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Mighty mung bean

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vegetable mung bean griddle cakes
Mung beans are fantastic. Why am I only just realising this?

Mung beans come in all manner of dishes ­­­­– they appear in Chinese dishes like ang ku, and in Indian idli, both favourites of mine – and yet I have only just come to think about their role in a particular food item.
Perhaps because they're so small and unassuming. With their green skins on, they stand out among the other legumes on the shelf, but split and skinless, I wouldn't be able to say what they were if not for the label on the packaging. But they're certainly not to be underestimated.

It was after I made Tepung Gomak, which has a filling of mashed mung beans and grated coconut, that I realised how much I actually like mung beans. Having some beans left over from that recipe, I added them, mashed, to a pancake batter together with some vegetables and fried them on a griddle. I enjoyed the texture very much and there's a certain roundness to the taste that you don't get with just flour, milk and eggs.

This griddle cake is based loosely on the Korean Bindaetteok, a pancake comprising mung bean and kimchi (here's a link to a recipe). I substituted the kimchi with cooked cabbage and pickled carrots­­ – the type that comes in a Bánh Mì, the Vietnamese sandwich ­­– because Hungry Caterpillar (whose birthday happens to fall today. Happy Birthday Ivy!) had given me some, but of course any vegetable is fine. 

Makes 6-10 cakes (7cm in diameter), depending on thickness

½ cup split mung beans, soaked in cold water overnight
½-¾ cup water
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch of chilli powder or cayenne pepper
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 cup pickled carrots or finely shredded fresh carrots
Soy sauce, to taste

Egg rings, optional
  • Rinse the mung beans and place in a saucepan; cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then simmer until beans are soft; drain. Process the beans with the egg and seasonings until smooth. Remove to a large bowl and whisk in flour. Stir in enough water to form a thick batter. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a little cooking oil and sauté the garlic. Add cabbage and fresh carrots, if using, and sauté until tender. Season with soy sauce. Remove from pan and leave to cool. Stir cooked vegetables and/or pickled carrots into the batter. 
  • Heat a griddle pan and coat the base with a little cooking oil. If using egg rings, grease the inside rim and place into the pan. Spoon the batter into the rings or make small rounds. Cook until golden brown on both sides. If cakes are browning too quickly, turn the heat down.
  • Serve hot or cold, plain, with chutney or a dipping sauce.

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