Mung beans with ginger, chilli and lime


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

Mung beans are available in many larger supermarkets and health food stores. Traditionally, they are soaked and sprouted before cooking. The sprouted beans are a good source of vitamin C. Unsprouted ones are equally delicious, and they are served raw as a snack, topped with chopped onion, Bombay Mix and a dash of lime juice or, as in this recipe Usal, cooked with aromatics to create a side dish.


  • 175 g/6 oz mung beans (whole moong dhal)
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 fresh red chillies, sliced at an angle
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a vegetable curry, to serve


  1. Wash the mung beans in a sieve (strainer), then soak them in a bowl of cold water for 4–5 hours. Drain, then put them in a pan and add 300 ml/½ pint/ cups water.

  2. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan and cook for 6–7 minutes, until the froth settles down.

  3. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15–17 minutes. The beans should be tender by now and most of the water will have been absorbed. Remove from the heat and keep hot.

  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat until smoking point is reached. Switch off the heat and add the mustard seeds, followed by the onion, ginger and chillies.

  5. Turn the heat on to medium and fry the onion for 6–8 minutes, until it begins to colour. Add the turmeric and continue to cook for a further 1 minute.

  6. Add the onion mixture to the lentils along with the salt and lime juice. Stir, transfer to a serving dish and serve with a vegetable curry.

Per portion Energy 106kcal/437kJ; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 7g, of which sugars 8g; Fat 5g, of which saturates 1g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 29mg; Fibre 3.4g; Sodium 251mg.