Saturday, 25 January 2014

Moong Gujarati

Featuring two ingredients I have never used before!

Surprisingly tasty, less surprisingly... vegan! India is one of the countries in the world with the highest rate of vegetarianism (between 30 and 40% THAT is impressive!). In this recipe I used sukrin gold instead of brown sugar, and I only used 1 tablespoon oil instead of three, and used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, but worry not, it'll taste just the same! This reminds me of a dhal, but they referred to it in the book as a mild curry.

Moong Gujarati
(Serves 3-4, about 330-250 calories each)

1L water
200g mung beans, dry
1 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds (I only had yellow)
2 tsp cumin seeds
Good pinch of asafoetida (optional, only one of the guys in the Eastern food shop had heard of it!)
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 green chilli, halved and deseeded
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp sukrin gold or brown sugar
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
Rice and/or naan bread to serve

- Start by boiling up water and have it in a medium large pan, add the mung beans, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the mung beans have split open.

- Then, in a small frying pan, heat up oil and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Fry until the seeds start to pop. If using asafoetida, now's the time to add it, but be aware! It is a hissy little ingredients, so be careful so it doesn't spit, I can imagine that would hurt! It might smell a little different, but trust me - it's not a bad thing! Give it a quick stir before adding it to the pot with the mung beans along with the remaining ingredients.

- Cover and simmer for a further 25-30 minutes, and serve with lightly toasted naan or rice!
Oh and as for the whole half-chillies in there, you shouldn't eat them unless you like your food really hot... I tried, but ten seconds later I regretted it. I guess I don't like extreeemely spicy food, it's nice with a bit of a kick to it though!

So, I have never cooked with mung beans before, and then there was the asafoetida. I went to an Eastern food shop and asked for it, and only one of the guys sporting a rather smart hat knew what I was on about, he wasn't sure, but right enough it was the ingredient I was looking for - the butchers behind another counter further back in the shop confirmed it for me. I looked it up, and it turns out to be a lot less scary than I feared, and it turns out it is healthy too! To quote Wikipedia (I decide to trust them this time):
"Asafoetida, or asafetida /æsəˈfɛtɨdə/ is the dried latex exuded from the rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, a perennial herb that grows 1 to 1.5 m tall. The species is native to the mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India. As its name suggests, asafoetida has a fetid smell, but in cooked dishes it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks. It is also known as asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, jowani badian, stinking gum, Devil's dung, hing and ting."

In cooking:
"This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. It typically works as a flavor enhancer and, used along with turmeric, is a standard component of Indian cuisine, particularly in lentil curries, such as dal, or various 'Pappu' like dosakaya (cucumber), mamidikaya (mango) or tomato pappu. as well as in numerous vegetable dishes. It is especially widely used in South Indian and Maharashtrian cuisine, which is mainly vegetarian, and is often used to harmonize sweet, sour, salty and spicy components in food." So now we know - You learn something new every day!

What is the strangest ingredient you have used in cooking before_

Also, happy Burns Night! This evening I will host a little Burns Supper with "Haggis, Neeps & Tatties", it will be fun! *Smiles* I cannot wait

Original source:
All Colour Indian Cookbook, No. 162

- Jules

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