A dear friend of mine spoke of her challenges in stocking up her pantry as she works full time during this COVID lockdown. She is a Nurse.
She found a packet of moth beans lying at the back of her cupboard and unsurprisingly she didn't know how to cook them.

Hence this post is for her and many more like her.

Moth Beans or Moat beans are known as Matki in India are protein-packed and with high dietary fibre just like mung beans, but they are not the same.

Moth Beans are brown husked and are much smaller in their appearance, unlike their mung bean cousin.

moat beans

Moth beans make a versatile protein-high lentil curry.

I am not sure if I can call it as lentil or as curry as they retain their shape even after substantially cooking for a more extended period. Hence referring them as Moth bean lentil curry. Safe.

Moth beans require a pre-soaking of at least 4 hrs, and you will be surprised at the amount of water these little fellows can use when they swell up.

I use a heavy-bottomed pan to pre-cook them separately as I have loads of hands downtime, but if you are in a rush pressure cooking with 2-3 whistles works the best.

It is ready in 20 mins if you have pre-cooked them and can be easily adapted to vegan.
Here is the recipe.

moth beans curry


Moth Bean Curry
Preparation Time: 15 min
Passive Time: OVERNIGHT/4 HOURS soaking
Cooking Time: 30 min
Total Time: 4.45HRS
Yields: 4 servings

1 cup moth beans picked for stones, well rinsed
3 cups hot water, and more as needed
1 medium onion, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1" fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 green chilli pepper, chopped
2 tbsp ghee, use any plant-based oil for vegan
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1 dry red chilli broken into 2 pieces
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt as desired
2 lemons, juiced
2 sprigs of fresh coriander for serving

1) Preparing the moth beans- In a large pot, wash the moth beans and let the water run clear. Soak the moth beans overnight with plenty of water. Discard the water.
In a heavy-bottomed pan or in a pressure cooker, cook the beans with 2 cups of hot water until soft.

2) In a skillet, heat the ghee/oil over high heat. Reduce the heat and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, followed by the broken chilli. Allow the seeds to sizzle. Then add the mint leaves and cook for a minute.

 3) Next, put the onion and saute until translucent followed by the garlic and cook for 3-4 mins until the garlic becomes fragrant.

4) Now transfer the pre-cooked moth beans into the skillet and add all dry ingredients stirring the mixture until well combined. Add another 1 cup of hot water and bring the moth beans to a boil stirring the curry mixture once or twice.

5) Once the moth beans come to a boil, turn off the heat and stir in half of the lemon juice. Taste and decide if another half of the lemon juice needs going into the curry.

Notes and Variations:

1) Some prefer to cook this as a one-pot from scratch directly without pre-cooking the moth beans. But cooking this way means you are overcooking the other potent ingredients for very long along with the beans. Beans take longer to cook in comparison to Onion, Ginger, Garlic.

2) Cooking the moth beans before adding them to the tempering ensures a short cooking time of the other ingredients and the potency of the other components will keep well.

3) You can add fresh tomatoes or tinned tomatoes to this recipe instead of a heavy dose of lemon.

4) You can stir in coconut milk instead of another cup of hot water. But mix in the coconut milk after turning the heat off.

Serving suggestions:
  • Lure it hot
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve with naan bread or steamed rice. Try it!

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  1. What would you call this recipe as, Moth Bean lentils or Moth bean curry?

  2. Gosh, I thought I had commented on this, but obviously not. Such an interesting curry! And as someone who never met a curry I didn't like, I approve. :-)

  3. i've never heard of moth beans. i love that name... great flavours here in your curry.

  4. I love how you used moth beans to make this curry, I never thought to do that! The curry looks really flavorful, and thanks for making the recipe easy to follow along with. All around, it's great!

  5. THis is a very tasty and healthy dish!

  6. So healthy, and for sure it tastes delicious! Come to my blog if you are interested in book reviews.
    Take care!

  7. I love moong and moth beans and this looks too tempting :)

  8. I've never heard of moth beans! Thank you for teaching me something new :) This looks absolutely delicious!

  9. I have never heard or seen moth beans until interesting...and loving the curry spice in this dish. Thanks for the recipe Hasin.
    Have a wonderful week ahead!

  10. I am super fond of whole lentils like sabut moong, urad, and thess most lentils too. They are healthier with high fibre content and release sugars in the food gradually keeping you full for a longer period. So glad to see that I make this curry in a similar way.😄

  11. Your seasoning blend is absolutely fabulous. I loved the cumin, ginger, cayenne, garlic, turmeric and everything else . Yum!

  12. I have not heard of moth beans but this dish looks and sounds so delicious!! I shared photo and ingredients with my husband and he is as excited to try your recipe as I am!! He loves deep earthy spices so I have a feeling we will be trying many of your recipes!!

  13. This sounds very delicious. I would like to try it. Thank you for recipe.

    New Post -

  14. I've never heard of moth beans before -- this is so interesting! Thanks for sharing your recipe Hasin :)

  15. Hasin, these moth beans look so tasty and delicious! Love all the flavors!

  16. The seasoning in this recipe is amazing!! Wow! I've never had moth beans, but when I find them I know what I'm making! Might have to try your seasoning blend with a few other bean/curry recipes-- such a phenomenal combination!

  17. Thank for this delicious recipe Hasin. We use mung beans often as they are very cooling for the summer months. We have never tried moth beans or maybe we have but they have another name as well. This is one delicious and hearty curry. Take Care

  18. This moth bean curry looks so good! I really like the diverse mix of ingredients - it must've been so flavorful. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  19. I've never tried moth beans before, but this curry sounds really good! I especially like the spicing here :)

  20. At Step 4, do you add the moth beans and their cooking water to the dry ingredients, or do you drain the moth beans first?

    1. You add the moth beans with their water without draining any.


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