Mung Bean Bowl with Cumin Scented Crispy Onions


By Puja Thomas Patel



When I was growing up, my mom used to make a lot of mung beans. She loved to sprout them and to make dal, soup, saute, kichidi, pretty much anything she could think of. My mom is really into healthy foods, which made mung beans an ideal go-to bean for her.

Mung beans are super healthy and have a high nutritional content. They are a great source of protein for vegetarians, and are very rich in potassium and B vitamins. Mom would tout the health benefits of the little green legume as they are great for controlling cholesterol and blood sugar. We ate them so much that I eventually got so sick of mung beans that I would complain every time mung beans were on the menu.

As an adult, mung beans and I have come to an understanding. I actually like them now, I just don’t eat them nearly as often as I did as a kid. I need variety in my food! I don’t think my husband had ever had mung beans before he met me, aside from the bean sprouts common to Asian food. Now he eats them all the time, usually he’ll make himself a mung bean saute for a quick bite.

Mung Bean Bowl with Cumin Scented Crispy Onions

A few months ago, I came up with this recipe and absolutely fell in love with it. It involves cooking mung beans in the slow cooker with some ginger, garlic, and turmeric. These cooked mung beans are then simply dressed with a little lemon juice and salt. The mung beans themselves have a surprisingly creamy texture that I love.

These mung beans are topped with delicious cumin scented crispy onions, avocado, sev, and an assortment of nuts, seeds and herbs. To mix things up, you can try all sorts of different toppers like radishes, pomegranate and yogurt.


For the Mung Beans

2 cups dry mung beans, rinsed

1 tsp turmeric

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp ginger, grated

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

juice of 1 medium lemon


Slow cooker method:

Combine the mung beans, turmeric, garlic and ginger in the slow cooker with 6 cups water. Cook on high for about 3 hours until the mung beans are tender.

Stove top method:

Combine the mung beans, turmeric, garlic and ginger with 6 cups water in a large sauce pan.

Bring the water to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the mung beans are tender.

Once the mung beans are cooked, add the salt and lemon juice. Mix well and let cool.

At this point, you can refrigerate the mung beans for up to three or four days. I tend to use half the mung beans for the mung bean bowl and use the other half to make hummus, dal or even a veggie shepherd’s pie.

Mung Bean Bowl with Cumin Scented Crispy Onions

For the Mung Bean Bowls

4 cups cooked mung beans

1 avocado

¼ cup sunflower seeds

12 cashews split into half

¼ cup sev (crunchy chickpea flour noodles)

handful of cilantro leaves

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp rice or coconut flour

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp cumin



Sprinkle the onion slices with the rice or coconut flour and mix with your fingers until lightly coated.

Heat the oil in a wide pan. When it shimmers add the cumin seeds, then onions.

Cook until onions are brown and crispy.

Scoop out one cup of mung beans into four separate bowls.

Top each bowl with ¼ avocado, 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, 6 cashew halves, 1 tbsp sev, crispy onions, cilantro and scallions.



I often mix in the crispy onions and leave the mung beans in the fridge. I will then pull out enough for my meal and add the toppings as I go.

This dish also works well for potlucks and parties, just make it in a large bowl and toss before serving.

 More about Puja

thomas patelI grew up living back and forth between India and California. I was born in the U.S. but India holds a special place in my heart because of the many childhood years I spent there. My husband, Steve, and I started Indiaphile after years of endlessly talking about Indian food and culture with each other, friends and family. We currently live in San Diego, CA.

As you can probably tell by now, I am a major foodie. I cook foods from all around the world. But my comfort foods are almost all Indian. I especially love to take traditional Indian dishes and fuse them with Western dishes, techniques and ingredients.

Steve and I met in college and got married in June 2011. We have two animal children. A grey and peach (seriously!) Tortoiseshell cat named Cinnamon Snow and a Belgian Malinois Shepherd named Xaria. Cinny loves fabrics and props. She believes we set them up for her to perch on.

Steve does most of the photography and the website development. He mainly uses off-camera flash techniques (see: strobist) since we are rarely ready to eat when it is still light out.

I do most of the cooking and food styling.  We love to eat all kinds of food Steve eats pretty much everything except zucchini and Puja is a little more picky but for the most part eats everything except for red meat. We try to avoid animal protein and tend to be weekday vegans/vegetarian.  Most of the recipes posted here are vegetarian because that is how we eat.  We believe in making things from scratch but are not above opening a can of tomato sauce to make a quick curry.

Follow Puja’s recipes and insight on cooking at and on twitter @indiaphileblog

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