What’s a mung bean? It is three things
A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating mung beans – 4 fabulous dishes
High in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, calcium, vitamin A, B1, B2 and C, these small green dried beans have a pale yellow inside. You might not have seen them in this form, but I bet you have seen and probably eaten them as bean sprouts. That’s how they are most commonly used. Buy them non heat treated and watch them grow!! Once sprouted, mung beans punch above their weight increasing the amount of Vitamin A by 300% and a staggering increase of up to 600% for their vitamin C value. Because their starches are converted to simple sugars during the sprouting process, they are easy to digest. When mung beans are hulled and split they are called mung dal. Get to know them, in all their forms.
Bean sprouts are best eaten fresh and they are cheap enough to buy but if you want to it is easy to grow your own and eat them at their absolute best. Chuck them in salads, wraps and stir frys.
This is how I enjoy them most
Asian salad with mung beans and dried noodles makes a big bowl for about 4 -6
You will need a mandolin ideally, if not a sharp knife and a bit more time. Ir’s just a case of preparing the veggies and combining.
- 2 spring onions
- 100g snow peas or green beans
- ¼ small red cabbage
- 2 small carrots
- ½ red onion
- 1 red capsicum
- bunch of mint
- bunch of coriander/flowering
- 2 big handfuls mung bean sprouts
- ¼ cup nuts, peanuts or cashews
- tsp each of salt and white sugar
for the dressing
- zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 6 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fish sauce. Soy for us veggies
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp rice bran oil
Trim and halve the spring onions and cut them into thin strips. Throw them into a bowl of ice-cold water and pop into the fridge while you get on with the rest. This will make them curl and looks pretty, it is not necessary, you can just chop on the diagonal.
Drop the snow peas or green beans into boiling water and when it returns to the boil plunge into cold water, drain and slice the snow peas thinly or cut the beans in half lengthways.
Chop the nuts and toast with the salt and sugar in a frying pan. Keep the mixture moving until it starts to colour then allow to cool off the heat.
Thinly slice the red cabbage, onion, capsicum, mint and coriander (or pick if you are using the flowered coriander). Peel and slice the carrots on a mandolin, thinly slice or coarsely grate if you have no time.
Make the dressing by shaking all the ingredients in a jar or whizzing with a blender. Make sure the sugar dissolves. Adjust to your liking you might like another tbsp fish sauce or sweet chilli sauce. As a veggie, I use soy and a little pineapple juice. or tamarind if I have it to hand.
Drain the spring onions and combine all the ingredients except the nuts. This will hold nicely like this in the fridge in an airtight container for three days. When ready to serve add a couple of handfuls of mung bean sprouts, drizzle with the dressing and finish with the nuts and dry noodles.
I frequently make the dressing cook off a half packet of rice noodles, about 100g and allow them to soak in the dressing while I make the salad. To serve I combine the lot.
this is a lovely recipe from Lands and Flavors
Mung bean dhal serves 4
You will need
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- ½ tsp each of turmeric, cardamon and fenugreek powder
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup green mung beans
- 8 cups water
- 3 – 4 ripe tomatoes
- 150g frozen spinach defrosted
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce.
In a frying pan sweat the onions in the butter until soft and translucent. Add the spices and stir quickly off the heat.
While the onions are cooking, wash and sort through the mung beans. Bring the water to the boil in a large pot then add the mung beans and reduce the heat to simmer. As soon as a foam appears remove with a spoon and add the onion and spice mix. Cook on a gentle heat for about mins, stir occasionally. Do not allow to dry out.
While the mung beans are cooking, score a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes and drop into a pot of boiling water plunge into a bowl of cold water. This will allow you to peel them easily.
Peel and quarter the tomatoes and once the 20 mins is up, add the to the mung beans with the spinach.
Cover and cook for a further 10 mins or until the tomatoes and beans are soft. Keep an eye on the dhal and stir frequently. Add the sweet chilli sauce, stir turn the heat off and allow to sit for 10 mins. Check the flavours season with salt, lime or lemon juice and adjust to your liking. You might like more sugar or chilli sauce, remember this is traditionally a sour dish.
I like to serve with red rice and sultanas or caramalised onions mixed through and creme fraiche mixed with honey and cardamon powder or lemon juice and salt to taste.