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The Curious Mungbean

October 25, 2010

Evening, friends!  Another Monday under the old belt, eh?

I actually got a lot of work done this afternoon—I completed my grading for all of my online courses, as well as my Penn State comp classes.  Whew! It was a long afternoon of basically sitting at my desk, but it’s worth it to have all that work done.  Plus I listened to NPR as I graded, which always helps the work go by faster.  Actually, it probably makes it go by slower, because it makes me less efficient…but it makes the work a whole lot more pleasant!


At 4:30, I took a break from the work to get started on dinner.  Soup was on the menu for tonight, so I wanted to make it early so that it would have at least a little time to sit.  All soup gets better the longer it sits, right?

A few months ago, I bought a big bag of mung beans, after being turned on to them by my friend Elyssa, who is into Ayurvedic cooking (and living).  According to the website, AyurBalance:

Mung beans are one of the most cherished foods in ayurveda. They are tridoshic–they can be eaten to balance all three doshas, especially when cooked with spices appropriate for each dosha. They are very nourishing, while being relatively easy to digest–they do not generally create abdominal gas or bloating, the drawbacks of larger beans. Persons recuperating are often recommended khichari, a combination of rice and mung beans, because of their ability to provide a good level of nourishment without overtaxing the digestion.

Mung beans offer 14 gms of protein per cooked cup. Mung beans are also a good source of dietary fiber. They also contain thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, and are a good source of folate.

What’s not to like?

You can buy mung beans whole, which are green, or split, which are yellow.  Here are what the split mung beans look like:

mung beans

The split mung beans don’t need soaking—you can cook them right up, kind of like lentils! In fact, that’s what mung beans remind me of: a smaller, less durable version of a lentil.  I say “less durable” because our mung beans seemed to break down a bit more in the cooking process.

Here’s the soup I came up with:

Mung Bean Soup


1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 cup split mung beans

4 cups vegetable stock

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp. garam masala

salt and pepper to season

2-3 cups fresh spinach


In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat olive oil.  Add onion and cook for five minutes.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and cook for another five minutes, until onion and garlic are glistening and soft.  Add mung beans, stock, lemon, tomatoes, and garam masala.  Season with additional salt and pepper, and stir well.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for at least 45 minutes, or longer over very low heat.  Just before serving, stir in spinach and stir to wilt. 

The verdict?

This soup was gooooood.  The gararm masala gave it a nice depth of flavor, and I really liked the texture of the mung beans.  They expanded during cooking, so the soup was nice and thick. Here are some pictures:

mung bean soup

mung bean soup

mung bean soup

Yum! We ate our soup with lots of fresh-baked bread:

DSC_0017 (46)

DSC_0018 (44)

…baked by Ryan!  After I publish this, Ryan is going to start working on his guest post for tomorrow!

Hope you had a great day! Goodnight!

25 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2010 11:37 pm

    Oh Anna, the soup and the bread look amazing! I love mung beans! You guys should sprout your own. It is so easy and you would love it! Can’t wait to hear about the bread! Enjoy your evening.

    • October 26, 2010 3:14 pm

      I definitely need to try that! Sprouting intimidates me 🙂

  2. October 26, 2010 12:34 am

    I seriously can’t imagine eating ANY type of bean without getting gas from it!! I would be shocked. I’ve never tried a mungbean though, so I think an experiment is needed 🙂

    The soup recipe sounds amazing. I love garam masala!

  3. Jen permalink
    October 26, 2010 1:00 am

    you’re man bakes now?! awesome!

  4. October 26, 2010 1:16 am

    Where did you find mung beans? I want to make this soup it looks so warming!

    • October 26, 2010 3:14 pm

      We found ours in the grocery store, in the international food aisle with the Indian foods!

  5. October 26, 2010 1:56 am

    I used to eat mung beans, I am not really sure why I stopped. They are so good for you.

    And this bread…oh my!

  6. October 26, 2010 2:09 am

    i’m baking bread right now! it’s totally kicking my ass too… 🙂

  7. greensandjeans permalink
    October 26, 2010 3:23 am

    Oooh! Has Ryan ever done a guest post before? I love a good bread recipe!

    • October 26, 2010 3:13 pm

      This will be his first one! He’s *very* excited 🙂

  8. October 26, 2010 3:40 am

    That soup sounds so good! I love the thickness the mung beans gave it! Must try this new item! I had never even heard of mung beans!

  9. actorsdiet permalink
    October 26, 2010 3:42 am

    mmm i love mung beans! haven’t had them in a while – very comforting!

  10. October 26, 2010 4:37 am

    The day my husband bakes bread… hell will freeze over. I’m jealous.

  11. October 26, 2010 5:57 am

    mung beans and the soup..awesome!

    i am all about dosha talk and ayurvedic healing. i sorta knew that mung beans were good for all doshas (pita, vata, and kapha) but thanks for the memory refresher!

    your comment to me about small town living and no problems parking…loved it 🙂

  12. October 26, 2010 11:49 am

    I’ve never had mung beans, but I’ll admit they’ve always sounded kind of boring to me…this post proves me wrong though, because that soup looks absolutely delicious!!

  13. October 26, 2010 12:12 pm

    that soup looks delicious! Soup is one of my favorite foods, so comforting! I am one of those crazy people that still had soup in the middle of summer! And your right about them being very popular in Ayurvedic cooking. They believe mung beans to be dextoifying, so its a double bonus!! 🙂

  14. joannasutter permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:14 pm

    Thanks for the education on mung beans! Who knew you didn’t have to soak the suckers??

    I do like these beans…but the name freaks me out for some reason. ;0)

  15. Ginger permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:34 pm

    I’m going today to Sunshine to see if they have mung beans (and also garam masala) That soup looks awesome! I can’t wait for Ryan’s guest post!!

  16. October 26, 2010 1:23 pm

    I’m not had mung beans before. This soup looks soooo good – especially considering it’s dark and rainy right now!

  17. October 26, 2010 2:50 pm

    Anna, I haven’t done mung beans in forever…thanks for the reminder! Definitely going to try this soup…looks so satisfying!

  18. October 26, 2010 3:13 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever had mung beans before…it does remind me of Indian daal though so I bet I’d love it. Anything with garam masala is usually a hit in my book!

  19. Keverlee permalink
    October 27, 2010 10:44 am

    Made this soup last night. Deliciousness verified.

    • October 27, 2010 12:05 pm

      I’m glad it was good!! I realized last night that I left out an ingredient– lemon juice! We added the juice from half a lemon when we added the stock. Not a huge thing, but…if you make it again 🙂

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