Bon Appetit Wednesday! Mung Bean Quinoa Soup

mung-beans-166996_1280The mung bean. The name doesn’t inspire thoughts of deliciousness, the tongue doesn’t begin to water with anticipation of scrumptiousness, but maybe it should. Perhaps the rest of the world needs to get on board with a fact that India and China have known for centuries: Mung beans are fabulous. Today we’re bringing you a recipe for Mung Bean and Quinoa Soup (learn about the ancient grain quinoa in our post here). It is packed with healthy goodness and is a perfect comfort food.

The mung bean is native to India where carbonized beans have been found at several archaeological sites. The evidence shows them to have been domesticated at least 4,000 years ago.[1] The little bean spread to China and Southeast Asia over 2,000 years ago.[2] In addition to diet, the beans have also been used medicinally for thousands of years. They were believed to be a powerful detoxifier and modern scientists are now doing research to determine the validity of this belief.[3] In fact, the mung bean is incredibly nutritious. Here are a few of its health benefits:

  • The lecithin in mung beans fights bad LDL cholesterol and liver fat with high soluble fiber.
    • Mung beans contain compounds that inhibit the formation and growth of cancerous tumors.
    • Phytoestrogens found in mung beans help regulate hormones after menopause, relieving hot flashes and preventing 
    osteoporosis.
    • Mung beans have been shown to regulate body temperature and prevent heat stroke.
    • The phytoestrogens in mung beans contain skin
    anti-agingproperties that stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin – essential to younger, healthier skin.
    • Diabetics can safely eat mung beans; they regulate blood sugar and have a low glycemic load.
    • Low in calories and rich in fiber, mung beans make the perfect addition to your weight loss goals. They increase your sense of fullness while curbing cravings for carbs and sweets.
    • Mung beans also contain vitamins A, Bs, C, D, E, K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and zinc![4]

The tiny green bean is very closely related to the field pea and much like the pea, it has a sweet and almost nutty flavor. It can be prepared in a variety of ways including noodles, flour, paste and even milk. Mung bean milk is especially popular in China where it is consumed in the summer because it is said to “drive away summer heat, invigorate the function of the spleen and whet the appetite.”[5] Mung bean milk itself has an ancient past and was popular during the Liao (907-1125 CE) and Song (960-1279 CE) dynasties.[6]

It is easy to see that perhaps the mung bean isn’t getting the attention it deserves outside of its homeland. Make yourself a pot of this delicious soup and revel in the fact that you are giving your body a healthy boost courtesy of the ancient mung bean.

Mung Bean and Quinoa Soup

Gluten Free buttonVegan Button copy*Recipe courtesy of RachelRay.com

**For vegan version, use a vegan yogurt

Serves 2

mung bean quinoa soupIngredients

  • 1/2 cup of whole green mung beans
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of dried dill weed
  • 4 cups of chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 large handfuls of chopped leafy greens, such as kale or spinach
  • 1/2 of a juicy lime or lemon
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Pick through the mung beans and quinoa and rinse them under cold water.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until translucent, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic, mung beans, quinoa, turmeric and dill, and cook for a few minutes until heated through. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then cover and cook at a very gentle boil, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. The beans should be starting to split open.
  3. Add the greens to the pot and return to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for ten minutes, until the greens are tender. Add salt and season to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and squeeze in equal amounts of lemon or lime juice. Top each bowl with a tablespoon of yogurt, and serve.

[1] Fuller, D. Q.; Harvey, E. (2006). “The archaeobotany of Indian Pulses: identification, processing and evidence for cultivation”. Environmental Archaeology 11 (2): 219–246. doi:10.1179/174963106×123232

[2] Castillo, Cristina; Fuller, Dorian Q. (2010). “Still too fragmentary and dependent upon chance? Advances in the study of early Southeast Asian archaeobotany”. In Bellina, B.; Bacus, E. A.; Pryce, O. et al. 50 Years of Archaeology in Southeast Asia: Essays in Honour of Ian Glover. Bangkok/ London: River Books. pp. 91–111. ISBN 9786167339023

[3] Collins, D. (n.d.). Ancient Chinese Bean Prevents Hospital Deaths. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/mung-beans-benefits/#axzz3YFVZRsZc

[4] Ibid.

[5] Top 6 Most Famous Snacks in Beijing. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://news.at0086.com/China-fine-dining/Top-6-Most-Famous-Snacks-in-Beijing.html

[6] Ibid.

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