Mung beans are considered a very auspicious lentil for the Gujaratis. It’s probably because they are green which is considered a lucky colour for the Gujaratis. They are used in their uncooked form at religious ceremonies like poojas, at weddings, when setting up a new business or even when moving into a new house. These uncooked mung beans are later either cooked for the family or fed to the birds. I like cooking them as they are full of protein. They can be cooked in several ways. They can be soaked and sprouted to be make a curry or a salad. Mung beans are sometimes split and sold husked or dehusked. The dehusked ones are great for making a dry curry often served with kadhi. The husked ones are used for making khichedi or even kachoris. The mung bean curry I have made is with whole mung and the curry is simple and nice to be served with rice, chappatis or parathas. Sometimes when people are unwell or lost their appetite, the mung beans are boiled in extra water which is then used to make a thin watery mung bean soup called ossaman. It’s really tasty and very easy to digest for anyone.
Ingredients (for 3-4 servings):
- Half a cup of whole mug beans
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 small pieces of cinnamon sticks
- 2 or 3 cloves
- 1 or 2 small dry red chillies (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chilly powder
- 2 green chillies sliced through the middle ( if you like hot food!)
- 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
- 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped into small chunks or crushed if you don’t like chunks of garlic
- 1 tablespoon sugar or jaggery
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice ( can use more if you like sweet and sour taste)
- tomatoes – preferably half a can of crushed tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes can be used but would need to be softened a bit before adding.
- 1 tablespoon tomato puri
- a few curry leaves and a small bunch of coriandar
1. Wash and mug and if possible allow them to soak for a couple of hours.
2. Add a litre of water to the mug and boil them until they soften and split – I used a pressure cooker and cooked them for 40 minutes on a medium heat. Some people like their mug runny and can add more water. I prefer mine to be thick so don’t add too much water to them whilst cooking them. Also, it’s always easier to add water to the mug as it is cooking so start off with just a litre of water. If you have an Instant Pot – the mung beans only take 8 minutes to soften. The rest of the recipe will still work if you have boiled your mung in the Instant Pot.
Whilst the mug is cooking, prepare the spices etc:
3. Blend the tomatoes in a bowl and add the tomato puri, salt, turmeric, chilly powder, sugar, lemon juice, the green chilies, crushed ginger, crushed garlic and curry leaves to the tomatoes and mix well.
4. Once the Mung Beans have cooked – prepare the seasoning by Pouring 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and let it warm. Add in the cinnamon, cloves, the dry red chilies and mustard seeds to the oil. The mustard seeds and cloves will pop so keep the saucepan covered. Once they popping add the tomato mixture with all the spices to the oil and stir well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
5. Now add the cooked mung beans to the tomato mixture and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. At this stage, you can either cook it further to reduce the water – or add water to the mung – depending on how you like your mung.
For a change, I added some veggie bites to my mug curry recently and really enjoyed the taste.