Posted by: Jonjon | August 16, 2009

Curry – West Bengali Mung Bean & Tomato Soup 9/10 August 16 2009



As usual with Indian soups, a lot of salt was added. It was very fragrant, full of spices flavor, with meaty whole mung beans in the soup. It was very warming to the stomach, and very flavorful, in a subtle way. I didn’t use any fresh corianders though.

West Bengali mung bean & tomato soup

3/4 cup mung beans

6 cups water

2-inch piece cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

dab of butter

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

3 cloves

4 green cardamom pods

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2-3 green chilies, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar

2 firm medium tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste

3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

Soak the beans overnight in a large saucepan or soup pot in 6 cups of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. The next day, add the cinnamon stick, turmeric and a little dab of butter to the beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40-60 minutes or until the beans are soft. Remove from heat and take out the cinnamon stick. Beat with a whisk or hand blender until smooth, and set aside.

Meanwhile, warm a cast-iron or stainless-steel frying pan over low heat. Toss in the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, cloves and cardamom pods. Dry-roast, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the coriander seeds are lightly browned and the mixture is fragrant. Remove the cardamom pods and crack with the back of a wooden spoon to take out the black seeds inside. Use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder to grind the cardamom seeds along with the other toasted seeds and spices to a powder. Transfer the spice powder to a bowl, and mix with a little water to form a paste.

When the beans are cooked, heat the sesame oil in the same frying pan used for the spices over moderately high heat. When hot, toss in the chilies and stir in the spice paste. Stir fry for 30 seconds, then stir in the maple syrup or brown sugar and cook for 1 minute, making sure if you are using brown sugar that it is blended in and there are no clumps. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with water, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened and reduced.

Pour the tomato mixture into the beans, and bring the soup to a boil once again. Turn off the heat and cover, letting the soup sit for 2 minutes to let the seasonings blend in. Stir in the salt, taste for seasoning, and add the chopped coriander.

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