Mung bean curry


I think mung beans have been part of my life ever since I started eating solids. Goes with being Indian, I’d say. Mum mostly made dhal using the split yellow mung (without the green husk). And I have carried on the tradition, with it being an essential weekly meal.

In this mung bean curry, however, I have used the whole bean with it’s green husk. Soaked, of course.


Enough for 4


You don’t need to go to the Indian store to buy whole mung beans. They are readily available from most supermarkets and wholefood stores.

  • 1 cup mung beans, soaked for ~6 hours or overnight
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (vegan) or ghee (vegetarian)
  • 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 brown onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 15 g ginger, minced or finely grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder or 10 g fresh turmeric, minced
  • ½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 4–6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced into half moons
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 large handfuls shredded silverbeet, or whole baby spinach leaves
  • sea salt, to taste

In large pot (that has a lid), heat 2 tablespoons ghee/oil over medium–high heat and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds and onion. Sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. When until onions become translucent, add the chilli, turmeric, ginger, garlic and tomato.

Continue to sauté on gentle heat for another 5 minutes, until the tomato pieces have cooked down. Then mix in the mung beans and carrots. Stir thoroughly so all the spices and flavours coat the ingredients.

Next, add the water and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer.

At this point you may like to add some salt. Try ½ a teaspoon.

Cook for ~ 30 minutes with the lid partially on, until the lentils are fully cooked and you have a thick casserole-like consistency. You will need to stir consistently so that the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. I find using a diffuser is helpful.

If you find that the curry is drying out before the lentils are cooked, add some more hot (boiled) water.

Taste for seasoning, and add more salt to suit your taste.

Once cooked, stir through the silverbeet/spinach and simmer for another couple of minutes before turning off the heat.

Serve with some basmati or brown rice, a dollop of natural yoghurt {or raita}, and a fresh salad. Nice.

Did you like this recipe? Then perhaps you’d like to check out my healthy eating ebook with 93 wholefood recipes?


57 thoughts on “Mung bean curry”

    1. Thanks for the link to your hot sauce. It looks similar to the tamarind chutney that my mum used to make. That would definitely go nicely with a mung bean curry and some raita 🙂

      1. Hello from Canada,
        I believe I found the NET carb count of the mug beans. If the info I found is correct…then 1 cup provides 2 net carbs. My girlfriend believes that this figure is wrong…I told her when I find the beans, I will read the chart on the can!!!

        Thank you for your reply.

        State that mung beans are 74% carbs. One cup or 202 grams has 39% carbs. They do contain Folate which is very important to men’s prostate health and pregnant women especially from what I have read. They also contain a lot of calcium, potassium and vitamin A.
        I love mung beans but hubby does not like beans at all. I make a “milk” out of the beans and it is delicious. It can be drunk or added to soups. There is so much you can do with this little bean. You can take the okara that is left after straining and mix it with any kind of flour or potato, add a little onion, and a binder like egg and fry up little pancakes.
        Of course this recipe for curry is my particular favorite. I love curries!

  1. Awesome meal, super woman made me some and it was great. I gotta bit of a cold and it made me feel good. thx


  2. Hi,

    You mention to add lentils and carrots, but there’s no lentils listed on the ingredient list.
    Can you please specify which lentils to use?
    Thanks a million!

    I’m making it as I’m typing this comment and will use red lentils just cause I happen to have some.


    1. Hi Khanum, by lentils I mean the mung beans. I have edited to post to make it clearer. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for letting me know!

  3. Hi, the text says ‘tomatoes’, but the ingredient list says 1 tomato? Do you need more than 1 tomato? thanks

  4. Great recipe! I generally followed the instructions and made ‘do’ with what I had and it still turned out very flavorful! I usually add mung beans to pea soup for extra protein and vitamins, but it is very nice to have this exotic flavoring for a whole new way to use mung beans on their own! This will for sure be on our menu rotation! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I just made this for dinner tonight. I don’t eat tomatoes so I used 1 courgette (Zucchini) as a substitute, it worked well and the curry was yummy. Even my meat eating hubby really enjoyed it. Thanks.

  6. Hello,
    I have just discovered this recipe and your blog…how truly inspiring this sounds delicious.
    I am quite interested in preparing this dish. How are mung beans sold? Precooked or dry?
    I see that your recipe calls for dry…however, I am not familiar with this bean. I will look for it.

    Would you have a Nutritional breakdown of this meal…including the carb count?

    Many thanks.
    Warmest regards,
    Toronto, Canada

    1. Hi Gladys, thanks for your comment. I’m in Australia and mung beans are normally sold dry. Sorry, I don’t do nutritional break downs! I generally eat based on intuition, and that’s what I like to teach my clients, as we have made food into a science and denatured it. I know that mung beans are high in both carbs and protein if that helps. I hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

  7. I tried this recipe and it was very good…..I added cold avocado to top it with the plain yogurt…and took the left over and made a soup out of it with a beefy flavor and onion broth. Thanks

  8. I love this recipe! I have been waiting for my soy and chick peas to be deliverd and found mung beans in the back of my cupboard. I made some mung bean milk and it is delicious. I was not sure what I wanted to do with the rest of the beans. I love most Indian food that I have had. I can’t think of any I don’t love. I use Swiss Chard which we have a garden full of. Once it takes hold that stuff really grows like crazy and will come back year after year. Thanks again for this great recipe!

