Thursday, January 10, 2013

Is that a mung bean soup, or are you just trying to poison me?

I admit without a trace of shame that I eat the diet of a bachelor. A weird vegetarian bachelor to be sure, but in no way the kind of bachelor who would ever be mistaken for a gourmet chef.

Cooking for one feels like a waste of time since I don't have anyone to impress but myself, and myself has always gravitated to low-fuss, minimal food over more refined options anyway. So I generally consume ready-to-eat foods which require literally no effort to prepare, not even microwaving, and pair them with fresh vegetables which I also put the same amount of effort into preparing (for example, I bring whole bunches of lettuce into the office and eat them leaf by leaf.) Some vegetables I steam en masse and eat cold at a later date. Once in a while, when I'm on a health kick, I'll buy dry beans and cook them and bring them to work to eat as my main course with no garnish but a little bit of salt.

But I have a lot of cookbooks (which were gifted to me). And sometimes, like some masochistic automaton with a penchant for creating extra work for myself, I even cut recipes out of magazines (which also just appeared on my doorstep without my subscribing to them).

And since sometimes the thought of eating plain old beans out of a Tupperware is so unappetizing that I pass them up and go buy myself an Auntie Anne's pretzel or McDonald's milkshake for lunch instead – rather undermining the intentions of my health kick – I decided I would try to start cooking myself some healthy foods that actually have some taste appeal.

And you know what that means? Valerie's Adventures in Cooking, that's what!

Read on to learn how Valerie prepares a mung bean soup that's to die for!

Whole Mung Soup


1 c. whole green mung
3 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish.


  1. Soak mung beans in water with a pinch of salt for one hour.
    Rejoice! Any recipe that begins with an hour of procrastination is your kind of recipe! Be so smug about having avoided actually cooking for an hour, that you forget to add the salt.
  2. Drain, then cook mung in 3 cups water for 25-30 minutes, or until soft.
    Realize you forgot to add the salt, so add the salt, cover with more water, and cook some more. While you're waiting, go into your room and start shopping on eBay, reading some of those free magazines that are piling up on your bed, and get this amazing idea for your website that you have to try out right away.
  3. Come back after 40 minutes to find your mung beans completely desiccated and burned to the sides of the pot. That's OK—it's only the sides, and since the water's all boiled away, you can just call it a curry instead of a soup!
  4. In a pan, heat olive oil on medium. Add cumin seeds, roast for a half a minute.
    Cumin seeds? Who has cumin seeds? What kind of recipe in its right mind requires cumin seeds and cumin powder? You'll do fine without the cumin seeds. And if you're not roasting any cumin seeds, you'll do fine without the oil as well. Less oil = more health, right?
  5. Add cumin powder, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
  6. Add more cumin powder (after all, you left out the cumin seeds).
  7. Add more salt.
  8. Add more salt. Is this recipe ever going to have any flavor at all?
  9. Add more salt.
  10. Realize it has a flavor--char. Don't bother garnishing with fresh coriander, because, really, who do you have to impress but yourself?
  11. Eat 4 spoonfuls at work, decide it tastes even worse than a Tupperware full of salted beans, and vow to compost the rest when you get home.
Serves 0.


Julie said...

OK I didn't have any idea that you were posting about soup on your latest entry but I saw this recipe that looks SOO tasty and I was like.. ok I gotta share this with Valerie.
Of course, it has onions in it but don't throw it out so fast!
It look soo awesome to me.. I don't know if i'll ever have the self-discipline to actually make it but I thought it looked so tasty I needed to share it with someone else..
So here's the link: (I don't know if it will come through but I'll send it to you another way if not!) I enjoy this website if for nothing else, pretty pictures of tasty-looking food!
miss you,

PS the security stuff on this is impossible! I had to try several times before I could even guess what characters were present in the 2 "words" that I had to type to "prove" i'm "not a robot."

Valerie said...

Julie, I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with the security challenges! I didn't want to do them, but then every post got some comment about Jessica Simpson or Rolex in it, and it had to stop! That recipe looks really good. Also really complicated! When we get together sometime (someday!!) we'll make it!