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The Mighty Mung Bean

By Alana Sugar, May 30, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Beans, beans the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…get the benefit of precious plant protein and favorable fiber. With so many varieties right here at home, can you believe that around the world there are still more choices? This reminds me of my year in Mumbai, India where I learned to love a variety of beans not so common to my native home. One in particular stands out in my mind: the mung bean. When I was child in Louisiana, I was certain my Dad taught me everything I needed to know about beans, like how to sing the song, what they were called, what dishes you ate them in, and the noisy effect they had on your belly. I knew limas were in lots of dishes, split peas came in soup with a ham hock, and pintos came in hot-n-spicy Texas chili. Moving to California, then to Hawaii and later to Texas matured me quickly. Soon I was able to grasp the concept of lentils, black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans and, of course, the versatile soybean, but it was my year in India that opened my palate to a whole new level of bean cuisine. That’s where I learned to love the small, oval-shaped “Mighty Mung” bean. Mung beans can be purchased whole or split and hulled. They are delicate and slightly sweet in flavor and range in color from green to yellow to black. I am especially fond of the split, hulled variety, which I call the “mellow-yellow-mung.” In Indian cuisine, it is known as moong dhal. Traditionally cooked with spices and herbs, ghee and vegetables, a dish of moong dhal creates a delicious, nourishing meal that, as beans go, is relatively easy to digest. A complete meal is often moong dhal paired with Basmati rice, vegetables and Indian roti (bread). Quick Noodle Salad with Tofu and VegetablesHere in the U. S. mung beans are probably best known for their sprouts, used in Asian dishes and salads. Unlike many other legumes, mung beans do not need to be pre-soaked. They cook quickly, especially the yellow split variety. Around the world, they are revered as a healing food. If you’ve yet to try the “mighty mung,” I think you’ll be pretty pleased with these ideas:

  • Broccoli Salad with Almond and Chili DressingCook them with flavorful, colorful veggies and aromatics such as garlic, onion, ginger, chives, leeks, carrots and multi-colored peppers.
  • Add the sprouts to just about any Asian dish. Here’s an idea for Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce.
  • Cook with Basmati rice and spices for a more traditional Indian-style meal.
  • Mash well cooked beans and use as a thickener in soups, sauces and gravies.
  • Serve cooked mung beans as a side dish to chicken, tofu or tempeh.
  • Replace the French lentils in this recipe for Lentil Soup with Smokey Ham with mung beans.
  • Cook mung beans until just tender. Toss with chopped cucumber, carrots, celery, radish and your favorite salad dressing. Remember: Don’t overcook!
  • Add cooked mung beans to your favorite pasta sauce.

Have you tried mung beans? Got a favorite recipe? I’d love to know!

