How to Cook Mung Bean?

Like many other types of peas, mung beans require a thorough cooking process before using them in any dish. Let me share with you how to cook mung beans, including unpeeled whole mung beans and peeled split mung beans.

Mung Bean Nutrition and its Benefits

Mung beans, scientifically known as Vigna radiata, are small, green legumes that belong to the Fabaceae family. Originating from India, these beans have become popular worldwide and play as a key ingredient in various cuisines. Mung beans are particularly prevalent in Asian countries such as China, India, Vietnam, and Thailand. They are an integral part of the culinary traditions in these regions, featuring in a diverse range of dishes.

Mung beans are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. Here are some key nutrition facts about mung beans:

  • Protein: Mung beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein. A 200-gram (1 cup) serving of cooked mung beans provides approximately 14 grams of protein, making it a valuable option for vegetarians and vegans looking to meet their protein needs.
  • Fiber: Mung beans are rich in dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. A 200-gram (1 cup) serving of cooked mung beans contains about 15 grams of fiber, aiding in smooth digestion and promoting bowel regularity.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Mung beans are a great source of complex carbohydrates, providing a steady release of energy. These slow-digesting carbohydrates help maintain stable blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods.
  • Vitamins: This type of bean is particularly rich in folate (vitamin B9), with a 200-gram serving containing around 360 micrograms. Folate is important for cell growth and development, making it particularly vital for pregnant women.
Nutrition fact of mung bean
Dry mung bean, unpeeled
  • Minerals: Mung beans contain iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body, while magnesium supports nerve function and potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Antioxidants: This legume possesses antioxidant properties, thanks to the presence of compounds like phenolic acids, flavonoids, and vitamin C. Antioxidants help protect the body against harmful free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

How to Cook Mung Beans?

Cooking mung beans is a straightforward process that allows you to enjoy their nutty flavor and nutritional benefits. Here’s a simple guide on how to cook mung bean:

Preparation

  • Rinse the beans: Start by rinsing the mung beans under cold water to remove any impurities or debris.
  • Soak the beans: Place the rinsed mung beans in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. Soaking helps soften the beans and reduces cooking time.
mung bean sweet soup
  • Drain and rinse: After soaking, drain the water and rinse the mung beans once again.

Cooking methods

  • Stovetop method: Transfer the soaked and rinsed mung beans to a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans, usually around 2 cups of water per 1 cup of beans. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans become tender. Add more water if needed during cooking. Check the bean by squeezing a bean, if it’s soft and squeezed easily, it’s fully cooked.
mung bean sweet soup
  • Pressure cooker method: If using a pressure cooker, place the soaked and rinsed mung beans in the cooker with enough water to cover them. Bring the pressure cooker to a boil. Once the pressure valve starts releasing steam, release the pressure and open the lid.

Cooked mung beans can contributes to a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, curries, sweets, congee, mung bean milk, mung bean milk tea, cake, Vietnamese sticky rice cake (bánh chưng), etc. Moreover, mung beans paste is a traditional filling for dumplings, mochi, or moon cake.

Remember to store cooked mung beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. Freeze mung beans for longer-term storage.

How to Make Mung Bean Paste?

Mung bean paste is an important paste used as the fillings for many Asian dishes such as glutinous rice balls, mooncake or snow skin mooncake. Instead of using whole unpeeled mung beans, to make mung bean paste, you’ll use peeled split mung beans. Here’s how:

Step 1. Rinse and Soak Mung Beans:

  • Start by rinsing the peeled split mung beans under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Then, place the beans in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. This softens the beans and shortens their cooking time.

Step 2. Cook Mung Beans:

  • Drain the soaked mung beans and transfer them to a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans until they are tender and can be easily mashed with a fork. This usually takes around 20-30 minutes.

Once the beans are cooked, there are several ways to transfer them into a paste.

  • Method 1: Mashing cooked mung beans. Drain any excess water and allow them to cool slightly. Use a potato masher, fork, or blender to mash the beans into a smooth paste. Combine the mashed mung beans with granulated sugar or salt, depending on the recipe mung bean paste is used in.
  • Method 2: Using blender. Drain any excess water and allow them to cool slightly. Pour cooked beans into a blender and blend them well until smooth with granulated sugar with your prefered ratio.
  • Method 3: Simmer until dehydrated. This is the slowest method to make mung bean paste. Drain half of the water in the pot and reduce the heat to low level. Add sugar or salt based on your taste. Use a spatula to gently mash the beans with a bit oil. Let them rest until the water is almost evaporated, then stir continuously not to let the beans paste burnt. When the texture is creamy and without lumps, turn off the heat and let it cool down.
Make Mung Bean Paste
Making mung bean paste by method 3

Mung Beans in Vietnamese Culinary Art

Mung beans play a crucial role in Vietnamese Cuisine. As a Vietnamese, let me show you some delicious Vietnamese recipes that showcase the culinary potential of mung beans.

