Ever been to the subcontinent? If yes, it’s hard not to acknowledge just how many recipes, especially in Pakistan and India, are made with Lentils such as moong. A dish as simple as khichdi, all the way up to yummy noodles, is made using lentils. Indians especially extract proteins from beans and lentils as the country is densely populated with vegetarians.
One of the most popular and even more widely used lentils is mung daal. Called by many different names, including green gram or mung, moong dal has a delicate touch of sweetness and freshness to it. It’s hard to keep moong out of any meal kit, and you will find it in sabzi, soups, and even salads.
Why is lentil moong so popular? Let’s find out.
What Is Moong?
Most people will easily mix moong dal with yellow split lentils, peas, or chana dal. The reality is, each of them belongs to a completely different family; however, some can easily replace the other in a specific recipe, hence the confusion.
Mung or moong is whole mung beans (green in color) and is also available in split form. It is an essential component in Ayurveda and is easy on the digestive system. In India and Pakistan, it is considered a go-to for a quick meal. Mung daal is one of the cheapest food items you will find in the supermarket's aisle and, most importantly, does not go bad very quickly.
Brief History On Moong
The moong has been native to Southwest Asia for the past 5000 – 6000 years. It is believed that mung daal first surfaced in the Indian subcontinent way back in 1500 BC. Initially, it was only harvested domestically, but its growth gradually spread to Eastern Asia, Africa, America, and the West Indies. Today, it has a booming market in India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Japan, and Burma. You will find it in the tropics and even as high up as the Himalayas.
Mung bean production is mainly concentrated in Asia as around 90% of moong is cultivated in Asia alone. The plant grows best in the spring season and can yield up to 200 centners per hectare.
Benefits Of Moong
moong dal is packed with vitamins and minerals. Following are the nutritional contents of approximately 7 ounces of moong.
- Calories: 210
- Protein: 14 grams
- Zinc: 11% of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 15% of the daily requirement
- Copper: 15% of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B2, B3, B5, B6, and Selenium
The beans are one of the richest sources of protein. They are also jam-packed with amino acids such as valine, lysine, and arginine. Many of the amino acids in mung daal are those which body stops producing as a person gets older.
Can Prevent Heatstroke
Moong bean soup is commonly made on hot summer days. This is because of their anti-inflammatory characteristics that help keep the body cool and protect from heat strokes and thirst. Moong is extremely rich in antioxidants. Studies have proven that these antioxidants protect the cells from free radicals that start to form during heatstroke.
Controls Blood Pressure
Statistics show that every third person suffers from blood pressure. High blood pressure exposes you to the risk of many heart diseases. Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in developing countries.
Moong helps to keep the blood pressure under check. Moong provides potassium, magnesium, and fiber, and each of these nutrients is proven to keep blood pressure at normal levels.
Improves The Digestive System
Moong helps keep the digestive system up and running. The high composition of fiber is the main reason why it is good for the digestive system. The fiber makes sure that your bowels remain regular and speeds up the movement of food through your gut.
Controls Sugar Levels
High sugar levels have become a widespread disease among people of all age groups. Irregular sugar levels can cause diabetes which makes it very important to keep sugar levels under control. Richness in fiber and protein in mung daal helps slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream. It can lower down the sugar levels and can also increase the effectiveness of insulin.
What Does Moong Taste Like?
Moong dal tastes very earthy, a bit bland but overall provides a very pleasant flavour, making it a must-add in soups. Most vegetables and lentils need a lot of cooking, moong, on the other hand, requires only a few minutes.
Where To Find Moong In The Supermarket?
Finding it hard to search for mung beans in the grocery store? We will make it easier for you.
If you are interested in sprouted moong beans, you will find them in the "produce area." They may be in the refrigerated area or the section selling lettuce or salad vegetables.
You can easily get moong at Pakistani or Indian food stores. It is also available at grocery stores and supermarkets and will be displayed on the aisle and beans, rice, and grains. If you don't find it there, check out the products from the Asian section; if your supermarket has one, you will definitely find moong dal there.
Remember, moong lentil is available in 5 different grades. So, make sure to check the pack before buying; moong beans should be dark green and should not be damaged. Damaged beans mean the package is old.
How To Store Moong?
There are several ways to make sure moong dal remains fresh.
- You can also store moong in a plastic bag or container. If you live in a humid area, you can line the bag/container with a paper towel or newspaper. This will not let your lentil catch moisture and will retain the freshness.
- You can also store moong in the refrigerator in summer or if you live in a warmer climate. Otherwise, you can store the lentil in a bag or container in a cool and dry place.
We are sure that by now, you have more than enough knowledge of the magical mung beans used so extensively in Asian cuisine. To get a hands-on experience, give moong a try. In a soup or traditional Indian recipe; you will love the light and earthly taste.