Mung Bean and Coconut Curry

Mung Bean and Coconut Curry! This healthy vegan curry is packed with Indian flavours, coconut milk, cilantro, and lime. It’s incredibly easy and can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stove top (instructions are provided for both!). If you’re looking for a delicious moong dal recipe, this is the one! Grab the recipe and let’s get started! 

two silver bowls of mung bean curry

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Hands up if you have a packet of mung beans kicking around the back of your cupboard that you have no idea what to do with! Fear not, I’m here to help with a Mung Bean Curry that’s so good if you and your family don’t love it, I’ll give you your money back.

Just kidding – there are no refunds on Hey Nutrition Lady.

But seriously, this is both one of the easiest and one of the most delicious recipes in my arsenal. It’s hands down one of the most popular recipes on this site, and with good reason. Check the comments; it’s amazeballs.

Are mung beans and moong dal the same thing?

Sort of… mung beans refer to the whole, intact bean that’s encased in a green husk. This is what’s in the picture below. Moong dal refers to mung beans with husk removed and split in half, so moong dal and split mung beans are the same thing. Moong dal will have slightly less dietary fiber, and will cook faster than whole mung beans.

cilantro, spices, garlic, mung beans, ginger, tomato, coconut, and limes

This mung bean curry is a one-pot wonder. No fussing around with extra dishes, minimal cleanup, and not all that much chopping involved. And yes, it can be made in the Instant Pot! Secondly, it features ingredients you’ve probably already got on hand: dried mung beans, canned tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and some fresh cilantro.

It’s jam-packed with immune boosting foods (have you counted how many cloves of garlic are in that picture? that’d be nine, and yes, they’re all going in!), and the mighty mung bean offers up a good dose of plant-based protein and gut-healthy fiber.

mung bean curry in the instant pot

All of that is well and good, but folks, this curry is delicious. If mung beans aren’t an ingredient you’ve cooked with before, I encourage you to give them a try. Unlike some other beans, they don’t require soaking, so they’re great for quick and easy meals.

And as beans go, mung is fairly easy to digest, so if you’re someone who tends towards tummy troubles with other beans, I encourage you to give mung beans a go. When coupled with a spicy masala, coconut milk, and a touch of lime, this mung bean curry becomes a versatile meal. Sip it as a soup, or pair with brown rice or some warm naan bread if you’re looking for something more substantial.

mung bean curry being made in the instant pot

Tips for making a killer Mung Bean Curry:

  • Ummmm, there are NINE cloves of garlic in this curry? Yes ma’am, and I encourage you to use ’em all. I promise you this doesn’t come out a garlic bomb of a dish, and you won’t reek like garlic after eating it. It just works, and in combination with all of the other spices, the garlic gets mellowed out.
  • But on that note, use a garlic crusher! Ain’t nobody got time to chop up nine cloves of garlic. Or you could buy those jars of pre-chopped garlic and use three tablespoons.
  • Can I use moong dal / split mung beans in this recipe? I haven’t tested this personally, but I do believe it would work. However, using moong dal would result in a considerably different texture to the final product.
  • Keep your ginger in the freezer! It lasts for ages that way so you’ll pretty much always have some on hand for a recipe, plus it’s waaaaaayyyy easier to grate from frozen.
  • Have leftover mung bean curry? Lucky you! This recipe freezes like a dream, and is great for make-ahead meals.
  • Want to green it up? Be my guest! Throw in some chopped spinach at the end of cooking and let it wilt down into the curry. Delicious!
  • Can I made this recipe in the Instant Pot? Yes friends, you can! It won’t save you all that much time but it comes out like a dream and you don’t have to babysit the pot while the curry cooks. Instant Pot users please reduce the water to 3 cups!
  • What if I don’t have an Instant Pot? Then make this delicious vegan curry on the stove top! I’ve done it that way approximately one million times. I love to use this heavy-bottomed pot.

two bowls of mung bean curry on a grey background with naan bread and rice

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Hey Nutrition Lady, tell me about mung beans!

I’d be glad to! Mung beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K. The protein-plus-fiber combination in beans is one of the things that makes them special. Mung or moong beans refer to the full, intact bean, whereas moong dal refers to a mung bean that has been hulled and split in half.

A one cup serving contains around 15g of fiber (over half of the daily recommended intake), and 15g of protein. Much of the fiber is indigestible, which supports digestive health, particularly in the lower part of our digestive tract.

The protein-fiber combination is also key in stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace. Beans are also rich in soluble fiber, which is helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health.

mung bean curry on a grey background with squeezed limes, rice, and naan.

Other Tasty Curries you might enjoy:

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry
Red Curry Coconut Stir-Fry
Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps
Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dal

mung bean and coconut curry on a grey background
4.83 from 69 votes
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Mung Bean and Coconut Curry

Mung Bean and Coconut Curry! This easy vegan curry is packed with Indian flavours, coconut milk, cilantro, and lime. It's incredibly easy and can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stove top. 