  9. In Ceylon, or Sri Lanka as it is now known, Mung Beans are quite often had for breakfast. It is soaked in water overnight, a touch of Salt added and boiled until reasonably soft, strained and eaten with almost anything! Some like it with a dash of Sugar, grated Coconut, any Curry or even an Onion Sambol!


  10. Hi. This is indeed a great recipe & am going to try making it this weekend. Is it possible to make a large quantity & store it for easy consumption during the week? How long can it last & what is the best way to store it.

  11. Hi, I really enjoyed your Mung Bean curry recipe, it tasted brilliant. I don’t know how to cook curryies using ‘raw’ spice ingredients (usually use curry paste), so using your recipe was great fun and easy to follow. I ended up putting quite a bit of salt in it (20 turns of the grinder) and also added some Maggi Sauce (similar to soy sauce) and vegemite to give it a deeper savoury taste. If there’s a more authentic way to get a deeper savoury taste into this veggie dish, please let me know. Thank you; a great recipe. Damon

    1. Awesome question Damon! What you’re referring to is umami {a meaty savoury taste}. Lentils and beans generally require a quite bit of salt to add some savoury flavour, but to add a rich savoury {umami} taste, add another tomato or some tomato paste. And serve this dish with a dollop natural yoghurt or raita {if you aren’t dairy intolerant}, or some pickles. You can also add tamari or soy sauce, or some umeboshi vinegar. Best of luck!

  12. Sounds delicious. This little bean really interests me, as I have just started taking a supplement called: nutrition fx menopause 3. It works the same as hrt without side effects and its main ingredient is mung bean: high in phytoestrogens. My hubby is just making the curry and I will definitely be including mung beans in my weekly diet.

  13. I found I had to add chicken stock and extra seasonings including some curry powder, but I want to get more beans in my diet so I will make it again for sure.

  14. Hello Lesh

    Thank you very much for your lovely website. I have just discovered it and am enjoying surfing through it, having a look, checking out the recipes and learning ideas and techniques new to me. I am not a cook by nature; I have to force myself to cook. I found your mung bean recipe and think it sounds yummy so I am going to give it a go.

    Just one thing, however: I notice you mention you find a diffuser is helpful. You can tell I am not a cook’s wooden spoon but just a wooden spoon – I confess I don’t know what a diffuser is! Please can you write a brief description of what it looks like and what it does. My intuition tells me I’m going to need it, whatever it is!

    Thank you so much from Caitlin

    1. Hi Rachel, you most definitely can freeze the curry. Or you can store it int he fridge in a clean, airtight container for up to 4 days.

  15. I tried this today cos I have a big bag of moong beans to use up and a bit bored of bean sprouts. I was dubious about this recipe because I don’t like mustard seeds that much, but it turned out to be awesomely delicious. My newly turned veggie hubbie is gonna love it.
    Thank you very much for this easy and delicious recipe.

    1. Hi Vasantha, thanks for your interest. The best way to keep posted on my workshops is to subscribe to my newsletter. I have one coming up soon. All the best, Lesh

  16. I enjoyed this recipe. I had a big bowl of leftovers that sat out on the counter over night. Do you think it is still ok to eat, or does it have to be refrigerated?

  17. Loved this recipe! We had a huge bag of mung bean after making Kitchiri and I’m eager to explore other recipes with mung. I took some mung, soaked them until they sprouted and then went looking for what to do with them and found your site. My husband loved this dish. (We added grilled hot green peppers for him to suit his fiery tastes.) I’m looking forward to exploring your site more in the weeks to come. Thanks so much!

  18. I made this for yesterday’s dinner but I didn’t have red carrot and spinach so I changed them with purple carrot and kale . And it was delicious!! Thanks for the recipie!

  19. Hi Lesh,
    Thank you for great recipe. I am enjoying the curry now. I have added black mustard seeds instead of brown. The curry taste a bit bitter. Is it how it is intended to taste or is it due to the black seeds. I still like it though. All the best, Sylwia

  20. Hello,

    Just wanted to drop a note to say that I used this recipe after reading great things about mung beans. It turned out delicious. So thank you!

  21. I’m excited to make this! Are these split mung beans or whole? Also, 1 cup has 14 g of net carbs for those who were asking.

  22. First time using this legume, glad to have found this curry to try.
    I don’t know if I can get cumin and mustard seeds without ordering online, is there a recommended substitute? I have ground mustard and ground cumin on hand…quantity? I also happen to have Ajwain (or ajowan) seed on hand. Also, is olive oil acceptable or should I get coconut oil?
    Thanks for any reply.
    “Gradually introducing more vegan/vegetarian dishes into the family diet and reducing consumption of animal proteins and byproducts.”

    1. Hi Jeff, you can use the ground versions, just reduce the quantities by 1/2 – 1 tsp. If you have an Indian store nearby, they will sell the seeds. Feel free to use olive oil. 🙂

  23. Hi Lesh,
    I was so excited about the recipe and made it last night, following it exactly. It ended up very watery and not too flavorful! Do you find that 4:1 is the right ratio of water to mung beans? Thanks for your help and your wonderful site!

  24. I love this recipe, I have made it 3 times now, I always feel so calm and nourished after eating it so it so it definitely works well for my digestion, I have a Moringa tree so I use the leaves of that just stirred in at the end instead of spinach which works really well…

    Thank you Lesh 🙂

  25. I bought some mung beans months ago and never knew what do do with them, so I searched “mung bean recipes” online and found yours! Just made this tonight…I didn’t have all the ingredients you used, so I just made do with what I had in the house. Thanks for the inspiration—turned out delicious!

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