Spinach-mung Beans Soup

1. I'm not very formal in my cooking... as in I just add spices by intuition, having seen my
mom do it in the kitchen all through childhood. So I could give a recipe, with approximate

2. I am very freestyle when it comes to using spices. We have so many spices to use in
India. So the spinach-mung veggie you tried at an Indian restaurant might not turn out the
same as the one I give a recipe of!

3. This might be too spicy. Please decrease (or increase!) the quantity of spices, to taste.

These are the disclaimers. Now for the spinach-mung beans soup recipe.

Mung bean is a kind of lentil. Very popular in Indian and Chinese cuisine. Light, and easy
to digest. Does not produce as much flatulence as other heavier beans (like chickpea,
kidney beans) tend to. Soaking lentils in warm water helps improve digestibility as
well. If the lentil is dehusked (with husk removed) then usually an hour or two of soaking
is sufficient. If it is not dehusked, soaking them overnight is best.

Serving size ~ 1.5 - 2 bowl of soup

Mung beans (dehusked) : 2-3 tbsp (depends what lentils:spinach ratio you want!)
Spinach leaves - 1 bunch
Olive oil - 2 tbsp (traditionally ghee (clarified Indian butter) is used)
Spices (quantities mentioned in the method) : Asafoetida powder,
Cumin seeds, Nigella seeds, Fenugreek seeds (10-12 in number, soaked 5-6 hours in 1-2
tbsp of room temperature water), Turmeric powder, Garam masala, Cilantro seeds powder,
Fennel seeds powder
Salt - to taste
Finely chopped green chillies (according to taste!) - I like 2-3 chopped thai peppers in mine
Grated fresh ginger root - 1 inch piece
Sugar - to taste (~ 1/2 tsp should be good)

1. Soak dehusked mung beans (available at Pammel grocery store, Ames, IA) for 2 hours.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium flame.

3. Add a pinch of asafoetida powder, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp nigella seeds (optional) to
the oil.

4. When the seeds start sizzling in the oil, add the chopped green chillies and grated ginger.
Let them cook for a minute or two.

5. Stir in the chopped spinach leaves. As soon as they wilt a little, stir in the soaked mung
beans, along with 2-3 cups water (depends how watery you like your soup).

6. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, and salt (according to taste). Stir. Cover pan with lid, and
let the lentils cook on low-to-medium flame.

7. Go on stirring occasionally in the middle to make sure the vegetable does not catch the
bottom of the pan.

8. When the lentils lose their identity (read "shape"), and become soupy, the cooking is
over. Switch the flame off. Add 1 heaped tsp of cilantro seeds powder and stir it in.

9. Add sugar, 1/2 tsp garam masala (this is a special mixture of spices from India. Every
household has its own unique recipe. My mom uses a zillion ingredients to make hers -- bay
leaves, black cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon, etc. I don't know what's in it... just make
sure I have enough of it in the suitcase when I return to the States from my vacation home
:D ). Pammel grocery store sells some garam masala as far as I remember.

10. Add the fenugreek seeds ( *along with the water they were soaked in* ) and 1/2 tsp
fennel seeds powder. (Note: soaked fenugreek seeds have a super-mild bitter taste. So feel
free to increase or decrease the number of seeds used, depedent on your taste. If you use
10-12 seeds for example, the bitterness is not noticeable.)

11. Serve hot.

- This recipe is from Priyanka Jindal from F2F