Moth Dal

The moth lentils, mostly native to preparations in Gujarat, are small but hearty and delicious.   

makes 4 cups


1 cup whole black moth

3+ cups of water

1 tsp turmeric

2 Tbsp ginger purée 

1 tsp black pepper

½ cup coconut milk

2 Tbsp cilantro

juice from ½ lemon

3 Tbsp EVOO

pinch asafoetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp chili powder

8-10 kari leaves

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

½ cup peanuts, toasted & chopped


  1. Soak the lentils in enough water to generously cover the lentils for 1 hr or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain. 
  2. Bring lentils and turmeric with 3 cups of water to a boil. Within a few minutes, a scum may rise to the top - this is the debris from the lentils that needs to be discarded. Using a slotted spoon, remove the scum then lower the heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour or until the beans are tender. Keep adding more water ½ cup at at time as needed.
  3. Add ginger purée, black pepper and coconut milk and and stir to combine. The lentils should not be dry, but submerged in the liquid. The dal should be soft, creamy and fairly thick. If not, continue cooking until it is. Stir in the cilantro and squeeze the lemon juice in. Transfer the dal to a serving dish. 
  4. Heat up the olive oil in a separate pan & pop the cumin seeds with the asafoetida. Add the kari leaves, tomatoes & chili powder and cook for a quick minute or two. Spread the tomato mix on top the lentils and serve. 

ideas / variations

  • Use cream or yogurt instead of coconut milk for a creamier option. And use ghee or coconut oil instead of olive. For an added special flavor, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of almond butter at the end. 
  • For a heartier option, use a meat stock to cook the dal with instead of water.