mung beans with indian spices & lemon (revisited)

by goodnessis

The following post was first published in June, 2009 in the very beginning stages of our blog. We both love this dish, so thought we would update it & repost it.


Usually I never know what I am going to cook until I venture into the garden and start picking, smelling, and just being present and then the excitement, the inspiration starts to flow and always followed by a sense of elation.  There is always an abundance and a sense of energy, a desire for simplicity.  The idea of planting a seed, watching it grow, protecting it then eating the result which was nurtured, feed and watered gives an extraordinary sense of completeness and purpose.  A closer connection to a higher source.  A sense of joy.

This dish is a particular favourite.  Earthy and filling.  Usually at this time of year there is an abundance of spinach, kale or chard in the vegetable garden, which I steam lightly until emerald-green.  I try to keep the greens bursting with colour, flavour and nutrients by giving them very little cooking time.  Sometimes if the zucchini’s need to be picked I use those instead of the beans, sweet peas in Spring or broccoli in the colder months.

This is also one of those dishes which will keep you warm and nourished in Winter and because of the unique nature of the beans – cooling in Summer.  Mung beans are easy to digest and in Ayurveda are considered medicinal, cleansing and one of the keys to a long, vibrant and healthy life.  Mung beans are also valued for their anti-inflammatory benefits and highly nutritious blood purifier.  By neutralizing toxins throughout the body, they are able to calm the mind and promote the healing of all diseases.  They are high in protein, rich source of fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals.


4V7A02344V7A0056mung beans with indian spices & lemon

(serves 4)

1 cup of mung beans

4 cups of water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon of ghee

1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

5 fresh curry leaves

1 whole green  chilli

1/2  cup of fresh grated coconut

handful of green beans, finely chopped

350g of fresh spinach or chard

salt to taste

juice of a lemon

handful of fresh coriander

Wash the mung beans thoroughly and place in a saucepan with the water. Add the turmeric powder and a little ghee.   Bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer, almost cover the pot with a lid and leave till they are tender – about 30 minutes, depending on your mung beans.  Just keep in mind you may have to add more water when cooking.   If using a pressure cooker, allow for three whistles and wait for the pressure to release.

Wash the spinach or chard and steam until just wilted.  (The left over water from the spinach can be added to the mung beans if needed.)   When cool enough to handle squeeze out excess moisture.  Chop finely and set aside.  (If I am short of time I skip the steaming process half the amount (as the water content can dilute the flavour) and add at the end, stirring into the soup until it has wilted.)

In a pan heat the ghee, add the cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves, and whole chilli.  (If you want it spicier, cut open the chilli).  When the cumin seeds darken slightly add the green beans and saute until just tender pour in with the cooked mung beans.  Add the chopped spinach, salt to taste, coconut, freshly chopped coriander and juice of a lemon (more or less to taste).  Drizzle with ghee when serving.  Enjoy with a bowl of quinoa and oven baked sweet potatoes or slices of pumpkin.


references –

Shared goodness from Stacey

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