A little twist on an old Gujarati classic
Iron-rich foods are essential for vegetarians who without it, may feel constantly lethargic, tired and run-down. I speak not from formal education in food nutrition, but from experience. We all need iron in our diets to keep us strong like Popeye (Popeye, if you’re reading this, I have an inkling that you will LOVE it!) Since having iron-deficiency problems, spinach has been my number one best friend. Although I’ve been eating mung bean soup since I was a child, I was never really a fan of it (perhaps because it was a staple in the house and I probably got bored with it). I eat mung beans now because I finally realised how good they are for my health. So here is an iron-packed soup that is both rich in vitamins and flavour, that even I, (a former arch enemy of the cute lil mung bean) enjoy to the max!
Growing up, I never had mung bean soup pureed; the beans were simply served whole in a spicy broth. I found that pureeing the beans gives the soup a luxurious, velvety texture which is SO addictive! The addition of cream is totally optional so don’t feel compelled to add it if you don’t want to. The perfect partners for this soup have to be hot, buttered chapattis and steaming basmati rice.
Who says healthy food has to be boring food? Go on, trick your mind into thinking you’re eating a bowl full of liquid heaven!
Luxurious Spinach and Mung Bean Soup
(Serves 3-4 as a starter)
1/3 cup mung beans, washed, soaked and boiled with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda until tender, then drained
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 green chilli
1 tbsp tomato puree
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seed powder
2 ½ cups water
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander
Salt to taste
Juice of ½ a large lemon (around 4 tbsp)
¼ cup double cream (omit for a vegan recipe)
1. Heat the sunflower and mustard oil in a large pan and add the mustard seeds (wait for them to pop), then add the cumin seeds and asafoetida.
2. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry until aromatic. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, coriander seed powder and water. Bring to the boil.
3. Add the mung beans, spinach, salt and lemon juice and allow to boil for three to four minutes. Add the chopped coriander.
4. Blend until roughly pureed (I used an immersion blender but you can use whatever blender you have).
5. Return to the pan and bring to a low simmer and add the cream. Remove from the heat and check the seasoning. Garnish with more chopped coriander if you like.
NOTE: If you have a pressure cooker then you can simply add the raw mung beans to the spicy broth mixture (minus the fresh coriander leaves- add that after it's cooked) at step three, pressure cook and blend once cooled.