the multi-talented mung ::::
Just to get this out in the open from the beginning, I liked this recipe but didn’t love it. My prototypical sweet bean soup recipe comes from my mother-in-law, a sweet red bean soup, so I compare it to anything else I make. I like coconut. I like mung beans. Sugar is great. In combination, I’m not sure why I wouldn’t like the mix. It just didn’t work for me like the sweet red bean soup does.
Mung beans have a long history in Asian and Indian cuisine, making a variety of dishes, from ice cream to soups, to the festive mooncake filling to a bean jelly served with a fiery chili sauce, to the cellophane noodles and gingery pancakes.
I remember eating them in noodle form in Hawaii (though not recounted in my recent post on Hawaiian food memories), swathes of long translucent strings perfectly soaking up salty-gingery sauces. And when I was inducted into Eat’s family, eating various organ meats, unusually bitter vegetables, and sweetened dried beans in soups, the mung bean made its appearance at dessert one night. How could I have not tried this before? I thought. Simple: beans, sugar, and water. And it’s actually something I’d want to eat again. For dessert.
Given, this isn’t your cream-laden double chocolate cake with caramel ganache (or something similar), but it definitely satisfies a sweet fix. Omit the coconut milk if you aren’t in the tropical mood, or try with red beans (adzuki beans).
- 1 cup mung beans, about 7 ounces or 200 grams
- 4½ cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick, about 4 inches in length
- 1 piece ginger, about 2 inches in length
- 1 cup sugar, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- Rinse the mung beans in a few changes of cold water, picking through them to remove any stones or grit. Place the beans in a saucepan along with the water, cinnamon stick, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, until the beans have cracked open a bit but are not mushy.
- Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Continue to simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about three minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk. Cook until the coconut milk is just heated through, about 2 minutes. Take care not to simmer for too long, or else the milk will thicken too much. Remove the ginger and cinnamon stick from the pot. Ladle the porridge into bowls and serve warm.