janet @ the taste space

Creamy Mung Bean Curry

In Mains (Vegetarian) on January 16, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Creamy Mung Bean Curry

I loved your feedback to my mung bean stew last week, especially Hanna’s rendition of the dish. If your comments are any indication, you may have bought mung beans a while ago but not sure what to make with them. I was like that, too. Last year, I couldn’t get enough of simple spiced mung beans. Despite having the mung beans in my cupboard for 2 years or so, I discovered their awesomeness as I (attempted) to eat through my pantry. I became so enamored with them that I bought another 4 lbs when I moved to Houston. With a focus on eating through my pantry yet again, I have been experimenting with mung beans. Bring on more beans, right? 🙂

While this creamy mung bean curry hails from the ever fabulous Lisa, ever an Indian bean whiz should I meet one, I knew it was a winner before I even made it. Like my recent Kabocha Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup, it includes all my favourite things: tamarind, cumin, Aleppo chili flakes, and a bit of coconut milk for a touch of creaminess for the sauce. A simple twist of adding curry leaves makes this a different dish altogether. Southern Indian-style.

Have you tried mung beans yet? How do you like to prepare them?

Creamy Mung Bean Curry

This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

PS. The winner of Superfood Smoothies is Annette.

Creamy Mung Bean Curry
Adapted from Lisa’s Kitchen

1 cup dried mung beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
3-4 cups water
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
3/4 cup lite coconut milk (half a can)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
10-12 fresh curry leaves

1. In a medium pot, add mung beans, turmeric, tamarind paste and water (start with 3 cups and add more if they become dry). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the beans become soft and tender.

2. After around 30 minutes, in a small frypan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and heat until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add chili flakes (to taste) and stir for a few seconds. Deglaze with the coconut milk, and add the garlic, tomatoes, asafoetida, salt and curry leaves. Allow mixture to simmer, until slightly thickened, around 5-10 minutes.

3. When the mung beans are finished, stir in the coconut milk mixture. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, to allow the flavours to meld and the sauce to be absorbed, around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with brown rice or your choice of side.

Serves 4.

  1. I love mung beans!! I recently made a batch of Kitchari with sprouted mung beans and brown basmati rice. It is very similar to this recipe with a lot of the same spices. It’s a very cleansing bean and has such a nutty flavor (to me). I’ve been adding it to my salads too. It’s like you said, I discovered them and then went crazy with them because it was so great!

  2. I have never tried mung beans, but was brave enough to purchase them – glad to have a recipe where I can use them!

  3. Well, I definitely fall into the “I have no idea what to do with all these mung beans” category! This sounds like a super-tasty reason to dig them out of the back of the freezer and have at them. 🙂

  4. I haven’t tried mung beans in cooking (though I love them sprouted) – and anything that tastes that good sprouted should be good cooked – should try them some time – and this curry looks like the sort of thing I would love (lisa is indeed a spice queen)

  5. I loooove mung beans but rarely cook them. You will forever be my bean inspiration and I mean that as the highest compliment 🙂

  6. Thanks for your kind words Janet. I’m delighted you tried this dish. There are plenty more archived on my blog that you would likely enjoy. Mung beans have long been a favorite of mine.

  7. Alright, I’ll admit, I haven’t had mung beans yet. And I don’t even know why. They look pretty fun. They were even on sale last time I was at whole foods. I’ll try them out. In this recipe =)

  8. Loved this! It was yesterday’s dinner and today’s leftover lunch/ How did I live without curry leaves for so long? They really add a wonderful flavor. I thought this tasted very authentic and very similar to stuff I’ve gotten at Indian restaurants. Yum!

    I’ve avoided mung beans for years because there were reports of contamination inherent in the seeds; even met some physicians who avoid mung bean sprouts because of salmonellae-coli. But I’ve never gotten sick from them and never knew anyone who got sick after eating them in salad or at Vietnamese restaurant. Cooked mung beans may be much safer. I’ve been doing some sprouting as well—and was disappointed that they don’t grow as long/thick as the commercial ones….

    • Hey Ellen,

      Yes! We love the curry leaves! We buy a bunch fresh, then toss them into the freezer and they are just as good form there. They last forever since a little goes a long way. We haven’t had much luck with the dried leaves so we stay away from those.

      So happy you liked it, too!! I would think the cooked beans are safe but the issues with sprouting are probably related to the sprouting conditions and contaminated beans. I have only sprouted alfalfa, though – easy enough – although they can be a bit seedy, if you know what I mean. I wonder why the mung bean sprouts are not as long, though? Different strain?

      • Nope—it turns out that commercial bean sprouts are grown with chemicals and gasses in 500 gallon machines! Yuk!

        “Mung Bean Sprouts are most commonly seen big and thick rooted. They are common in Chinese cuisine. Commercial Mung Beans are grown with chemicals and gasses in huge 500 gallon machines. You will never get your home grown sprouts to look like those you see at a restaurant or supermarket, but you can get some thick roots. To do this you will need a sprouter which drains from the bottom (Easy Sprout, SproutMaster, or The Tube, and you’ll need to add these procedures to your growing schedule:”


      • Woah. Thanks for letting me know, Ellen. Makes me want to sprout my own all the more.

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