If you’re anything like me, you probably read the title of this post and are likely quickly losing interest in this recipe because you have no idea what mung beans are. But wait! Fear not, my child. I promise you that you can find mung beans in most any grocery store and they are very cheap and easy to cook. Most importantly, they do not need to be pre-soaked! I buy them in bulk at the grocery store, keep them in a mason jar in my pantry, and pull them out when I need to throw together a quick meal with no fuss.
These little beauties are found mainly in Asian cuisines, particularly in Thai, Indian, and Filipino dishes. They are packed with all sorts of good-for-you nutrients, protein, and fiber. You can use them as you would green split peas or lentils (my favorite!). They have a slightly sweet flavor which works perfectly with the delicate coconut milk in this recipe.
As with most recipes calling for curry paste, feel free to swap out the green curry paste in this recipe with whatever you happen to have. Alternatively you can use regular curry powder if your pantry is looking a little bare; start with a few teaspoons, taste, and add more if needed. I typically purchase Thai Kitchen curry pastes which aren’t terrible expensive and are easy to find on the ethnic food aisle.
I used two tablespoons to this dish as green curry paste is pretty mild. If you are using red, massaman, or panang, you may want to start with a little less and work your way up. Remember, it is always easier to add more than to try to take it out!
I’ve also taken to purchasing coconut milk in these adorable little two-thirds-cup cans rather than the usual 15 oz. size. It’s the perfect amount for a dish like this and then I’m not trying to find a way to use up the leftovers from a full size can (like the time I attempted to make pina coladas – total fail!).
This recipe is really a cinch to make. Simply saute an onion in oil until semi-translucent and slightly brown…
Add in some ginger and garlic…
Add your mung beans and let them toast…
Then add three cups of water, bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes.
After twenty minutes, stir in some chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, curry paste, and seasonings, then re-cover and let cook for another few minutes until your mung beans are tender.
Here are the beans when they are not-quite done…
…and here they are when they are split and tender…
They lose a bit of their vibrant green color by the time they are tender and look a little more like cooked green split peas.
Once the beans are tender, stir in some fresh spinach leaves…
and let them wilt. Once they are dark green and wilted, taste the dish and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro!
I like to mold my rice into little bowls them turn them out onto the plate to impress the husband.
I think it makes him feel special.
Be sure to take some out-of-focus pictures with your new lens….
And, as always, spend so much time trying to figure out how to work your camera that the food gets cold before you can eat it.
Voila! Stay hungry, my friends.
Makes: 6 Servings
- 1 c. mung beans, sorted (remove any debris)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 3 c. water
- 2/3 c. coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. green curry paste
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. oil (I used grapseed)
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Dash ground coriander
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Heat the oil in a 3-quart dutch oven or large covered pot over medium-high heat.
- When hot, add the chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until semi-translucent (about three minutes).
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, stirring frequently so as to not burn the garlic.
- Add the mung beans and cook, stirring frequently, for 60 seconds until slightly toasted.
- Add the three cups water, stir, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 2-3 minutes then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add in the chopped tomato, curry paste, coconut milk, and seasonings, then stir, re-cover, and cook until mung beans are tender and splitting out of their shells (another 5 minutes or so).
- Add the spinach leaves and stir until wilted.
- Taste the dish and add salt and pepper as desired (I added quite a bit of both).
- Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.
Nutrition (per serving):
216 calories, 9 g. fat, 10 g. protein, 26 g. carbs, 7 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 6
What’s your favorite way to cook up beans or lentils?