Easy Mung Bean Soup

November 23, 2014

IMG_6609I grew up in an Asian family where soup was an integral part of the meal. Sometimes it was as simple as a fragrant broth to cleanse the palate and aid digestion between bites of delicious morsels. Other times, it could slightly thicker and creamy such as this mung bean and coconut milk (or regular milk, if you prefer) soup.

Easy to make, use peeled and split yellow mung beans, which are readily available in Asian markets or online. Originating in India, and spreading throughout Asia, they’ve been enjoyed for thousands of years in numerous recipes, both sweet and savory.

An added benefit is that unlike other types of beans, these cook rather quickly. In less than 1 hour you can have soup on the table. Fragrant with spiced coconut oil (experiment and use whatever spice you like) and topped with caramelized onions, ginger and top with some refreshing tender cilantro leaves.

health benefits: mung beans are a low-glycemic, high-fiber food, which helps to reduce or fight diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

Note: You’ll notice that the soup is very subtle in flavor, trusting that the flavors of the spiced coconut oil will do the trick. As always I pull back in order to taste every ingredient in the foods I cook. My soups are never the same twice, as a result. My recipes are there for you to use as a basic guide and encourage you to make them your own.

SPICED MUNG BEAN COCONUT SOUP

(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup split yellow mung beans
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 quart filtered water
salt to taste

In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil and the curry powder. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mung beans, stirring until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until the mung beans break down and the soup thickens. Season with salt to taste.

SPICED COCONUT OIL (optional; use any spice you like)

(makes 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon black onion seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
7 green cardamom pods
3 pieces black cardamom
5 curry leaves
2 cassia leaves (sometimes referred to as “Indian basil”)
2 whole dried cayenne peppers
3 whole star anise

In a small pot over medium-low heat, add the spices and stir until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a heat-proof jar.

ONION-GINGER TOPPING

(makes about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large yellow or red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ounces ginger (equivalent of about a 2-inch piece), peeled and julienned
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only

In a skillet over high heat, add the grapeseed oil and stir-fry the onion until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger and continue to stir-fry until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes more. Set aside with fresh cilantro leaves

ASSEMBLE THE MUNG BEAN SOUP

Taste your soup and make sure it is seasoned to your liking. Serve hot in individual bowls, adding a tablespoon of fragrant coconut oil (with some onion seeds, if you like). Top with some of the stir-fried onion and ginger mixture and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy, remembering to breathe and savor every spoonful.

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