Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spiced Mung Beans

 Mung beans cooked with onions, chlilies, salt, pepper

If you’re looking to save money in the New Year, I suggest stocking your pantry with a variety of legumes, including mung beans (a.k.a. green gram). Native to India, these fiber-rich pulses are integral to my mom’s culinary repertoire, and appeared on the table so often during my childhood that the bubble above my head read: Oh not, not again! We dined on mung beans sprinkled with black pepper and interlaced with shredded coconut. On special occasions, we spooned them up in pudding, doused with half and half and molasses. 

Sauteing onions with turmeric, cumin, garlic powder

Like other legumes, mung beans often a fiber-rich, protein punch for pennies on the dollar. They are relatively quick-cooking, and can be sprouted for a wallop of texture. (Think of the sprouts that top Chinese dishes. They often come from this dynamic bean.) For all of these reasons, mung beans occupy prized real-estate in my jam-packed pantry. 

Combining cooked mung beans and sauted onions
Mung dhal with spices


Serves 4

This vegan mung bean dish is a family staple. It calls for a  technique commonly used in Kerala: sauteing cooked legumes with onions and a mix of spices. Serve it with white rice and lightly salted yogurt.  


1 cup mung beans
2 cups water
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 dried red chilies, broker in two
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
10 curry leaves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 


Thoroughly wash the mung beans.

Place the beans, water, 1/2 cup of chopped onions, dried red chilies, and salt in a medium sized sauce pan. 

Bring to a boil. 

Lower heat to low and cover. Cook until the beans soften, but still retain their shape (about 30 minutes). 

Place a large frying pan on medium low heat. Add the oil and 1/4 cup onions.

Cook for 5 minutes. Add the curry leaves, turmeric, cumin, and garlic powder. 

Cook until the onions become translucent. 

Add the cooked beans and stir to combine. 

Cook for 5 minutes. 


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