This vegan-friendly recipe can be made in about 30 minutes at a laughably cheap cost of 75-80c a serving, and it packs a full and balanced punch of nutrients, fiber, protein and antioxidants.
It also represents yet another foray here at Casual Kitchen into Indian cuisine, which, the more I think about it, might just be the very apogee of all foods. The breadth of Indian cuisine is staggering, and its countless combinations of spices and ingredients yield an endless supply of possible flavors and textures.
When I hear someone say "I don't like Indian food" I can't help but look upon him or her pityingly, and wonder at the stunning ignorance of someone who could make such a sweeping generalization. It's like saying "I don't like candy" or "I don't like ice cream" when, quite obviously, there is a type of candy and a flavor of ice cream out there for everyone. It's just the same with Indian food, and the more we here at Casual Kitchen learn and practice this cuisine, the more we are in sheer awe of its infinite range.
Before we get started with the recipe, let me say a few quick words about the star ingredient: mung beans. You can get them at any health food store or at any Indian food market, and they are surprisingly inexpensive (we paid just $1.59 for a pound of "organic" mung beans at a specialty foods store, which means I probably could have found them elsewhere for less).
Mung beans are found in Indian cuisine, but they're also commonly found, interestingly, in raw cuisine. In fact, the stash of mung beans we had in our pantry dated back to my 100% raw foods trial, and since that was over a year ago, I had some concerns as to whether these guys would actually sprout after all this time.
Not to worry. I did the usual drill: soaked them overnight and then let them sit out on the counter under wet paper towels for a day or two. Within a day, they had tripled in size and were sprouting like mad. It is simply amazing how a seemingly inert and lifeless (and cheap!) legume can spring to life so easily and offer such rich nutritional value.
Indian Mung Bean Stirfry
(Loosely inspired by the Ahaar Blog)
Preliminary: To sprout mung beans, rinse 1 cup of dried beans well, and then soak in 2-3 cups of water for 8-12 hours (the mung beans will be edible after an overnight soaking, and they'll expand to about triple their original size). Next, drain and rinse the beans, and let them stand for another 1-2 days under wet paper towels. The mung beans will quickly sprout and, more importantly, they'll have even more flavor. After 1-2 days, the beans should have sprouts of anywhere from half an inch to 1.5 inches in length.
3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
2 medium tomatoes (or 3-4 plum tomatoes), chopped
3 cups sprouted mung beans (3/4 to 1 cup dried, see above)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 cup water (add more or less, depending on your preference)
1) Heat oil in a large nonstick pan. Add the cumin seeds and the chopped jalapenos and temper them (see note 2 below) on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
2) Add the onions and grated ginger and saute for 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat, until the onions are soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 4-5 minutes more, until the tomatoes are softened.
3) Add the mung beans, ground cumin, turmeric and water and simmer for 10 minutes or so on medium/medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the mung beans are done to your liking (we prefer them crunchy, but not too crunchy). Serve immediately with rice.
1) I shouldn't have to remind you to be careful what parts of your body you touch after handling jalapeno peppers. This is a lesson you only need to learn once, trust me.
2) What does it mean to "temper" the cumin seeds and chopped jalapenos? In Indian cuisine, tempering simply means to heat a combination of spices, usually in oil, as the first step of a recipe.
3) If you're curious about what in the world made me to do a 100% raw food diet experiment, check out the main archive page of my raw food trial. Read it both for humor value and for some surprising insights on both weight loss and managing food cravings.
4) A few more words on mung beans. First, what do they actually taste like? They have a rich, nutty flavor that's subtle, not overpowering, and slightly reminiscent of the bean sprouts you'd find at a standard restaurant salad bar. However, they have what I'd call an "adult" flavor, and I'd bet that most kids won't like this dish all that much.
5) Let's quantify the laughable cheapness of this meal, shall we?
Mung beans 60c
Assuming 4 servings, this works out to 78c/serving. If that's not laughably cheap I do not know what is. And people still try to convince me that healthy food has to be expensive!
Vegan Potato Peanut Curry
Spicy Sauteed Beets
11 Really Easy Rice Side Dishes
Why Salt Sucks
Don't Pay Up For That Cookbook! How to Spend Next to Nothing on a Great Recipe Collection
Help support Casual Kitchen by buying Jules Clancy's exceptional new e-cookbook 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes (see my rabidly positive review here). Or, support CK by buying Everett Bogue's revolutionary book The Art of Being Minimalist. (These are both affiliate links, so if you decide to make a purchase, you'll help fund all of the free content here at CK!
How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by purchasing items from Amazon.com via links on this site, or by linking to me or subscribing to my RSS feed. Finally, you can consider submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, digg or stumbleupon. Thank you for your support!