Finally, I found sometime to put together this post for mung dal vadi subzi (mung beans nuggets curry), a very simple but quite flavourful recipe. At my mum's, this was known as 'mongodi ki subzi'. I visited India last year and surprisingly mum had already prepared these for me (the sun dried nuggets) which she then packed with me. How thoughtful was that!! Only mums can do that!!
Growing up, I remember every year mum used to make these sun-dried items like vadis & papads (poppadoms as is popularly known in the UK). Whole family used to participate in the process and that used to be so much fun especially for me and my brother.
Our ulterior motive was that we both used to get time off to play on the terrace while mom, grandma and dad (aka the watchers) were busy preparing these (aka not looking). Those were the days!! Different ingredients, spices and the precise process that has been handed down the generations was so interesting to observe. Memories are still very fresh and I wish one day I get to relive that again!!
So, what are these? Good question! Lets start with mung beans, its a very popular name for green lentils nowadays. So, these are sun-dried nuggets of husked and split mung beans. The beans are soaked overnight and then in the morning grounded into a paste with some water. No salt and spice, only asafoetida goes in there (as per mom's style).
India is hugely popular for its varied use of legumes. The sun-dried form is just another way of eating them. There is another variant called ‘Punjabi vadi’ which are again sun-dried but made with different kind of husked split lentil called "urid beans" (black gram) and are really fiery. So, if you are looking for some spice action, these are worth trying.
Back to mung beans vadi, these are not spicy at all but have a very gentle and subtle taste. Another question is where you can find them in the UK? There are some online Indian grocers that stock both these kinds of vadis. You can try either Spices Of India or Red Rickshaw, both of them have a sizeable stock of varied Indian groceries and provide fast home delivery.
This recipe is quite simple to stir up and it’s not heavy on spices. Also, no chopping of onion and garlic! This is an excellent recipe if you are a vegan and want to try something different. The flavours that bring it together comes from ginger, a touch of regular spices (turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala) and some radish leaves. Yes, radish leaves, you heard me right! :)
And radish pods!! In India both the leaves and pods are used in many stir fry recipes. I couldn't find the pods but I picked some radishes with leaves from Shambles market in York. It's not often I come across radish leaves that are fresh and not wilted.
Both the leaves and pods have a subtle peppery taste. I remember mum used to add radish pods sometimes to this curry to give it a nice peppery zing. Well, I still don't own an allotment so can't grow my own, but one day! For now, I will stick with radish leaves.
Preparation time : 10-15 minutes
Cooking time : 25-30 minutes
Makes : 3-4 servings
3 tablespoons, rapeseed oil/cooking oil
1 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, skinned & cubed
1 green chilli, finely chopped(optional)
1 big/2 small (around 1 cup) potatoes, cubed
1 cup sun dried mung beans nuggets
3 cups of water
1 cup radish leaves, roughly torn
fresh coriander for garnish
1 tablespoon, cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon, asafoetida
½ teaspoon each of chilli, coriander and turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon, garam masala
Salt to taste
A large saucepan and a spatula
Roast the mung beans nuggets on a low heat until they become golden brown, cool and crush into small pieces.
Heat oil, add cumin and as it starts to sizzle, add asafoetida.
Stir in ginger, green chilli (if using), tomatoes and all ground spices except garam masala with a little salt. Sauté for a minute.
Now, add the potatoes and nuggets, mix everything and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add in 2 cups of water first and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and season it with salt. Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes and nuggets are cooked. (If the gravy is too thick, add another cup of water.)
Add the radish leaves and simmer further for about 5 minutes.
Check for seasoning and garnish with coriander. Take off the heat and its ready to be served.
HINTS & TIPS
I like to have it with hot steamed basmati rice and a side salad of lemon pickled onions. It will be good with chapatis too.
If not radish leaves, there are numerous possibilities with other greens as well, like kale and chard.