Food for Thought: Breaking the Fast With Beans
Mung beans are known as kacang hijau in Indonesia and are a common legume in many countries. Originally hailing from India they are now common cooking ingredients in Chinese and South Asian cuisine, including Indonesian.
The beans have an oval shape with a beautiful green color. Hulled mung beans are readily available for purchase and are known as split mung beans. The outer green skin is removed and the bean is split into two sides revealing a light yellow color. The yellow split mung beans do not need to be pre-soaked as they cook quickly. But it is still important to soak the whole mung beans before cooking.
Mung beans feature prominently in Indian food, most notably moong dhal. Traditionally cooked with spices and herbs, ghee and vegetables, a dish of moong dhal creates a delicious, nourishing meal that, as far as beans go, is a comfort food.
A complete meal is often moong dhal paired with Basmati rice, vegetables and Indian roti bread. Mung beans are probably the most important beans in Thai cuisine with several desserts and snacks made with hulled mung beans.
In Indonesia, Mung beans are not probably the most well-known beans as we use soya beans to make soya cake, tempe, tofu and soya sauce. But mung beans are used in many different ways here. Perhaps mung bean sprout or tauge is the most popular mung beans product, used in gado-gado, soto, spring rolls, stir fries and more.
The starch from the beans can be extracted to flour to make a typle of noodle called glass noodles or soun. There are limited mung bean dishes in classic Indonesian cuisine but plenty in Indonesian modern cuisine from soup to ice cream.
Bubur kacang hijau or sweet mung bean porridge is the most popular mung bean dish in Indonesia. It is normally served with a touch of coconut milk and palm sugar with infusion of ginger and pandan leaves. This is a perfect dish for breaking the fast. You may serve it warm or cold.
If you have left over sweet mung been porridge you can turn into ice cream, simply by putting the mung bean porridge into a blender and process until the texture is fine and creamy and placing in the ice cream machine and processing until the mixture turn into frozen sweet mung been ice cream. Enjoy!
Sweet mung bean porridge, or bubur kacang hijau
You can prepare this dish in advance before breaking the fast. It is really good idea to separate the coconut cream and palm sugar syrup to let you or your guests help themselves with the sweetness and richness of the coconut cream to their taste. But you may also mix the coconut cream and palm sugar with the bean in one pot which is more convenient.
250gr whole mung beans, soaked over night; 1 liter water, 75gr fresh ginger, peeled and sliced roughly; 2 pandan leaves, chopped roughly, 1 teaspoon of salt
For the palm sugar syrup:
200gr palm sugar block, chopped roughly; 200ml water; 2 pandan leaves, chopped roughly
For the coconut cream:
2 mature whole coconuts; 400ml warm water or 250ml ready to use coconut cream
1. Put one-liter water in a large pan and add the mung beans, sliced ginger and pandan leaves and bring to the boil and simmer until the beans soft and tender. Add one-teaspoon of salt to season.
2. In the mean time prepare the coconut cream. If you want to make your own coconut cream from scratch, buy 2 whole mature coconuts, which the coconut husk and coconut shell have been removed.
3. Discard the brown thin skin, make a little hole in the coconut and collect the water in a container before finely grating the coconut.
4. Add 400ml warm water and mix and squeezed the grated coconut for around 5 minutes. Then squeeze the coconut under a sieve and collect the coconut cream. Or simply buy ready to use coconut cream.
5. To make the palm sugar syrup simply put all the ingredients in a pan and heat until the texture of the palm sugar resembles syrup. Pour the mixture over a sieve and set aside.
6. To serve: put the mung beans porridge in a large bowl and the coconut cream and palm sugar in smaller bowls to allow guests to help themselves.
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