By the time you read this post, I'll be on a plane to Seattle to celebrate my granddaughter's first birthday. She was born on Valentine's day which may explain why she is so incredibly sweet and lovable! I can't wait to see her and her parents, and our other Seattle-based son and his girlfriend. We'll also be in Seattle all through next week, seriously looking into whether or not we want to move there. But more about that if it actually happens.
Now on to the soup. I was about to put the raisin jar back on its shelf when I noticed the forgotten jar sitting behind it. It contained about two cups of whole mung beans. I couldn't even remember the last time I'd made anything with those beans, but I really like mung bean soup. Most people think of mung beans as the sprouts that appear so often in Chinese dishes, but the unsprouted beans make a wonderful soup. You can buy them whole or split (mung dal), with or without their skins, but I love the way the small, oval, green whole beans look, so I've always bought them whole. I don't soak them, though you could, and I like to cook them in the pressure cooker, but they can just as easily be cooked in a regular pot. They are supposed to be very healthful and easy to digest. I'm on a ginger and garlic streak so I combined those with what seemed like complimentary spices. I used crushed red pepper because we were out of cayenne and I completely forgot to add the cilantro. It was delicious.
uncooked, whole mung beans
Mung bean soup
2 cups whole mung beans, sorted, washed and drained
7 cups water (more if you want a thinner soup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more if you like it really hot)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sweetener of choice
juice of 1 lime
1 bunch kale, washed, center stem removed, chopped
1 large carrot, julienned
toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- Put the beans in a pressure cooker with the water and bring to pressure. Cook for 25 minutes. (You can also cook the beans in a regular pot but it will take a bit longer.)
- When the beans are cooked, you can either leave them whole, blend them into a smooth purée, or blend about half of the soup with an immersion or regular blender. I chose to partially blend the beans to achieve a soup with a bit of texture.
- While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the cumin seeds and fry until they turn brown. (Don't let them burn.)
- Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric and salt and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Add the cayenne, kale and carrot and stir-fry until the kale is tender and bright green. You may need to add a splash of water to the wok if it's too dry.
- When the vegetables are cooked, add them to the beans along with the sugar and lime juice. Add a tablespoon or two of water to the wok and scrape up any remaining seasonings to add to the soup pot.
- Serve in bowls garnished with pumpkin seeds, hot sauce and fresh coriander.