Being a vegetarian and packing in plenty of protein can be tricky. One of the best things about these savory mung bean pancakes is that you can make the batter ahead of time and quickly cook up a portion or two when lunchtime rolls around.
The pancakes are savory, slightly crispy around the edges, nourishing, and offer just the right amount of filling. They’re absolutely delicious served with a scoop of sesame ginger chutney or guacamole. According to Ayurveda, mung beans are considered the easiest bean to digest. They’re a good bean to eat year round; not too heavy, not too light.
In this recipe they’re soaked overnight, blended with spices, and cooked like pancakes. The key is to use a nonstick or well-sealed cast iron pan, or the pancakes will fall apart when they’re flipped. To go along with the savory mung bean pancakes is another popular Ayurvedic dish called dahl. Each of these recipes are loaded with protein and plenty of flavor!
Savory Mung Bean Pancakes
- 1 cup whole mung beans
- 2 green onions, cut into ¼” thick rounds
- 10 curry leaves, chopped (or use fresh basil or parsley for an interesting substitute)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- Pinch asafetida
- Himalayan salt
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- Optional: ½ shredded uncooked beet
- Ghee or coconut oil
1. Put the mung beans in a bowl and cover with several inches of water. Soak overnight (or longer; changing out the water every 12 hours or so).
2. Strain the mung beans. Pulse in a food processor. Add water little by little until you have a thick milkshake consistency. Be careful not to add too much water or the batter will be watery.
3. Add all other ingredients except for the ghee or coconut oil. Mix well.
4. Spread 1-teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil on a cast iron pan or griddle and heat to medium.
5. Once hot, ladle 1/3 cup of the batter onto the pan and spread into a ¼” thick circular pancake. Cover and cook for five minutes or until slightly browned on underside. Flip with a spatula and cook for a few more minutes. Cook all the pancakes in this way. Hot pancakes can be kept warm in between two plates while cooking the others.
6. Store any extra batter in the fridge, which stays fresh for about five days.
*Makes about 8 small pancakes
Sesame Ginger Chutney
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (sub extra lime or lemon juice)
- 2 tablespoons jaggery (sub sucanat)
- A squeeze of lime
- Himalayan salt to taste
1. Toast the sesame seeds in a cast iron pan or skillet until lightly browned and fragrant.
2. Pulse in a blender. Add all other ingredients and mix. Add water little by little to make a dip consistency.
3. Serve with mung bean pancakes.
*Makes 1 cup
Simple Spiced Dahl
This Ayurvedic and simple dahl is an easily digestible way for a vegetarian to pack in protein. Made from hulled and split mung beans, it cooks up quickly and lends itself to infinite spice variations. This one is on the soupy side, making it the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of hot and fluffy rice.
“Dahl” or “dal” means a stew made from a lentil or legume. It shows up all over Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Nepalese, and Bangladesh cuisine.
Sometimes thick, sometimes watery, dahl is always spiced up with some variation of curry flavor. While the intention is mostly for taste, this ancestral way of cooking is rooted in spice’s medicinal qualities.
Turmeric, asafetida (a stinky resin that you’ll find in the Indian store and quickly come to love), and oil prevent any gas-giving quality of the beans; while cumin, coriander, and fennel ignite the digestive fire and even burn away toxins.
Look for small, oval-shaped, yellow lentils, sometimes called “moong dal”. They’re a staple in Indian markets, but less common in health food stores. If you can’t find them in the market, purchase these lovely little beans online or substitute split red lentils.
Serve this dahl over white rice in warm months and brown rice in cool months. It’s delicious alongside sautéed greens, steamed broccoli, or baked squash, a scoop of labneh or yogurt cheese, and an Indian style lemon pickle.
- 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Pinch asafetida (hing)
- 1 cup split and hulled mung dahl
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Himalayan salt to taste
1. Rinse the mung beans. If time allows, soak for 30 minutes and then strain. This will make the beans even easier to digest.
2. Put the ghee or coconut oil in a heavy bottom pot and heat over medium.
3. Once hot, add the cumin, coriander and fennel and stir for a minute or until fragrant. Add the turmeric and hing and give another stir.
4. Add the mung beans and water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Leave the lid off in warm months and cover partially in cool months. Cook gently for 25-30 minutes or until soft and soupy, stirring occasionally.
5. Add salt to taste and garnish with cilantro.