Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mung Bean Soup

This is a recipe that I made up as I went along, modeled after one I found here, which came from a Whole Foods cookbook anyway.

I love the way mung beans look in the bulk bins.  I had bought some the last time I was at Whole Foods (you know, when you buy way too much stuff you don't have any clue how to cook and fantasize the whole time about being the crunchiest mom on the block.  Then you get home and let it all spoil or languish while you eat brownies and take-out?)

So when I started Project Vegetarian, I knew I wanted to use these mung beans.  I looked up a whole bunch of recipes.  In my head, though, I had this picture of just chopping up a bunch of veggies, cooking the beans, and mixing it all together.  And that's what I did.

No amounts here, folks.  You can see in the photos how much is there.  There was a little more beans than veggies, which worked out fine since I wanted it to be like "Mung Beans with Vegetables", but next time I'd use a little more veggies.

I had about a half a cup of mung beans.  I put them in a bowl of water to rinse them.  None floated to the top as "duds" so I didn't remove any.  I thought they all looked great. 

I drained that water, then put them in a large pot with 4 times their volume in water.  I got that ratio from a little booklet on bulk foods that I picked up from Wild Oats a long time ago.  Obviously, since they haven't been around for a while.  Then that didn't look like enough water, and the other recipe said five cups, so I added another cup.  It was perfect. 

I brought them to a boil and then turned the burner down to simmer.  I started the timer for 30 minutes, since I had a toddler clinging to my leg crying.  At the end, the beans were just a bit shy of done, so I let the remaining soup simmer for 10 more minutes while we ate and they were perfect.  If you have the time, and no clingy toddler, set your timer for 40 minutes.

After they had been cooking about 15 minutes, I added some diced baby carrots.  I like my carrots to be really cooked, so that's why I wanted to add them to the cooking beans, rather than just saute with the other veggies.  You choose.  Also I added some coriander to the cooking beans.  I've never used coriander before, so just a few sprinkles.  I could have used a touch more, but it was still good.

Meanwhile, chop veggies.  First green onions.

Then a vidalia onion and some some garlic.  I had a sous chef.  It's wonderful to have a personal assistant in the kitchen, isn't it?

Saute in a pan with a little olive oil.

A large tomato, chopped.  5 good-sized mushrooms, chopped.  After the onions were translucent, add these to the pan since they don't need much time to cook at all.

When the timer went off on the 30 minutes for the beans, I added the sauteed veggies to the bean pot.  Also added some chopped cilantro, mixed it all together.

I let it simmer for 5 more minutes while I set the table.  At this point the toddler-o-meter was reaching Meltdown stage, so I was grabbing bowls and cups and singing "dinner's almost ready, honey".  15 minutes would have been a better simmer, but I didn't have that.

It was very yummy.  I didn't take photos of the bowls, since we just dug in.  I did top with just a smidge of shredded monterey jack cheese.  The Wee One loves cheese, so in case she was horrified at the mung beans she might still eat if there was cheese on top.  And I figured my system would go into utter shock at the healthiness of the meal, so I buffered it with cheese.

The sous chef enjoyed her dish immensely.

I had enough to freeze some and also save a bowl to take for my lunch the next day.

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