My daughter recently called this delicious soup ‘nice ‘ot mash’! Oh no! It’s true that there is a certain element of ‘healthfulness’ to this recipe – but do not be dissuaded! Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom dictates that moong beans are the one complete food that a feeble person can eat in order to fully regain their strength in a gentle manner. Which brings me to my husband’s assessment of this recipe: ‘gentle-tasting’. Better than ‘ot mash, at least! (‘No, really!’ he says. ‘It’s delicious!’) Personally, I love this soup. Warm chewy potato cubes, a golden broth with humours of ginger and onion that steam out any hint of a head-cold or chill, and delicious mild moong beans – cute-looking, easy to cook, and Really Good for You!
So while it may not be the best choice for young children, due to its somewhat –er– nutritious flavour (again the painful reference to horse feed leaps to mind . . . but perhaps her farmyard-tainted description is partly a result of currently reading the James Herriot books! Really, it’s nothing like, say, okra. Or that barley and zucchini thing I tried once. !!) here it is . . . Potato & Moong Bean Soup.
Potato & Moong Bean Soup
1 cup whole moong (also spelled ‘mung’) beans
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (roughly 1 cm square)
½ a medium yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon dried powdered ginger (or fresh ginger, chopped fine) or less, to your own taste
3 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper
Rinse the moong beans in cold water. Put in a small pot with plenty of water and bring to a boil on high heat. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, partly-covered, for 20 minutes. The water will be brown and icky when they are done, and they will be coming apart (some will sprout) as well. Drain, rinse a couple of times (the water does not have to be clear, just somewhat less brown) and set aside.
Fry the onion and ginger in the olive oil until they smell good, but are not brown. Add enough water to make a soup (roughly 4 cups). Add the potatoes and the moong beans. Add freshly ground pepper and a bit of salt. Cover and simmer on medium-low for ten minutes. Poke a potato bit with a fork to see if it’s cooked – the potato should come apart easily when poked. If the potatoes are not done yet, set your timer for another ten minutes (I usually need to) and try the same test again. Once the potatoes are done, the soup is ready! Serve and enjoy!
Note: We purchase moong beans in the dried goods section of our local grocery store (Provigo) for the same price as lentils. If they are not available where you live, there do seem to be many online stores that sell them. They are used widely in Chinese and Indian cooking, so specialty grocery stores may also be a place to look.