mung bean curry

Mung bean curry in a black cast iron pan with a wooden spoon.

4.6 from 5 reviews

Creamy mung bean curry loaded with Indian spices and coconut milk is easy to make and a flavorful plant-based feast guaranteed to please.


  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. black mustard seeds
  • 9 cloves garlic crushed (about 3 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated or minced ginger
  • 1 red chili or jalapeno sliced or finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 - 14 oz. (400 gm.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups mung beans, rinsed and picked through to remove any stones
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 - 14 oz. (400 ml.) can of coconut milk
  • 1-2 medium limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Start with a heavy bottom medium pot. Heat that to medium and add 1 Tbsp. of cumin seeds and 1 Tbsp. of black mustard seeds. Toast the seeds for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Don’t let them get too brown. Toast them just enough that they start to release their aromas.
  2. Immediately add the garlic, ginger, and red chili. Saute for 30 seconds to allow the chili to soften.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp. of coriander, 1 tsp. of turmeric, 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper, and 1 tsp. of salt. Just mix this around with your spoon and then add the tomatoes. If you need to break the tomato pieces up, use the back of a spoon against the side of the pot. Be careful that you don’t splatter tomato everywhere.
  4. Allow the tomato mixture to cook for 5 minutes so the tomatoes can start to break down. Stir a few times to pick up any garlic or spices that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add 5 cups of water and the mung beans. Stir them about so they are not just in one place. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
  6. Cook the mung beans for 30 - 35 minutes until they are tender.
  7. Once the beans are tender, add the coconut milk, chopped cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime.
  8. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Taste and add more lime juice or salt to taste.
  10. Serve over rice if desired.


  • Be sure you have all the ingredients ready through the point where you add the water and mung beans. You don’t want to risk burning the cumin and mustard seeds.
  • If you just whole rather than crushed tomatoes, you may need to dice or puree them before adding them to the pot. Be sure to add the juice.
  • The total cooking time for the beans may vary depending on the age of the mung beans and the cooking heat. Mung beans do not require soaking.
  • Add a few cups of chopped spinach to green up this dish.  Add it at the end of the cooking process and cook it just enough to wilt it.
  • I’ve not tested this recipe with split mung beans. If you use them in place of the whole beans, the texture will be different. Try substituting pigeon peas or snow peas if you can’t find mung beans.

Keywords: mung bean curry