My first contact with mung beans was through glass noodles. My mother often used them to stuff chicken or squid when I lived in Morocco. Glass noodles are lovely, light and low calorie but nutritionally very insubstantial. Actual mung beans, however, are a storehouse of nutrients. They’re also light on the tummy and easy to digest.
When mung beans are cooked they open up and become soft and yellow in color. The texture and taste are similar to those of yellow or red lentils. Like any lentil or bean soup recipe, you have to make liberal use of spices to define the dish. This one is seasoned with coriander, cumin, and ginger, and has a bit of a kick thanks to a hint of cayenne pepper.
Mung bean soup is perhaps more suitable for the warmer months than other bean soups are. When combined with Spring or summer edible greens, it has an even fresher feel. I used spinach but I think nettle, collard or mustard greens would all be fantastic in this soup.
MUNG BEAN SOUP RECIPE
Yield: 4 SERVINGS
Prep Time: 10 MIN
Cook Time: 45 min
- 1 large onion
- 1 large tomato
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 6.5 cups vegetable broth (or a mix of broth and water)
- 1 cup green mung beans, preferably pre-soaked
- 2 cups chopped spinach or other edible greens
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
Step 1: Process the onion, tomato, and garlic in a food processor until minced. Transfer to a soup pot.
Step 2: Add the ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, pepper and broth/water. Bring to a boil.
Step 3: Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the mung beans, cover and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the beans are open and soft, and the soup is thicker.
Step 4: Remove from the heat. Incorporate the spinach, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir and let sit 10 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt and the soup to cool down a bit. Serve the soup by itself or with warm cooked rice or flatbread.
Note: This soup tastes better the next day so be sure to save leftovers.