Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mung Beans and Coconut Curry Rice

The weather today is crappy. I mean it is Ug-uh-LEE outside. It's wet, a bit clammy-cool, gray and depressing, and you get the picture. On top of the ugly weather, I am in study week for my mid-term in Statistics (which I have to take tomorrow), and I hate math with the fiery heat of a thousand suns. This class is kicking my butt (which is code for, "making me actually work for my grade which no es bueno because I'm an intellectually lazy sloth." And, the final face-slap today is all the laundry I have to fold. So I'm moping...but I'm not alone.

The ever-effervescent wonder beagle, Kioko, is moping, too. I feel bad for her. The sun didn't shine through the glass door to warm her usual spot this morning. It's a very grievous disruption of her daily schedule, and a beagle's morning sunny spot is SFB.

So, Kioko san and I discussed it, and we decided that food was the only possible way to relieve today's general melancholy haze. The beagle, who is an expert on food, suggested that I make something warm, spicy, comforting, and different for the family dinner tonight. I told her she was brilliant, rubbed her belly, and brought her a nylabone to chew in her moping chair. She likes it when I express the proper level of appreciation for her beneficence with her culinary genius.

After careful consideration taken whilst standing in the pantry closet munching on a bag of dried apricots and surveying all the shelf-stable foodstuffs we own in the Nix house, I decided to return to my old idea from last week about mung beans and bok choy. I'm cookin' those a recipe...together...and you people are going to LIKE it. Ha ha!

The recipe will be some sort of hot rice bowl which includes the bok choy (I'm thinking of roasting them or braising them and chopping, but I am not yet decided) stirred in with beans and rice (which will be the mung beans cooked into coconut curry rice). This could work...or it could really suck. Wish me luck!


Finished Product! Oh, this is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten, but since it was such a foreign thing for me to make, it was a lot of unnecessary work, and I didn't really know what to pair it with. I will be making this again, and now that I've been through the process once, I don't think it will take so much time or effort in future.

Some notes about parts of the recipe you might find intimidating: Mung Beans are small, ovular beans that look like green blackeye peas. I found them in the Asian foods section of my commissary. Given that I live in Okinawa, I can't assume that American grocers will carry them. If you cannot find mung beans, I think lentils would be a suitable substitute. You can achieve perfect crushed ginger root from a fresh piece with a ginger juicer. You can see a picture of mine HERE. You'll notice that it is a ceramic dish with little sharp nubs in a circle. You take a peeled piece of ginger root and gently "grate" it over these nubs. The result is perfectly crushed ginger root. Coconut milk is sold in cans, and you can find it in the Mexican foods section of any standard grocery store. When you open the can, you'll find a layer of soft, semi-solid coconut fat on top of the liquid. Don't be put off by this and, whatever you do, don't discard the fat. It's a natural process, and coconuts have a LOT of fat in them. You need to whisk this solid back into the liquid before adding coconut milk to a recipe. The creamy, wonderful flavor and texture is more than worth the hassle.

This dish is made with coconut milk, spices, white rice, and mung beans, and it is just scrumptious beyond imagining. Here's how I did it:

Mung Beans and Coconut Curry Rice

1C uncooked White Rice
2C cooked Mung Beans
1 can Coconut Milk
1/2C Water
1/2 Yellow Onion, small dice
1tsp Garlic, crushed
1/2T Ginger Root, crushed or grated
1/2tsp Turmeric
1/2tsp Cinnamon
1/2tsp Dry Mustard
1/8tsp Allspice

My mung beans came dry, and I soaked them all day on the counter in a pan full of water. Before cooking them, I drained the soaking water, rinsed the beans, and then cooked them in fresh water at a slow simmer for about 45 minutes. You will know they are ready when the skins split and the beans are tender. Taste a few to make sure the beans are totally cooked before removing from the heat. Once the beans are done, drain and rinse them to remove all the flatulence-causing stuff that cooked out of them in the simmer process. Once the rinse water runs clear, you're all done with the beans.

To make the curry rice, you put all the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan for which you also have a cover. Stir everything up and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to a very low simmer. I babysat it like a risotto because I didn't know what I was doing, and the result was having to put in a LOT more liquid. Don't make my mistake. Cover it from the beginning and just leave it be for about 20 minutes. Check it at this point and taste the rice. When it is tender and the liquid is all absorbed, your rice is done. Fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the mung beans and serve.

I've never tasted anything like this, and I am so glad I did it.

As for the bok choy...well, I apologize, but you'll just have to wait. Ha ha. I'm all burnt out on cooking for today.

1 comment:

  1. 3 Studies PROVE How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    This means that you literally burn fat by eating coconut fat (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from big medical magazines are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!