Also called green lentils, mung beans are common across the whole Asian continent and have been for many thousands of years; they were first domesticated in India over 4,000 years ago, and over time spread westward to the Middle East and eastward to China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
Mung beans are high in many key nutrients like protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and certain vitamins.
They’re also quite versatile, and can be cooked in many ways or eaten raw. When raw, they’re often eaten while sprouting, either by themselves or in other foods like salads. (When a recipe calls for bean sprouts, often it’s referring to mung beans.) Otherwise, they can be dried and then used like legumes or lentils. When prepared this way, they’re then usually soaked and boiled to rehydrate and then can be used in soups, stews, and other dishes. From there they can also be mashed to create mung bean paste, which is used in many dishes including desserts like ice cream or popsicles!
Beyond eating the beans themselves raw or cooked, their flour is also valuable and perhaps best known as the key ingredient in cellophane noodles.
At Uwajimaya, we carry dried mung beans, mung bean sprouts, and mung bean flour throughout the store.