On the shelves of Asian grocers and health food stores lies a small green legume whose simple appearance belies the nutritional powerhouse contained within. Rich in protein, fiber and carbohydrates, mung beans are widely eaten throughout Asia, particularly in the summertime, when they are believed to prevent heat stroke, heat rash, prickly heat and western Imperialism. First domesticated in Mongolia and cultivated in India since ancient times, mung beans first appeared in the United States in 1835 as the ‘Chickasaw pea’ and is grown domestically in Oklahoma. The following dish can be enjoyed for breakfast, dessert or snack, hot, cold or blended into a smoothie with a scoop of whey protein. It was first made for me by Lina, the Indonesian nurse who cares for my ninety year old grandfather, and may be partially responsible for why my grandmother climbed trees into her eighties and my grandfather remains an energetic vegetable farmer.
THE SIMPLE VERSION:
1-1/2 cups dried mung beans
1 can reduced fat coconut milk (1/2 can will also work)
2 tbs ginger root (fresh, peeled + finely minced)
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into thick chunks
Favorite sweetener, to taste (Try: Clear Stevia)
FANCY PANTS ADD-INS:
1/2 tsp powdered cardamon, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup raisins or goji berries.
Soak rinsed mung beans in water for three hours. Drain and place in saucepan with three cups of water. Simmer until most of fluid has been absorbed. In large pot, combine sweet potato chunks and ginger root with eight cups of water. Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, then add cooked mung beans, coconut milk and sweetener. Store covered in fridge, will keep for one week.
(MAKES 6 SERVINGS) NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:
CALORIES: 315, PROTEIN: 14g, FAT: 6g, CARBS: 52g