A post on mung beans has been long overdue. Puja and I have been talking about doing a post on them ever since we first started this blog. Much like lentils, they can be used in so many different ways.
Well, I’ve sort of been on this Sisyphus diet of losing a couple of pounds and gaining it back a day or two later. So I’ve been trying to think of different foods I could eat that might help me break through the rut and mung bean sprouts popped in my head. They make a great snack raw, like popcorn with substance. They have a freshness and a bit of sweetness that makes them addictive.
They also saute really well for an easy meal. It would be very nice and convenient to have a big bowl of them in the fridge to use when I feel like it, too bad we only had a cup of beans left that I used for this recipe. I’ll be making them again as soon as I get to the store to buy more.
Sprouting is a kitchen technique you don’t see much in the U.S. but is common in Indian cooking. You can sprout lentils and many beans, such as brown garbanzo beans. It’s one way to get them soft enough to eat without having to lug out the pressure cooker.
For Puja, sauteed mung beans were a staple breakfast of her childhood. Sprouts are also popular these days among the health food crowd because it brings out the nutrients in the bean and helps with digestion. Mung bean sprouts are the same sprouts you find in many Chinese and Thai dishes, but we don’t allow them to grow as much, so they are smaller and the bean is left more intact. The result is almost a completely different food.
How to Sprout Mung Beans
- 1 cup mung beans
- 2 or more cups water
- Put the 1 cup of dry mung beans in a bowl, cover with at least 2 cups water, if not more. The beans will double in size, you do not want any to escape the water as they expand.
- Let soak for about 4 hours.
- Drain the water from the beans. Wrap them in a paper towel, or tea towel. There should be enough water left on the beans to dampen the paper towel, if not, you may dampen the towel a bit.
- Place in a colander in a bowl, cover with a dark towel or plate so they are not exposed to light. Allow them to sit overnight or for at least eight hours until they are sprouted to the extent that you like. You can let them keep growing, but if you wait too long they tend to mold.
Simple Mung Bean Sprout Saute
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
- salt to taste
- Perform vaghar: heat the oil in the pan, when it is hot enough, add the cumin. You will know it is hot enough because when you drop in one cumin seed tiny bubbles fizzle around it. Let the cumin toast in the pan for about 10 seconds, until you smell the toastiness, but don’t burn the seeds.
- Add the garlic and stir a bit.
- When the garlic is a little brown, throw in the mung beans and add remaining ingredients. Saute for about a minute or so, just to brown it a bit and let the flavors develop.
For a softer, less crunchy saute, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover and let cook about 5 minutes.
I would encourage you to throw in anything else you might want in this dish. Add some onions with the garlic if you want, some chilies or maybe some ginger, it’s a very flexible dish.
In the pictures we topped the beans with spring onions and a little parsley. Why not? Cilantro would be great in this too!