Mangodi – Sun dried Lentil Nuggets

SinfullySpicy - Mangodi (Sun Dried Lentil Nuggets)I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen this week. I baked a cake after two years, cooked dum biryani for the first time, sprouted whole red lentils and I made mangodis.

For last few years I wanted to make mangodis .Where I live has the perfect sun for making these – crisp, dry heat. But, each year the summers passed by and I just sat on the idea. There is a particular variety I like from back home, mom sent me the quota with whoever was coming here. I survived.

This year, I ran out of my stock earlier than usual. With summers still far from over in my part of the world its a good excuse to make my own, right?

In my home, we make a soupy curry with mangodi and potatoes. It is then served with dal tadka (tempered lentils) and rice. I never really cared for these growing up. In fact, I did not understand why would any one want to turn lentil into a curry and then eat it with lentils again. Confusing.

Logics aside, I think my palate was not ready was for it then. Now, when I think of traditional home cooked food, mangodi-aloo definitely comes to mind.

Mangodi , Moongbadi or Mungwadi are small,spicy lentil nuggets which are sun-dried in indian households during summer months. Variety of lentils ( yellow, red, split green or urad ) can be used to prepare these. Depending on the region of India, they could differ in texture and taste. The lentil batter is like your blank canvas – keep it plain, add your own choice of dried herbs or spices, some people add garlic and ginger too. Mangodis are inedible on their own but once lightly sautéed in a teaspoon of oil, they can be used in curries or combined with different vegetables & leafy greens to make stir fries. Crush the shallow fried ones between palms and add as a topping on salads. Other than that, they can be soaked in warm water for few minutes and then added to your vegetarian soups, stews or rice pilaf.

Ingredients  (Makes little more than 2 cups of mangodis)

  • 1.5 cups split yellow mung lentils
  • 4 cups of water to soak the lentil
  • 3/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, crushed
  • Oil to grease

Also Needed – Plates/thalis/cookie sheets/ plastic sheets- Any one of these to sun dry the nuggets.

Note – I use unpolished, organic yellow mung lentils from Whole foods, so I added turmeric powder for a nice yellow tinge. Turmeric does not add any flavor to the mangodis. The turmeric quantity in this recipe can be varied as per you lentil quality.


In a large bowl, thoroughly wash the lentils 2-3 times till the water runs clear. Soak the lentils in about 4 cups of water preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Grease the plates or thalis with oil where you want to drop the lentil nuggets.Set aside.

Drain the water, give lentils another wash and tip them into a blender. Blend the lentils to smooth without water.

Transfer the ground lentils to bowl and add hing, black pepper and turmeric powder to it. Mix well.

Put the lentil mix in a piping bag fitted with plain/star nozzle, or a Ziploc bag (with cut out corner), squeeze it and pipe out small dots on a greased plate/ thali, about 1/8 inches apart. For the quantity of batter from this recipe, I used 6 dinner plates.

Keep the piped out mangodis in sun for at least 2 days or more till they dry out.

Once dry, these will be hard. Using a metal spatula, scrape them from the surface of the plate and store in an air tight container up to 8-10 months.

Make mangodi- aloo masala curry.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!

Pickled Winter Vegetables

No winter is complete without a jar of pickled vegetables. Crunchy, tangy & spicy, these appear as a side to all my winter meals. While most of you are euphoric about holiday baking, in our house, it’s all about soups and pickling at this time of the year. Mornings are colder, sun is lazy to show up and nip in the air is here to stay. When I am not stirring pots of stews, I love to steer around the house with jars of pickles, chasing sun light.

As far as I m concerned, all meals are better with pickles, I have a soft spot for them. Hot & oily ones in particular. If the pickles are sun cooked, even better – which is how my family usually does it.There is something incredibly priceless about what solar cooking does to concoction of spices & mustard oil – the heat from the former and pungency of the oil lend them a distinct flavor & aroma.

The vegetables I use in this recipe are available all round the year, but back home, we get first batches of those red, juicy carrots, fibrous sem phalli (indian broad beans),earthy tasting cauliflowers and subtly sweet indian radishes and turnips – that’s when you know its time to bottle up!

In all honesty, I will either eat homemade pickles or have none at all. Lets just say that I m too picky about my pickles.I am clingy about my grandma’s pickle recipes and seriously wish I could replicate her taste each time. Sometimes, its not the recipes but the magic of hands which brings in the taste. Her pickles certainly fell in that category.

This pickle is typical to northern parts of India during winter months – you will find almost all road side dhabas (diners) serving it as a condiment alongside meals.Honestly, the real joy in eating these pickles is when you pair them with flatbreads and curry on the side or drizzle few extra teaspoons of that flavored oil atop your bowl of rice & lentils – a taste which cannot be defined, just devoured.

Ingredients ( Yields 1 pound of pickle)

  • 1 lb mixed vegetables (cauliflower florets, sem phalli (indian broad beans), mooli (indian radish or daikon), carrots, turnips)
  •  4-5 cups of water + 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp rai ( tiny brown mustard seeds, no substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp hing powder (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar/ jaggery powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup mustard oil

Also needed :-

  1. Kitchen Towels
  2. Glass bowls
  3. Plastic Wrap sheet
  4. Clean, dry Wooden Spoons
  5. Wide-Mouthed, Sterile Canning Jars (preferably with plastic or glass lids).Click here to see how you can sterlize the jars.

Method :- 

Prepping the vegetables :- Thoroughly wash all the vegetables under stream of running water to remove all dirt & grit.

Since 50% of the carotene content of carrots is in the skin, I don’t peel them if it looks clean, cut the carrots into thick 2″ long batons.Peel the skin of turnips (if using) and slice them. Scrape the skin of the radish and cut them into 2″ long batons. De-vein the broad beans. If any of the beans have tough seeds,discard.Cut off the cauliflower stems and cut medium size florets.

Bring 4-5 cups of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the salt and take water off the heat. Add the prepared vegetables to the hot water and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Drain and spread the vegetables on a kitchen towel till they completely dry out.

Making the pickle :-

Using your coffee grinder, coarsely grind the rai seeds. Transfer to a small glass bowl and add the hing, turmeric, red chilli powder, sugar and salt to it. Combine the spices with a dry spoon. Lightly warm up the mustard oil. Transfer the dried vegetables to a large glass bowl.Sprinkle the spice mix over the vegetables and pour 1/4 cup of oil. Using a clean, dry wooden spoon or your hands, mix well so that all the vegetables are well coated with the spices & oil. At this point, if you taste, the pickle will be very bitter. But dont worry, it will be okay after sun cooking.

Transfer the vegetables to canning jars.Top up with the remaining 1/4 cup of warm mustard oil. Don’t fill till the top of the jar but at the same time donâ€t leave a lot of room for bacteria in air to get moldy. Leaving 1/2″ space from the top is okay. If you are using jars with metal lid, you will need to cover the mouth of jar with plastic wrap to avoid the contact between pickle & metal. Let the jars sit in sun. The pickle is ready when the spices taste sour and you see vegetables releasing their juices at the bottom of the jar but still remaining crunchy. You would want to check the salt of the pickle after about 3-4 days and adjust.You will need to shake the jars periodically. In Las Vegas winter sun, it took about 8-10 days to get that stage.

There is no need to refrigerate.Sun-cooked pickles normally last at room conditions. Always use a clean spoon to serve the pickles, they keep for months together.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!