Mung Bean and Spinach Curry


“The fresh tasting flavours of this Mung Bean and Spinach Curry will surely have you coming back for more!”

Mung bean and spinach curry in a bowl with a garnish of spinach leaves.
Mung Bean and Spinach Curry

Looking for a fresh tasting and delicately spiced Mung Bean and Spinach Curry recipe? Then I think I have exactly what you’re looking for! Stewed in a spiced coconut paste, this curry brings out the sweet nuttiness of the mung beans and the earthiness of the spinach. 

The freshly grated coconut and raw spinach gives this lentil curry a natural earthy flavour that is both light and satisfying. It is a perfect accompaniment to rice and sits well alongside other side dishes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mung bean (green gram), rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water (for boiling the mung beans)
  • 150g mature spinach, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli, slit lengthways and deseeded
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup water (for the coconut paste)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly

(* 1 Tsp = 5ml, 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml)


How to make Mung Bean and Spinach Curry

1. Rinse the mung beans several times under cold running water until the water runs clear. Then drain with a sieve and add the mung beans to a heavy bottomed pot along with water and turmeric powder. 


2. Cover with a lid and allow the mung beans to simmer gently over a medium-low flame for around 30-40 minutes, or until they have fully cooked and doubled in size. The mung beans should be soft but still retain their shape. If all the water has evaporated before the beans have properly cooked, simply add another cup of water.


3. Next add the spinach and cover with a lid once more. The steam created will wilt the spinach by half within 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off when you have reached this point.


4. Into a blender, add freshly grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chilli, a garlic clove, a shallot, water and grind into a smooth paste. 


5. Turn the flame back on and add the blended paste to the cooked mung beans. Stir to incorporate well and simmer the curry over a medium flame for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.


6. Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium flame. Once the oil has warmed, add the mustard seeds, and within 10 – 30 seconds the seeds should begin to splutter. Next add the sliced shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots take on a caramelised colour. 


7. Finally, pour the tempered ingredients into the curry and sprinkle in some flaked sea salt. Stir well and cover with a lid until the mung bean and spinach curry is ready to serve.


Tips for making the prefect bowl

Coconut paste – For this recipe I’ve used frozen freshly grated coconut. If you decide to do the same, you must ensure the frozen grated coconut has properly defrosted. Otherwise the oils from the coconut will remain solid and won’t emulsify into the paste, making the paste chunky.

Salting the dish – Do not under any circumstance salt your mung beans until after they have cooked through. Salting too early will prevent the legumes from reaching their peak tenderness. Stir in some flaked sea salt towards the end and they will still absorb perfectly.

The curry should have a medium thick consistency – However, adjust the simmering time to achieve the consistency you prefer. If it is still too thick, add enough water to loosen it up slightly.

What spinach do I use?

For this recipe, I have used a fully grown english spinach. If you aren’t able to access this, feel free to use young spinach instead. This is spinach that has been harvested fairly early in the plants growth, usually between 15-35 days. This is what is widely sold in most supermarkets.

If you do use young spinach, it is important that you add the spinach only after you have added and cooked the coconut paste as instructed. Adding it in the order described in the recipe will overcook the young tender spinach, which only needs a minute or two towards the end of the cooking process.

Preparing the Mung Beans

Before you start cooking, check the dry mung beans for any unwanted debris by gently moving the beans around. Once you are satisfied that there are none left, rinse the mung beans under cold running water between 1 to 2 times until the water runs clear.

Cooking the Mung Beans

To cook the mung beans perfectly, allow the pot to come to a rapid simmer and then reduce the heat to a point where the pot gently bubbles away for 30-40 minutes. For this recipe, you are aiming for a slight firmness to its shape and texture. This is because you will still be adding the coconut paste and simmering everything for another 5 minutes. If you’re unsure if it’s cooked, spoon out a morsel and carefully press between your thumb and index finger.

Tempering your Mung Bean and Spinach Curry 

If you’re not familiar with tempering, it is simply the process of frying key spices or aromatics in oil and pouring them over a curry. This process adds another layer of complexity to the mung bean curry, imparting a fragrant nutty aroma from the heated coconut oil and mustard seeds as well a sweetness from the caramelised onions. 

It is a simple way to elevate the flavour of the mung bean and spinach curry. The trick with tempering is getting the oil hot enough, but not till it’s smoking. So keep your heat at a medium flame, about 350°F/180 °C. This will ensure your spices don’t burn in the oil. 


Ideas for accompanying dishes

Want some inspiration for dishes you could have alongside this Mung Bean and Spinach Curry? Why not check out some of these other recipes? They would make a great accompaniment to this dish!

Keralan Chicken Curry

Dry Fried Lamb Curry

Fried Cabbage (Cabbage Thoran)

Light Indian Lamb Stew

Indian Fish Cakes


How best to enjoy your curry

This hearty curry will work well alongside other non-vegetarian or vegetarian curries. It can be poured over, roti, paratha or rice. If you want to add another layer of heartiness, enjoy this curry with some brown rice. Alternatively, you could just have the curry on its own! As it is delicately spiced, it is perfect by itself and can be enjoyed as a soup.


Storing Suggestions

You can refrigerate your Mung Bean and Spinach Curry in an airtight container and it will keep well for up to 4-5 days. Similarly, if you’re thinking of freezing the curry, it will keep well for up to 3 months.


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Mung Bean and Spinach Curry

Recipe by George AlexanderCourse: DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

296

kcal
Method

Stovetop

Total time

50

minutes

The fresh tasting flavours of this Mung Bean and Spinach Curry will surely have you coming back for more!

Ingredient

  • 1 cup mung bean (green gram), rinsed

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • 3 cups water

  • 150g mature spinach, chopped roughly

  • the coconut paste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 green chilli, slit lengthways and deseeded

  • 1 shallot

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1/2 cup water

  • the tempering
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly

Directions

  • Rinse the mung beans several times under cold running water until the water runs clear. Then drain with a sieve and add the mung beans to a heavy bottomed pot along with water and turmeric powder.
  • Cover with a lid and allow the mung beans to simmer gently over a medium-low flame for around 30-40 minutes, or until they have fully cooked and doubled in size. The mung beans should be soft but still retain their shape. If all the water has evaporated before the beans have properly cooked, simply add another cup of water.
  • Next add the spinach and cover with a lid once more. The steam created will wilt the spinach by half within 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off when you have reached this point.
  • Into a blender, add freshly grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chilli, a garlic clove, a shallot, water and grind into a smooth paste.
  • Turn the flame back on and add the blended paste to the cooked mung beans. Stir to incorporate well and simmer the curry over a medium flame for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium flame. Once the oil has warmed, add the mustard seeds, and within 10 – 30 seconds the seeds should begin to splutter. Next add the sliced shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots take on a caramelised colour.
  • Finally, pour the tempered ingredients into the curry and sprinkle in some flaked sea salt. Stir well and cover with a lid until the mung bean and spinach curry is ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts

4 servings per container


Calories296

  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 7g 11%
    • Saturated Fat 6g 30%
  • Sodium 55mg 3%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 1025mg 30%
  • Total Carbohydrate 45g 15%
    • Dietary Fiber 11g 44%
    • Sugars 8g
  • Protein 15g 30%
  • Vitamin A 72%
  • Vitamin C 49%
  • Calcium 17%
  • Iron 29%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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If you love this Mung Bean and Spinach Curry recipe, why don’t you check out our other vegetarian recipes? Like this delicious Roasted Pumpkin Curry Soup.

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