Mung Bean Pancakes

Mung Bean Pancakes

We've been having a lot of fun trying out new vegetarian and legume-based recipes. This one is from Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. We had problems initially sourcing the dried mung beans but finally came across the right variety at one of the downtown Asian markets.

It is possible to do this recipe with whole, unskinned mung beans, as we did initially, but the skins leave a gritty texture on the tongue, so I don't recommend it. Look for "moong dal" at Indian specialty stores or split mung beans at Asian markets. They look like bright yellow split peas and should be fairly inexpensive.

I was fascinated by the texture and flavor after soaking that these little guys have. They taste just like bean sprouts but in a teeny tiny package! (Which is, you know, really not surprising, given bean sprouts in the store are germinated beans... but whatever. I was still excited.) Unlike regular beans, they don't need to be boiled after soaking - they're edible as soon as they've soaked. So, much much easier to work with and a good gateway drug into the fun of cooking with dried beans! ;-)

This recipe is a great way to get a ton of protein and fiber from a single part of your meal. All you need is a sauce and some veggies to make a full dinner... and these are filling, believe me. We had them with the Garlic Cheese Sauce I talked about last week, along with a simple cucumber-radish-tomato salad. I love how full of flavor they are - they're a lot like latkes or dosas.

Mung Bean Pancakes [printable recipe]

Lightly adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Serves 2 as a main

  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup split, skinned mung beans (moong dal), soaked overnight
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 - 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Puree the beans along with about 1/4 cup of water in a food processor until smooth and thick, adding water as necessary for a thick battery consistency. Stir in or pulse in remaining ingredients. The batter should now be like a very thick pancake batter.

Heat a 10" or larger skillet or griddle over medium heat and drizzle a bit of oil over. (Just like making pancakes. It doesn't take much if you have a good pan.) Ladle out a portion, swirl to a nice round and cook until well-browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Repeat.