become few shades darker and are very fragrant at this time.
- Add in 3 to 4 cups of water and mix well. Add in the turmeric, ginger, cumin powder, red cayenne powder, sugar and salt.
- Add in the diced carrots, bring the lentils to a simmer and cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, at this point the lentils should be thick and fairly soft.
- Add in the beans and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes. The lentils should have a thick, soft texture but not dissolve completely.
- For the tarka or tempering, heat the ghee and add in the bay leaves, whole red chilies, cinnamon and cook until the spices darken and the mixture is fragrant
- Pour over this aromatic tempering and cook for a minute or so, check for the seasonings and serve hot with rice or flatbreads.