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The Fresh and Exotic, The Mung Bean!

January 30, 2014

Simple Chana Masala over Mung Bean & Quinoa Crepes

 

Submitted by Nadine Naujoks

 

One of the things I enjoy most about visiting Reda at the Farm Store is discovering new and unusual (for me) foods like Wheatberries and duck eggs. Who knew in our little corner of rural western NC that we’d have ready access to the exotic and trendy – thank you Reda!

 

Last time I was in the store I got the last little bag of mung beans. You’ve probaly had sprouted mung beans, they are common in Asian cooking, but I didn’t know you could cook and eat mung beans, much like any other bean.

 

A staple in India and spread through Asia over thousands of years, the humble mung bean (or monggo, or moongo, or any of a host of other names!) is said to have some pretty major healthy benefits:

 

  1. Protein – So necessary for our good balanced health. Mung beans provide a little more than 3 grams per cup.

  2. Diabetes - In just a 5-week study, mung bean & sprouts showed promise in reducing blood glucose, plasma C-peptide, glucagon and blood urea nitrogen levels in non-human type-2 diabetic subjects.

  3. Cholesterol – Mung beans, like other foods rich in soluble dietary fibers, are shown to help lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by encouraging the production of LDL receptors that are responsible for removing excess LDL cholesterol out of the blood stream.

  4. Post Menopause and Osteoporosis– Isoflavones found in beans including mung beans help regulate hormonal activity. Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogen, making mung beans estrogenic in nature. Mung beans contain about 495.1 µg of phytoestrogen content, making mung beans a good source of phytoestrogen. In a 12-week trial, phytoestrogen was shown to relieve hot flashes that are often disruptive and unpleasant. An added benefit to post-menopausal women, mung beans may help in preventing the often devastating effects of osteoporosis by stimulating bone formation.

 

So I googled some recipes and found this one for Mung Bean and Quinoa Crepes on the Food52 website. Once the mung beans are soaked, again like other beans, this recipe is super-fast and easy. Their recipe also offers a Potato Masala recipe to go with the crepes but made my own simple version with chickpeas instead of potatoes and the whole dish was really delicious! Warm, hearty and did I mention quick and easy? the whole dish from start to table took about 20-25 minutes.

 

Here’s my simple chana masala (chickpea stew) recipe:

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbs broth (any kind, I use homemade veggie, even water will work if no broth on hand)

  • 1 small to medium onion course chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic minced

  • 1.5 cups cooked (or 1 can drained) chickpeas

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 1.5 tbs earthy spices of your choice (garam masala, cumin, chili, turmeric, cinnamon, mustard, coriander,  nutmeg are all good choices try to use at least three, 5 is better)

  • S&P to taste

  • 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro

  • optional 1.2 tsp fresh grated ginger

 

Heat about 2 tablespoons of veggie broth in a sauté pan to medium heat. When broth and pan are good & hot, add the onion and garlic, cook until translucent and most of the broth is gone, about 4-5 minutes.

 

Clear the middle and add your spices, including ginger if using, to the mostly dry middle of your pan. Heat/toast the spices just a minute or so, just until they start to giving off a really nice aroma. Then muddle the spices around into the onions.

 

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, S&P, remaining broth and cilantro and cook about 5 minutes, just to heat through and that’s it!

 

Spoon the masala over the crepes and you’re in for a tasty delight!

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