Mung bean curry - easy, inexpensive protein rich meat alternative to go with any kind of flat bread or plain rice.
Quite filling yet easy on the stomach to have on week night just takes15 minutes to cook and give it a few minutes on low(NPR). By the time you warm up the breads or make rice the curry is ready and waiting for you. How easy is that!
Train your palate to eat all kinds of lentils and beans because you survive most adverse situations like price rise, other essential food items stuck in transportation grid lock, dietary restrictions, meat scarcity (Ya then I better die right!) I say start small with known ingredients before going for unfamiliar complex flavors.
When most Indian curries draw its flavors from heavy spices this mung beans curry gets the aroma and flavor from the cooked coriander leaves. The fennel and cumin adds to it. You can add all the spices you want but the simplicity of the curry is lost. Best part is you don't have to go hunting for specific ingredients that you have no use for later.
Alternatives for Mung beans
- Split green peas dry
- Yellow split pigeon peas (Toor dal)
- Azuki beans
- Red lentils - masoor dal
- Moth beans
- Any fast cooking lentils can be used in this recipe.
Should the green gram /mung bean be soaked before cooking?
Soaking helps in faster cooking and better digestion especially in the winter months. But mung beans cooks well even without the extra step.
Why is the cooked lentil/ beans hard?
- Old dry beans - Beans that have been in your pantry forever have passed their prime and needs to be tossed as you cannot salvage them in anyway. Can be fed to birds or used as pie weights if you have large quantities.
- Liquid level - The beans should be covered with liquid to cook evenly. When there is not enough water in the cooking pot the beans will dry out fast before getting a chance to soften.
- Tart ingredients - Adding too much acidic or tart ingredients like tomato , tamarind or citrus juices or vinegars will stop the cooking process and prevent the beans from softening.
- Hard water - The minerals in the hard water can interfere with the beans getting even cooked.
When buying lentils / beans what to keep in mind?
- Buy small quantities of beans and avoid bulk buying and storing if you are a small family of 1 or 2 people.
- Small pests attack stored lentils and beans easily and spread fast to other dry food items stored in the kitchen cabinet too creating a menace to clean up.
- Some beans are treated for pest control so much that they do not cook in spite of pressure cooking for long hours. Buy from reputed places and brands. Avoid scoop buying from open bins
Other dals you can try :
Mung bean curry
- Instant pot / Electric pressure cooker
- 1/2 cup Mung bean / Green lentils
- 1 inch piece Ginger chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 medium Red Onion chopped
- 1 Tomato chopped
- Few sprigs coriander leaves with stem chopped
- 2 tsp Olive oil / Cooking oil
- 1/2 Lime
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Fennel seeds
- 1 tsp Paprikka powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Rinse the mung beans couple of times. Soak in a cup of water until its cooked.
- Switch on the instant pot in SAUTE Mode add olive oil. When it heats up add the cumin seeds then the fennel give it a minute for the aromas to release Then the chopped ginger, garlic then the red onion saute for 2 minutes then cover and cook for a minute.
- Now add red chili powder turmeric and salt.( In case the sauce mode is too hot switch off and work in the residual heal for a minute) so the powders don't burn.
- Add tomato saute for a minute then add the mung bean with water, coriander leaves and 1 1/2 cups water or slightly more if you are looking for a runny curry. (too much water will make the curry bland)
- Pressure cook for 10 minutes allow the pressure to go for LO for 15-20 minutes.Open mash slightly with end of the ladle, squeeze 1/2 the lime on top stir well, garnish with coriander leaves and serve warm with any flat bread or plain rice of your choice. WATCH the video for more ideas.
Store left over curry in an airtight container and use within two days.
Hope you will give this mung beans curry a try and let me know.