When I blog something about curry, how could I ever skip mentioning this mung bean curry? This is an Indian style curry and with the ingredients that are easily available here in the United States.
Mung bean curry
There are zillions of curry recipes already online, most have an authentic long list of ingredients that may frustrate the beginners to stay away from the Indian cooking. And the rest talks about curry but they fail in the main flavoring aspects of curry.
And this mung bean curry recipe is an effort to fill the gap in-between. This easy recipe is perfect for the beginners, with the simplified procedure but most importantly retain all the rich flavors and taste of the original curry.
Curry is not about dumping all the ingredients straight into the pan, it is all about the process of enhancing all the original characters of those unique spices. If you understand this concept, you will never need a long list of ingredients or a store-bought readymade spice mix.
Each ingredient has its incomparable aroma, it’s our responsibility to bring out its fragrance in the best possible way. For example, let’s talk about cumin.
Just adding the cumin seeds to a recipe will not result in delicious food. Instead, add cumin seeds to the warm oil in low flame. Allow these to sizzle until it starts browning and notices that few may crackle. These get infused with the oil, furthermore, the oil changes its color too.
You try this technique once and see the difference in the cooking including this mung bean curry. And this concept works with other closely related ingredients as well. Let me try to elaborate as far as I could.
What is a mung bean?
These are commonly used in the Asian continent, especially in Southeast Asia and India. Protein rice bean, and widely used as the plant-based alternatives of meat and egg. Getting this bean here in the U.S. is not difficult, this is the green-colored bean now available in many stores, you can locate them at the international aisle.
This is also called as the moong bean or moong dal. It is also available in three forms, whole bean, split bean, and skinless(yellow mung bean). But the cooking time varies each of these, let’s see those in detail below.
What is mung bean curry?
This is creamy, delicious and flavorful, thick flowy consistency food with all the tastes. It is the combination of the taste.
What to serve with?
This moong bean curry is best to serve with white rice, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, naan, or other Indian flatbreads. This Indian style curry is loaded with flavors, so a simple, plain side would perform the best. Here are a few suggestions but not limited to,
How to make Mung bean curry
This recipe is compatible with stovetop, crockpot, Instant pot, or pressure cooker method. We will discuss them below.
Mung bean. These are available in three forms, as the whole bean, split, or skinless. This recipe is about the whole bean or split bean. The whole bean and the split bean do not vary much in the cooking process and in the end product. But the skinless mung bean is quick to cook and the curry looks bright yellow in color.
Cumin seeds. This is the flavor booster. So, I would say this is a must.
Cooking oil. There is no exact requirement for the cooking oil. Any neutral-flavored cooking oil is fine, like canola oil, vegetable oil. I have used vegetable oil here in this recipe.
Cayenne pepper. A good alternative to authentic Indian red chili powder. If you have red chili powder handy and comfortable with its heat, please substitute this with full or half the quantity, according to your preference.
Turmeric powder. It gives a luscious golden color to the curry but will not impact the taste.
Bay leaf. Added for the fragrance alone, discard it before serving.
Garlic. Another must in this recipe which enhances the taste and the aroma. It is our family’s golden rule of thumb, to use whole beans with ginger or garlic.
Cilantro. It gives a refreshing flavor and gives a pleasing look to the mung bean curry.
The Recipe directions
The soaking time. Soak minimum for six hours, however soaking overnight is the ideal option. When soaked completely it triples its original size. Soaking makes it easy for cooking, for the stomach health too.
Cooking with Instant Pot. Set the timer manually to 12 minutes.
Cooking with Crockpot: Cook it high for 4 hours(the time slightly varies to the size of crockpot).
Cooking over Stovetop: Cook for 20-30 minutes low to medium heat by adding 3 cups of water(do stir occasionally and add water if needed).
Can I make without soaking? I would recommend soaking the mung bean prior to cooking. But in case you do not have enough time for soaking, Over medium heat roast dried mung beans until they slightly change the color. Dry roasting speed ups the cooking time.
I do not have cumin seeds can I skip that? The mung beans have thick skin, some may find it difficult to digest. So the cumin seeds and garlic lifesavers. Though technically, cumin seeds will not heavily impact the mung bean curry, I suggest to use it. It is a good investment for better health. After using throw the rest of the cumin seeds to the freezer, and it stays good for years.
Can I make in advance? Yes, this freezer friendly and good for meal prepping as well. So, you can make well in advance store them in the refrigerator upto five days and upto three months when frozen.
How to store? An airtight container is always the best option like any other food. Once cooked, allow it to reach the room temperature., then store as the individual single-serve portions.
How to reheat? Whenever needed, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat using the microwave for about two minutes. Or a quarter cup of water and bring it to boil when choosing to reheat over the stovetop.
Other curry recipes,
- Indian cauliflower curry
- Capsicum curry
- Aloo matar-Indian potato peas curry
- Indian cabbage curry
- Madurai chicken curry
Mung bean curry
Ingredients for soaking
- 1 cup moong bean Presoaked minimum for 6 hours
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds onion
- 1/4 cup onion chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic
- 7 oz diced tomato
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or as required
- 1/2 tsp ground Coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp butter optional or coconut milk or fresh cream
- Soak mung bean in 6 cups of water for 6 hours. Then rinse and drain moong dal and set aside. Discard the water.
- Set the Instant pot to saute mode.
- Add vegetable oil, cumin seeds. Wait until cumin seeds slightly change its color.
- Add onion and saute until it turns translucent.
- Now add minced garlic, and saute till fragrance.
- Add canned diced tomato. Saute for a minute
- Add cayenne pepper, ground coriander, and turmeric powder.
- Sauce for a few seconds.
- Add soaked and drained mung bean.
- Set the Instant pot cooking timer for 12 minutes.
- Wait for 10 minutes to release the steam naturally.
- Open the lid, add salt, chopped cilantro and butter.
- Use a whisk to slightly crush the mung bean.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with naan or rice.
- Presoak the mung bean for minum of 6 hours to overnight.
- More it soaks the better is the result.
- If you do not have time for soaking, you may dry roast the mung bean to speed up the cooking time.