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 392 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp canola oil or other neutral-flavoured oil
  • 1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 9 cloves garlic crushed (about 3 Tbsp crushed garlic)
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup mung beans picked over for stones and well rinsed
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1-2 medium limes juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions

STOVE TOP INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot (I like to use my Dutch oven) heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and cook for about 1 minute, until they just begin to darken. 

  3. Add the garlic, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until it has browned, but watch it very carefully so that it doesn't burn.

  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine, then add ginger, coriander, turmeric, salt, and cayenne.

  5. Sauté this mixture for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  6. Add the water and mung beans. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring the mixture once or twice.

  7. Taste a few mung beans to make sure they are cooked. If they are, stir in the coconut milk, and increase the heat to medium-high.
  8. Once the curry comes to the boil turn off the heat. Stir in the cilantro and the juice of one lime. Taste and decide whether you'd like to add the second lime as well.
  9. Serve hot.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using the sauté function, heat your Instant Pot on normal heat. Add the cooking oil, and then add the cumin seeds and cook them for approximately one minute, until they sizzle. 

  2. Add the garlic, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until it has browned, but watch it very carefully so that it doesn't burn.

  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine, then add ginger, coriander, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Sauté this mixture for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  4. Add 3 cups of water and the mung beans. Place the lid on your Instant Pot and put on manual pressure cook HIGH setting for 10 minutes. It should take about 15 minutes to come to pressure. 

  5. Allow the pressure to release naturally (this should take about 20-30 minutes) and remove the lid once safe.

  6. Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, and lime juice. Serve!

Recipe Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only
  • For Instant Pot reduce the water to 3 cups
Nutrition Facts
Mung Bean and Coconut Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 392 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 14g70%
Sodium 503mg21%
Potassium 892mg25%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 8g32%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 445IU9%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 109mg11%
Iron 5.4mg30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. This allows me to continue to provide free content, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

Recipe adapted from Vij’s At Home.

This recipe was originally published January 22, 2015. Last updated April 20, 2019. 

 



 

Comments

  1. Paul says

    Making this for the first time and the quantities of water seem way-off…..? This maybe because I soaked the beans, as per the instructions on the packet they were supplied in, although the recipe suggests that maybe they don’t need to be…? If I now add a can of coconut water I’m gonna end up with a very watery mess 🙁 I will try and simmer some water out with the lid off but it’s interesting to see that other people making similar comments.

    To soak or not to soak – that’s the deal-breaker I’d say ….?

    • Katie Trant says

      Yeah, I never soak the beans for this recipe. Mung beans do cook very quickly without any pre-soaking. So if they’ve already been re-hydrated with a pre soak, you’d definitely need to reduce the water in the curry accordingly.

      • Kate the gnarly says

        I only have the split kind, and I kind of read that is have to reduce the time if I used moong dal. I’m gonna be lazy and use the instapot, so can I substitute homemade veggie stock for water (no salt, just earthy tastiness — and I think the batch I have right now might have had some lemongrass scraps in it)? Sweet or unsweetened coconut milk? Also, I know this is vegan, but if I were to add chicken, are there any pointers or warnings you could give? (My roommate isn’t a fan of meatless things, unless I lie and psyche him out hah!)

        • Katie Trant says

          Hi Kate. 1) I’ve never made this with split mung beans, but I’d imagine you’d need to reduce the time. 2) You can of course use veggie stock, the flavour would be great. 3) Unsweetened coconut milk – this is a savory dish. 4) I haven’t eaten or cooked meat in over 25 years, so I’m afraid I can’t help you with the chicken question.

  2. karen says

    this is a totally yummy and wonderful recipe EXCEPT i found the ratio of beans to water to be way off. i used 2 cups of beans to 4 cups of water and the proportion was really good. i make beans very often so this just did not seem correct. i also only used 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and found it to be quite spicy. there is wonderful depth of flavor in this recipe and i will surely make it again.

  3. Alix says

    This was sooo delicious. My husband became pescatarian over a year ago and I had to find new meat free recipes. This one is definitely a keeper. The only difference is that I soaked the dried mung beans overnight.

  4. nancy says

    No, maybe it was from a different source. I tried looking for it. I remember it was from the muffin myth, so when I searched it up as that it took me to yours. I don’t know if you own that website as well. I will check out the chickpea curry.
    Thanks so much for sharing and many blessings being sent your way. 😀

  5. Sara says

    I made this following the IP directions and it was delicious! Only minor complaint is that there was a lot of excess liquid — I put it back on saute for about 5 minutes after it finished releasing to boil off a bit of the excess but it was still quite loose. This may be because I was using sprouted mung beans and I don’t think they need as much water. Next time I will reduce the water to 2.5 cups and see how that goes.
    Flavors were spot-on though and nobody else really minded that it wasn’t thicker 🙂

    • Katie Trant says

      Hey Sara, it might have had to do with the sprouted mung beans – I’ve never tried using those, so can’t say for sure. As you can see in the process shots in this post my curry turns out quite thick before the coconut milk is added.

