Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Palak Moong or Whole Mung Beans and Spinach in a Spicy Tomato Butter

Second week of VeganMoFo! I'm aiming (and pretty much succeeding) for 5 posts a week, even if they aren't Monday through Friday, and even if no one is reading this, I think it's an excellent goal. I tend to suck at self discipline in general, so I feel like this is a great exercise!

As mentioned, my husband and I moved in June and are still getting acquainted with our new area. I recently found our local library and popped in recently and brought some cookbooks home, including Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking. I have also recently acquired some mung beans when the stock of our local food pantry (where I volunteer) got rotated and a bunch of mung beans didn't make the cut.

I've never actually cooked with mung beans, partially because (I'm embarrassed to say) this clip from the office kind of scared me off:

And I've been happy with my lentil consumption. Well, no more! They were tasty and pleasant and totally worth the effort.

I ended up soaking my beans for about about six hours per this recipe. The recipe out of the book doesn't call for the extra soaking, but it seems like everything I read espouses the wonderfulness of soaking beans first, so I went that route. Then I cooked them with some water and the tumeric.

This recipe required a fair amount of chopping which is okay with me! And luckily used up some spinach I was worried about using before our Chicago trip.

The spinach got added to the mung beans and then it was time for the "spicy tomato butter", which required chopped onions.

The onions went in with some lightly fried cumin seeds. I've had cumin seeds in my pantry for an embarrassingly long period of time, but I usually just use the powder. Never again!

In went chopped garlic, pepper, ginger, and cilantro. Yum!

Sauteed that all up for a bit.

The original recipe called for fresh tomatoes. We don't usually eat fresh ones enough to warrant having some lying around, so I went with canned.

And here is what we ended up with!

It was super, super tasty. Probably my favorite Indian dish I have ever made for myself. Plus, I'm super excited to cook some more with mung beans :) Any other super recipes I should go for?

So my recipe:

1 cup whole mung beans
1/2 t turmeric
3/4 pound fresh spinach
1 t kosher salt
1 1/2 C water

For the tomato butter:
3 T light vegetable oil
1 t vegan butter
2 T cumin seeds
1 C finely choppd onion
1 1/2 T fresh ginger
2 t finely chopped garlic
4 T chopped fresh coriander
1 hot chilie
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 t garam masala

Rinse the mung beans with cool water and place in a bowl. Cover with several inches of cold water and soak for 6 hours. Drain, rinse, and put in a sauce pan. Add  water and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes.

While beans are cooking, finely chop the fresh spinach. Add the spinach to the beans stir until they are wilted. Cover pot and continue cooking for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in salt to taste and keep the beans and spinach on a low simmer.

Add the oil and vegan butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil/butter is hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until they turn dark brown (12 seconds to one minute) and then add the onion. Fry until the onion is golden brown, around 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, and pepper and fry for an additional 2 or 3 minutes. 

Add the canned tomatoes and stir until the mixture begins to simmer. Pour the tomato mixture into the beans, add the garam masala and heat to a simmer and let cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with bread or rice!

Guten Appetit!

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