Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Recipe: Overcooked Mung Bean Salad

So I watched Julie & Julia the other night, and it was way better and cuter than I thought it would be. Amy Adams is so likable and Meryl Streep is, of course, brilliant. It got me back in the mood to cook. Well, that and hunger in its purest form.

It's "overcooked" because of my own dumb ass, don't intentionally overcook your mung beans, please. This was a natural consequence of my never measuring or timing anything (which is why I haven't posted any recipes until now, lol) but also not cooking often enough to have an uncanny natural sense of timing.

Ok so on the left is what mung beans are supposed to look like - not to much different from how they look raw. On the right are my mung beans, which exploded like popcorn kernels. They're still perfectly edible, so if you found this post by Googling "overcooked mung beans" then read on, wayward chef.

You will need:

Approx. 3/4 - 1 cup of mung beans

1 of those little cans of sweet corn, or about a cup of fresh (cooked, yellow or white) corn kernels

Approx. 3/4 cup of diced red, yellow and green bell peppers (or whatever you have on hand, but keep in mind that the red and yellow ones are sweeter, and this salad is much better sweet)

2 green onion sprigs

1 small clove of garlic, finely minced

Approx. 1/4 cup lime (fresh or bottled, but do not use lemon) juice

First, fill a big pot with water and start heating it to a boil. Some people soak mung beans before cooking them, but I've made them without overcooking them before and they're fine either way. In any event, be sure to rinse them. When the water is boiling, salt it generously and add the mung beans. Cover and simmer for about an hour. Once 50 minutes or so has passed, check on them and test them frequently so they don't explode like mine did.

In the meantime, dice the bell peppers, chop the green onions and mince the garlic. Just in case anyone doesn't know this, smash the garlic clove with the heel of your palm under a broad knife. This peels it and breaks it apart.
If you like your fare spicy and sweet, seed and mince one green jalapeño and chop some fresh cilantro as well.

When the mung beans are cooked, drain them well. Heat up the canned corn or lightly cook the fresh corn (with no butter or oil or anything). To serve, mix all of the ingredients together in a large shallow dish or bowl, adding the lime juice as well. Serve warm, but serve the leftovers cold.

Viola! It's much prettier when the mung beans are intact; it looks like confetti. This is a great summer dish but is also hearty enough for winter, with the fresh bright veggies being a refreshing touch. It's filling but not heavy. I also garnished mine with that weird bell pepper heart I posted a picture of before.

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