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Mung beans, don’t ask me when or why I bought these. Apparently, it was so long ago because the best by date was in 2016.
You may be asking, “Megan, what ARE mung beans?”, well, let’s see what Wikipedia has to say:
The mung bean (Vigna radiata), alternatively known as the moong bean, green gram, or mung Sanskrit मुद्ग / mugda, is a plantspecies in the legume family. The mung bean is mainly cultivated in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Korea, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is used as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.
They are really small, green beans that I have only ever seen in the sprouted form on salads.
Last Saturday, I pulled two bags out of my pantry, mung beans and chana dal. I let them sit on my counter for a couple of days, mostly to irritate my husband but also to consider what dish I should try.
I did what everyone does now with ingredients they have no idea how to use, I Googled it.
Up comes a fantastic looking recipe from The Minimalist Vegan called Hearty Mung Bean Stew with Kale.
Great! I had all the ingredients, including the kale which was still in the freezer since before Christmas. I shoved it in their before running out the door on vacation hoping that I would still be able to use it in some way. It’s actually difficult to find kale in Switzerland…
The last time I cooked dried beans I ended up cooking the dish for several hours over three nights, and that was after soaking them. They never did get really soft. So needless to say I was quite nervous that these beans would be too hard.
I soaked them overnight with water, luckily I choose a bowl that was big enough because they doubled in size by morning.
I was totally in uncharted waters here, not only using a bean I’ve never tried before but now I was deviating from the recipe. I was going to cook them in my new CrockPot!
I drained the soaking water from the beans and threw them in the pot. I added my homemade chicken stock and brought it to a boil. What? you didn’t know you can boil in a CrockPot, well you can in mine! The liner can be used on my induction stove top, BOOYA!
After bringing it to a boil and skimming off the foam I moved the liner to the base, set it on low for 7.5 hours and went to work saying a little prayer that I wouldn’t come back to beans all over my counter or a ruined slow cooker.
What did I find when returning home?
PERFECTLY COOKED BEANS! Seriously soft and awesome.
Now I set the beans back on the induction stove top to finish the recipe. In a separate pan, I sauteed the onions, garlic, ginger etc. and dumped it all back in with the beans. Even the kale worked out. It was so easy to cut out the stem and chop up the leaves. I threw those in the pot too.
Now for the taste test, a little bland so I added some Tony Cachere’s Creole seasoning for heat and salt. I would add more heat to my own bowl with sriracha sauce but I have to keep it pretty tame for the husband.
And DONE! I ate two bowls because it was awesome.
When the husband came home I painted a great word picture about the stew and he was okay up to the point where I mentioned the kale. UGH! Fortunately, the pieces were big enough he could pick them out BUT if I had chopped them up smaller he would never have noticed them. Lesson learned.
I can now say I’ve cooked with mung beans and I have to say they are pretty similar to lentils when it comes to the final texture. They make a very creamy stew and have a very mild flavor, great for adding whatever other flavors you want.
They made me a little bloated as do other beans and legumes so no big surprise there.
Go to your store, see if they have mung beans and give them a whirl to add some variety to your life.
Try out The Minimalist Vegan Hearty Mung Bean Stew recipe (even if you are not vegan) and let me know how yours turned out. Please, no pictures, this stuff is not pretty, but it tastes great and it’s good for you!
Actual prep/cook time for me ~20 minutes.