Sprouted green mung beans, simmered in a curry with coconut milk, cardamoms, onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and spices. Similar to daal or a soup. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
What started out to be a shift from our consumption of the more commonly eaten daals and lentils for dinner, turned out to be a rather pleasantly delicious one! I cooked it like a curry, we slurped it like soup, and also treated it as a daal, it is daal, ultimately best enjoyed with rice and rotis. In front of my 10 year old daughter I will stick to our ‘daal’ which she likes, but if I utter the word ‘soup’, she will instantly turn her head away, much to my chagrin!
I have posted several recipes with lentils and beans, be it good ol daals, soups, stews and the like. It is one of our staple and favorite comfort foods eaten at home, simple, unassuming and good for you, especially growing kids.
I started out by sprouting mung beans or green gram, as it is also called. I sprouted a big batch, kind of double duty cooking for the week. The remaining sprouts, I added to a fresh salad the next day, the recipe to feature in my next blog post. The healthiest way to eat sprouts would be raw or slightly steamed, to retain the nutrition and crunch. I took another route by steaming them in the pressure cooker along with the basic 4’s that go into most curries and deals – onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic. Of course, it would be incomplete and lacking flavour, without the addition of some fragrant whole spices and ground masalas from my spice box or ‘masaldaani’ as I like to call it. The twist, which really gave it, that exciting kick, is coconut milk, along with curry leaves, mustard seeds, white poppy seeds, cardamoms and powdered fennel seeds. It also lent a regional Indian touch to the dish, reminiscent of a coastal Kerala curry. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice, livens up any lentil dish, before you bring it to your dining table to be devoured 🙂
It is wholesome, hearty and nutritious, eaten alone as a soup or accompanied with rice and bread.
Dried green mung beans or green gram – 1 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp. For a dairy-free, vegan diet, substitute with coconut oil.
1 onion, finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 cloves, garlic
A small, say one inch piece fresh ginger
Green chilli or jalapeño, finely minced. The amount depends on the level of heat of one prefers.
A few curry leaves
Coconut milk – 1/2 to 3/4 cup
3 green cardamoms
1 tsp. white poppy seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Salt, to taste
Fresh cilantro and lemon juice.
For the ground spices or masalas –
1 tbsp. coriander powder, 1 tsp. fennel seeds powder, 1/2. tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2. tsp red chilli powder, 1/4. tsp. cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin powder, 1/4 tsp. black pepper powder. Mix together.
Soak the mung beans in water overnight, at least 8 hours. Drain water. Spread the beans evenly on a big plate and cover with a damp muslin cloth or towel. After 6-8 hours, rinse the beans with water and again drain and keep covered. Check again after 6-8 hours. They should sprout by now. For longer sprouts, repeat the process till desired length.
Grind the ginger, garlic, green chillies, cardamom seeds, poppy seeds and cloves, along with a little water, to a paste.
In a large pressure cooker, add ghee. (I use my traditional, old school stove-top, made-in-India pressure cooker :-)). Sauté the onions over low to medium heat till caramelised and golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic spice paste. Add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Sauté for a minute. Add the ground spice mix along with a little water, so that they don’t burn. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and a couple tablespoons water and simmer on low for 8-10 minutes.
Keep stirring and adding water in between, to create the base for the curry.
Add the beans and enough water to cover the beans.
Pressure cook on high for 1 whistle. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release on its own.
Alternatively, one can use a pan or Dutch oven, if you don’t own a pressure cooker. The beans should cook within 20-30 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and salt, to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Before serving, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and squeeze fresh lemon juice.