Indian food is a challenge for me. I can’t help but feel like it ought to be the perfect solution for the CSA overload, but then I go to actually make something and get overwhelmed by the long ingredient list and crazy number of spices that I’ve never even heard of. So for a recipe to make the cut, it has to have more than half of its ingredients already hanging out in my pantry, and only one unrecognizable ingredient and/or technique. Thus, I do not make much Indian food.
But I had a bag of mung beans in the pantry, which I had purchased in a fit of health-mindedness, and then never worked out exactly how to make use of. And they hung out there for really quite a while (like years). Then, miraculously, I saw this recipe for Cheela posted by the vegan blogger Scrumptious on In My Box, and was amazed to find an Indian recipe that not only would finally make use of my beans, but also had ingredients I could identify (fennel seeds! coriander! turmeric! salt!), and looked awesome besides. The only ingredient I didn’t recognize was asafoetida, which (when I learned that it is alternately referred to as “devil’s dung” – thanks, wikipedia!) I decided that I didn’t really need to hunt down. Of course, the recipe called for split beans, skinned, and I only had whole with skins, but as Scrumptious said, “a cup of mung beans is worth an experiment.” Indeed.
So here’s something I did not previously know about mung beans: if you soak them over night, they get soft and chalky, and you can easily split them in two with your fingers. Fun! This is, of course, what makes it possible to grind them to a pulp and them make pancakes from them. And the grinding etc is pretty simple. Remember that your goal is to come up with something a wee bit thicker in consistency than a standard crepe batter, and you can’t go wrong. After the first cake, I decided to add some flour and a bit of water to thin it back out, and that improved the consistency dramatically. Really, it’s hard to go too far wrong here.
I’ll be loading my leftovers up with greek yogurt for breakfasts, and serving with avocado as a side for my usual lunch salads, but the main attraction was with both of the above and Indian Spiced Chard with the Cheela,
- 1 bunch chard, stemmed, stems reserved
- 1/3 C chopped carrots
- 1/3 C dried coconut
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- a chile, if you’re into it
- salt and pepper
Soak coconut in 1/2 C water for 1 hour. Chop chard stems and carrots small. Add to a large pan, and set over medium heat with some EVOO. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the chopped chile here, if using. Meanwhile, chop the chard leaves fine. Add leaves, and all remaining ingredients to the pot (incl coconut water) and cook until chard is wilted an soft, about 15 minutes more.
The spice amounts are intentionally vague. We’re serving finicky kids here, so we go pretty light, but you could easily get away with 1/4 tsp tumeric and 1/2 tsp cumin, if you like a bit more punch.