Category: Food & Recipes




foster steele says ...
could you please tell me if you have sorghum syrup in your fresno store ,,thank you ,,,,foster steele
05/30/2011 8:50:07 AM CDT
Rebecca says ...
Also something interesting with Mung Beans is a cold Mung Bean soup popular in East Asia, eaten in the summer to cool off, it's slightly sweet and very refreshing.
05/31/2011 8:46:34 PM CDT
Elana Steinberg says ...
I found this recipe online a few years ago and made some changes. I love spicy food, and I love Indian seasonings. This is a wonderful soup.My family likes it, too. The leftovers we have all week. You can cut the recipe down. This is doubled. Spicy Mung Bean Soup Garlic (I use a lot, and saute it in the pot) 2 cups mung beans 2 chopped tomatoes A big bunch of cilantro 2 chopped jalapeno peppers About 10 cups of water 2" piece of fresh ginger grated 1 tsp turmeric 2 tsp cumin 2 tsp curry 2 tsp garam masala Juice of one lemon Salt
06/02/2011 8:22:21 AM CDT
Kathy says ...
I accidentally soaked a pot of mung beans in water for 3 days. (forgot about them) I'm wondering if they are still good. They have not been cooked yet. Thanks for your thoughts in advance.
10/26/2011 10:10:17 PM CDT
Nathan Oen says ...
We actually drink mung beans as the ice mung beans. It's popular drink in Indonesia specially at West Java. It's very simple recipe, you boil mung beans with a slice of ginger and brown sugar (palm sugar). Then after it cool, just mix with the ice and coconut milk or just mix with ice with that brown sugar syrup.
05/21/2012 8:19:02 PM CDT
Dan says ...
Great suggestions. I love adding them to my salads for an extra flavor hit and also to my sandwiches. Thanks
07/22/2012 9:30:26 PM CDT
Sally King says ...
A friend told me that she always used mung beans to make tea, but I did not understand how. Do you have a recipe for this?
04/03/2013 8:41:15 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SALLY - Unfortunately, I was unable to find a recipe on our site, but I would try searching online to see if there is a good recipe floating around out there!
04/09/2013 1:54:17 PM CDT
phyllis says ...
Does Whole Foods stock mung beans that can be sprouted?
05/20/2013 3:46:25 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@PHYLLIS - Our products vary between stores so check with your local store to see what they have in stock!
05/20/2013 4:38:20 PM CDT
mike o"leary says ...
soak them in water/2 cups with 1/4 cup rice..then blend and use as pancake batter..will need about 1/2 cup of liguid..I use Japanese Dashi. this is a korean dish.
05/22/2013 2:06:11 PM CDT
Dianne says ...
What a great article to introduce the novice greenie on the benefits and preparation of mung beans. You enticed me to get going on my sprouts!
07/01/2013 3:27:04 PM CDT
Wendy says ...
Hi, Are your mung beans organically grown and non-GMO? Thanks!
08/23/2013 8:26:50 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@WENDY - The vendors for our mung beans will vary between stores. Check with your local store to see if they carry an organic option, which according to USDA standards, cannot contain GMOs.
08/23/2013 2:31:41 PM CDT
J'Marinde Shephard says ...
Do you have any (Soy Free) MUNG BEAN tofu? Thank you!
11/01/2013 11:00:37 AM CDT
J'Marinde Shephard says ...
Re: mike o"leary says ... soak them in water/2 cups with 1/4 cup rice..then blend and use as pancake batter..will need about 1/2 cup of liguid..I use Japanese Dashi. this is a korean dish. 05/22/2013 2:06:11 PM CDT HOW Much water, soak for HOW long? Blend with the soaking water or not? Any special equipment to use for soaking (such as non metal bowl, etc.?) Add anything else? Please be thorough if you want to be helpful. Thank you for an interesting beginning .
11/01/2013 11:07:41 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@J'MARDINE - Specific products will vary between store locations. Check with your local store to see what they have in stock!
11/01/2013 2:46:26 PM CDT
Maria says ...
I need gliuten free yellow split mung beans and live in Miami. Had look in your stores and you don't have it, do you carry it in other stores, and if so can I order online or by phone? Thanks,
11/18/2013 6:44:09 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MARIA - We do not currently offer online ordering. We have a store in Austin that can ship products. You can reach them at 512-542-2243 to see if they have GF Mung Beans in stock. I'm not sure if I have seen a certified GF option as sometimes the vendor might process other items containing wheat on the shared equipment.
11/19/2013 11:58:53 AM CST
Rose says ...
How do you cook Mung beans - just plain...
01/24/2014 7:52:52 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ROSE - Here is a basic recipe for brown rice and mung beans. You should be able to tweak it if you just wanted to use mung beans: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/brown-rice-and-mung-bean-pilaf.
01/28/2014 1:54:24 PM CST
tom says ...
Why is it taking me a hour to find a mung bean cooking recipe?
03/26/2014 5:24:04 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TOM - It's possible since it is a rare ingredient, recipes are harder to find. There are some great ones posted above so let us know how they turn out!
03/27/2014 2:00:56 PM CDT
David says ...
I love mung beans, but they are best in their sprouted form.
06/05/2014 12:01:45 PM CDT
Nikki Matala says ...
Thanks--this was very helpful info!
06/11/2014 11:03:10 AM CDT