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Softly Spiced Mung Beans with Mint and Coriander Yogurt

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

These tiny, vibrantly khaki (if that's not too strange a concept) beans, thickened with red lentils, make for a dal-like stew with a mild and modest, earthy simplicity, complemented by its green yogurt sauce. And while I much prefer the richness of coconut-milk yogurt here (which, for interested parties, does keep it vegan), it can also be made with Greek yogurt.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

These tiny, vibrantly khaki (if that's not too strange a concept) beans, thickened with red lentils, make for a dal-like stew with a mild and modest, earthy simplicity, complemented by its green yogurt sauce. And while I much prefer the richness of coconut-milk yogurt here (which, for interested parties, does keep it vegan), it can also be made with Greek yogurt.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Mung Bean Dal
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

Metric Cups

For the mung beans:

  • 250 grams mung beans
  • 75 grams red lentils
  • 1½ litres cold water
  • 2 fresh red chillies (de-seeded if you want it mild, and finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (to taste)

For the mint and coriander yogurt:

  • 250 grams coconut-milk yogurt
  • leaves from 1 small (approx. 25g) bunch fresh coriander
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons very roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

For the mung beans:

  • 1¼ cups mung beans
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 2 fresh red chiles (de-seeded if you want it mild, and finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)

For the mint and coriander yogurt:

  • 1 cup plain coconut-milk yogurt
  • leaves from 1 small (approx. 1oz) bunch cilantro
  • ¼ cup very roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Method

  1. Soak the mung beans in enough cold water to cover for at least an hour and up to six, then drain and put them into a heavy casserole or heavy-based pan that has a lid.
  2. Add the red lentils and the 1.5 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, leaving the pot uncovered. As the beans come to the boil, skim off the foam on top as best you can. Don't go mad here: it's impossible to remove all of it (and intensely boring).
  3. Now add the chopped red chillies, minced garlic and turmeric and give that pot a good stir, then simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes. Take a look at it every now and again: don't let the simmer become too enthusiastic, and stir occasionally. Once the beans and lentils are soft, remove the lid and carry on cooking, uncovered, until you have a rich but still soupy consistency. This will probably take about 10 more minutes depending on how much liquid you have left in the pan at this stage; indeed you may not even need this last step. And bear in mind that it will thicken as it stands. Season to taste with the sea salt flakes.
  4. To make the sauce, which can easily be whipped up as the mung beans and lentils stand, put the yogurt, coriander, mint and salt into a bowl and with a stick blender, blitz together. Serve with rice, if wished.
  1. Soak the mung beans in enough cold water to cover for at least an hour and up to six, then drain and put them into a heavy casserole or heavy-based pan that has a lid.
  2. Add the red lentils and the 1.5 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, leaving the pot uncovered. As the beans come to the boil, skim off the foam on top as best you can. Don't go mad here: it's impossible to remove all of it (and intensely boring).
  3. Now add the chopped red chillies, minced garlic and turmeric and give that pot a good stir, then simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes. Take a look at it every now and again: don't let the simmer become too enthusiastic, and stir occasionally. Once the beans and lentils are soft, remove the lid and carry on cooking, uncovered, until you have a rich but still soupy consistency. This will probably take about 10 more minutes depending on how much liquid you have left in the pan at this stage; indeed you may not even need this last step. And bear in mind that it will thicken as it stands. Season to taste with the kosher salt.
  4. To make the sauce, which can easily be whipped up as the mung beans and lentils stand, put the yogurt, coriander, mint and salt into a bowl and with a stick blender, blitz together. Serve with rice, if wished.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE NOTE:
Refrigerate the mung beans and yogurt in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days. Reheat mung beans in a saucepan until piping hot, adding a couple of extra splashes of water, if necessary. Reheat only once.

FREEZE:
The mung beans only can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE NOTE:
Refrigerate the mung beans and yogurt in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days. Reheat mung beans in a saucepan until piping hot, adding a couple of extra splashes of water, if necessary. Reheat only once.

FREEZE:
The mung beans only can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • Tried this today, it was delicious. Never ever have I been able to put mung beans to good use before...

    Posted by The1Deniz on 25th February 2021
  • This is comfort food. Leftovers last for days and can then be frozen for months.

    Posted by Rossbeigh on 20th January 2021
  • Great Recipe, Nigella mam, although if the recipe could also add one more Ingredient that is Asafoetida, we indians always use it while making lentils(they kick up acidity problems for some) so to be always safe, we can add a pinch to avoid it. Just wanted to share this tip. Hope this helps. Thanks for the wonderful recipes and the hard work u put into the recipes, with simplicity & love. Sending lots of love from India. Thanks Nigella mam. God bless you.

    Posted by Chocolate_lover8 on 12th June 2020
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