Moong Usal

Mung beans soften when they sprout and have a pleasant, nutty flavor,
makes them a good choice for this pilaf-like dish. You'll need 24 hours'
lead time for prepping the mung beans.

The mung beans can be blanched a day ahead of time and refrigerated in a
resealable plastic food storage bag. The entire dish may be made 2 days
ahead of time and reheated. (It's also excellent cold or at room

4 to 6 side-dish servings

4 ounces dried mung beans
2 cups water
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger root
1 teaspoon Thai green chili pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons coconut milk

Combine the mung beans and hot tap water in a medium bowl and let sit for
several hours in a warm place until much of the water has been absorbed
and the skins are cracking open. Place a thick wet cloth on a baking
sheet. Spread the mung beans over the cloth and cover with another wet
cloth. Let sit at room temperature (in a warm place) overnight; the beans
will sprout (at least 1/4 inch). In a large stockpot over high heat, bring
4 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the sprouted mung beans
and boil for 3 minutes, then drain and set aside. The consistency will be
slightly crunchy.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat the oil until is almost
smoking. Add the cumin seeds and cook for several seconds. Add the onions
and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until they are
golden. Add the ginger and chili pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add the
spices, stirring to mix well; cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook
for 5 to 7 minutes, until the oil bubbles at the edges. Add the coconut
milk and bring it to a boil, then add the blanched mung beans and cook for
4 to 5 minutes, until mixture has a pilaf-like texture. Add the cilantro;
cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

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