Friday, March 11, 2011

Mung Beans

I spent the past 24 hours soaking and making mung beans. This is my first time working with this legume, and I owe it all to my friend Mikey, who inspired me to make them for a St. Paddy's party tomorrow ((okay, it was more of a joke b/c I'm the nutrition girl, but I figured why not make a delicious and very nutritious treat? (I also made an Irish specialty-Irish soda bread- to be discussed next week, as well as a not-super healthy dessert: PB Cheerio bars)). 
Organic Sprouting Seed Mung Bean 1 Pound
Most likely you have eaten Mung beans but are just unaware of it. If you have ever eaten "sprouts" (not alfalfa sprouts) you  probably have eaten mung beans. Their most common use in the western world is in sprout form, which is used in stir fries, sandwiches, salads, etc. However, over in Asia they have many different uses. In Thailand, they are used in a lot of dessert recipes (custards, puddings, etc.). In China they are used in their sprout form as well as soaked/boiled and used in soups or made into noodles. Indians use Mung beans in dal (Moong dal) recipes with curry, coriander, turmeric, etc. 

Just like other beans, mung beans are very high in protein, fiber, and iron. In fact, just one cup of Mung beans contains 14 grams of protein, 15 grams (61% DV) of fiber, and 16% the daily value of iron. You have to be careful with portions though if you are watching your weight, one cup has about 215 calories... but if you are going to eat 1 cup of anything, mung beans (or any beans for that matter) are the way to go (along with veggies!).  

For the party tomorrow I made a Mung Bean & Lentil Curry (I merged a few recipes together) recipe which goes something like this:

Spicy Mung Bean & Lentil Curry

1 cup of mung beans, soaked overnight

1/2 cup of lentils
2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup diced mango
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin 

1 tablespoon of ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder

1 cup light coconut milk

Soak mung beans over night (be careful, they double in size!). Transfer to a medium size saucepan, along with the water, turmeric, salt and chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed - about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
Add rest of ingredients and set aside.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When starting to sizzle, toss in the cumin, coriander and cayenne, stir a few times and pour over the mung beans.

Serves 4 - 6.

So, if you are looking to expand your legume repertoire, try eating Mung beans... which can be found in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods (they look like tiny green balls).


Julie said...

Hi Kelly,

I enjoyed your post about sprouting mung beans.

I was just looking for recipe ideas. I've started sprouting seeds and beans on a weekly basis now. We love them raw and they're great cooked too.

I agree with you about the nutrition - I think that a lot of people consider them to be 'superfoods'.

Have you tried sprouting any other seeds or beans?

Joy Weese Moll said...

That sounds like a wonderful curry. Great new ingredient! I'm sprouting seeds and beans regularly now, but hadn't thought to use them as beans after the soak.

Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN said...

Hi Julie and Joy, thanks for the comments!

Julie- I have not attempted to sprout other seeds or beans, although I am quite interested in doing so. I did a large research project and presentation on the "Raw Foods diet" during my master's program, where I learned a lot about sprouting and was able to try various forms of sprouted seeds and beans (chickpeas, kidney, etc).

Joy- Mung beans are incredibly easy to cook after you have let them soak and taste somewhat like lentils once in the curry. I know I will be using them in my cooking more!

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