  • Vietnamese Mung Bean Mooncake: This traditional delicacy features a sweet filling made from mung beans paste as the filling and crust made from flour, sugar syrup and egg yolk. Another variant of mung bean mooncake is piggy mooncake, with the same ingredients but different in shaping.
Mung Bean Mooncake
Mung Bean Mooncake
  • Mung Bean Cake: This is a fresh mung bean cake made from only mung bean paste, shaping in a mold such as mooncake press mold.
Mung Bean Cake
Mung bean cake.
  • Vietnamese Mung Bean Sweet Soup: This delightful dessert, known as “Chè Đậu Xanh,” consists of cooked mung beans simmered in a sweet syrup made from coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves.
  • Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls filled with Mung Bean Paste (Chè trôi nước or bánh trôi): This traditional dessert is often enjoyed during special occasions, family gatherings, and festivals. It is made by stuffing sweet mung bean paste into a chewy glutinous rice dough.
  • Mung Bean Tofu: This is a variety of Burmese tofu. With its distinct flavor and smooth texture, mung bean tofu has gained popularity not only among vegetarians and vegans but also among those seeking a healthier and environmentally-friendly source of protein.
  • Vietnamese sticky rice cake (Bánh Chưng): a square-shaped glutinous rice cake filled with a rich combination of mung beans, pork belly, and fragrant spices, wrapped in layers of banana leaves. Bánh chưng is traditionally made during the Lunar New Year, also known as Tết, and symbolizes good luck, prosperity, and gratitude for ancestors.
Making banh chung with mung bean
Making bánh chưng (Vietnamese sticky rice cake) with peeled mung beans

There are many more Vietnamese dishes containing mung beans, such as bánh bía (durian cake with puff pastry and mung bean pastes and durian paste filling), Vietnamese green sticky rice cake (bánh cốm, with green sticky rice wrapping mung bean paste inside), xoi khuc, and so on.

Incorporating Mung Beans into Your Meals

Mung beans and mung bean sprouts are not only nutritious but also offer a range of culinary possibilities.

Explore the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine with dishes like mung bean moon cakes, mung bean cake, sweet soup, and glutinous rice balls filled with mung bean. These traditional treats showcase the unique taste and cultural significance of mung beans in Vietnamese culinary traditions.

Furthermore, a wide variety of global cuisines incorporate mung beans. From Indian dals and soups to Chinese stir-fries and Thai curries, the adaptability of mung beans allows you to experiment with different flavors, spices, and cooking techniques.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, a health-conscious individual, or simply someone looking to diversify their meals, mung beans offer a nutritious and delicious addition to your diet. So, don’t hesitate to explore the world of mung beans and discover the countless ways they can enhance your culinary journey.

Nutrition fact of mung bean

How to cook mung beans

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes

Cooking mung beans does not waste much time, because this type of bean is cooked quite quickly as compared with other peas and beans.

Materials

  • Mung bean (amount based on your preference)
  • A pinch of salt (optional)
  • Water

Tools

  • A pot and stovetop, or
  • A Pressure cooker

Instructions

Prep

  • Step 1. Rinse the beans: Start by rinsing the mung beans under cold water to remove any impurities or debris.
  • Step 2. Soak the beans: Place the rinsed mung beans in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. Soaking helps soften the beans and reduces cooking time.mung bean sweet soup
  • Step 3. Drain and rinse: After soaking, drain the water and rinse the mung beans once again.

Step 4. Cook mung beans using stovetop or pressure cooker:

  • Stovetop method: Transfer the soaked and rinsed mung beans to a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans, usually around 2 cups of water per 1 cup of beans. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans become tender. Add more water if needed during cooking. Check the bean by squeezing a bean, if it’s soft and squeezed easily, it’s fully cooked.mung bean sweet soup
  • Pressure cooker method: If using a pressure cooker, place the soaked and rinsed mung beans in the cooker with enough water to cover them. Bring the pressure cooker to a boil. Once the pressure valve starts releasing steam, release the pressure and open the lid.

Cooked mung beans can contributes to a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, curries, sweets, congee, mung bean milk, cake, Vietnamese sticky rice cake (bánh chưng), etc. Moreover, mung beans paste is a traditional filling for dumplings, mochi, or moon cake.

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