  6. Nancy L. says

    Question:
    I remember this recipe having carrots, potatoes and kale. Do you still have the recipe that includes those three ingredients? I’m trying to make it again, but I noticed that the recipe was updated and no where can I find the original recipe.
    If you have it, would you please post it?

    Thanks & Blessings!

  7. Kelly Smith says

    I made this for myself. Freaking amazing.!! I followed the recipe as best I could. I didn’t have whole cumin and I used frozen ginger cubes. But it was absolutely delicious. I think next time I will not add the lime. I kinda liked it better before I added it. I couldn’t stop testing it.. So good!! Now I’ve got about four meals for myself and don’t have to worry about it! I’m vegan and get bored of my usual salad and recipes. So happy to have something I enjoy with flavor!! THANK YOU!!

  8. Emily says

    I was doing a cupboard clear out and found a packet of mung beans that had been sitting in there for several years. I checked this recipe and yup I had everything else in my cupboard too so I made this yesterday and it was a big hit with everyone, including my almost 1 year old. After reading some of the other comments on how spicy it can be I used only 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and that was perfect for us.

  9. Laura says

    Absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe and have made it twice since discovering it a few months ago this is definitely in regular rotation and is easy to make. Thank you!!

  10. Tatyanna says

    Wow! Thank you for the delightful surprise! I decided I wanted to try dal with mung instead of red lentil for a change, and accidentally soaked way too much–I let them sprout longer than I intended, maybe an inch (!!!) then cooked with turmeric and ginger just to stop the sprouting process while finding a recipe LOL. I blended them with some tomatoes from the garden, both to hide the ‘tails’ (sprouts) and disguise the tomatoes from my son and I who like the flavor but not the texture. THEN I found your recipe! You were right, we did have all the ingredients on hand, and though I had to guess at quantities because I’d made so much (like 2 gallons? thanks for the tip on freezing!), and sub a thing or two, this is absolutely divine. I’m used to a sweeter dal, bc I usually add sweet potatoes to the red lentil one I make, and the sourness is such a fun change. It’s a winner!!

  11. Natalie Lanoville says

    I’m making this for about the sixth time. It is my favourite mung bean recipe. I add a bit of onion and use bottled lime juice, other than that I make it exactly as described. Every time I make it, I post about it on Twitter!

    • Katie Trant says

      As this is a mung bean curry I’ve never tested it with anything else, but I’m sure you could try it with small green lentils (the firm ones) or something similar. However, cooking times would vary, and I as I haven’t tested it I can’t advise on what they might be.

  12. Wils says

    Loved this recipe! I often find it hard to get good depth of flavour in curries but I was really impressed, and if you’re using pre-minced garlic it’s super easy with virtually no chopping involved. Will definitely make again.

  13. Michelle Ramirez says

    This is amazing. I made it in the pampered chef quick cooker and cooked it for 25 mins because with the high altitude where I live, beans take a little more time and I wanted to make sure it was done. It came out perfectly. It’s great as is, but I chopped some cubes of pepperoni and sprinkled them on top as I served it. Over the top! I like spicy, but when I do it again I might half the cayenne.

  14. Ines says

    I just made it because I was craving some comfort food and it was super delicious! I’ll definitely make it on the regular because it’s so easy to make and I usually have all the ingredients in the pantry. Not to mention it’s super healthy too. Thank you so much for the recipe! You made youself new fan here. 🙂

  15. Jeri says

    I am getting ready to make this for the third time. Not a frequent flyer in my kitchen, but a definite go-to when I am looking for a bean recipe. And when I can find mung beans. I am considering giving a try at it with just-sprouted mung beans, just for a change of texture. Also gave this recipe link to a coworker who – along with her husband – loved it but she (not her husband) felt it was a touch too hot for her taste and cut back on the spices a bit on subsequent batches.

  16. Jo says

    Bought Mung beans in an ‘I’m in a very cool Asian supermarket and don’t know what these are for but let’s give it a go’ moment. They then lingered in my cupboard whilst I wondered what exactly I should be doing with them. Made your recipe and I have to say it is truly excellent. Absolutely loved it! Great flavours and so quick and simple to make. Now looking at the dried bean curd that I bought at the same time….

    • Laetitia says

      What a devine recipe !!
      It was quite runny , so I served it in a bowl on fragrant rice . And added some of my homemade chilli jam.
      This is is going to become a regular for sure !

  17. Ash says

    Hi ! I tried this recipe out tonight for me & my partner after discovering it only a couple of days ago (while looking at another recipe that happened to use split mung beans’).
    Until now I did not know that mung beans existed! What caught my eye first was the recipe title (I love anything with coconut!) and then your picture of the dish sold me. I followed your recipe carefully and the only problem I had was with how spicy it was (must be the cayenne pepper), which no one else has mentioned (but my tolerance to spicy food is quite low!) my partner loves things spicy so I put some aside for him then to the rest of the pot I added another can of coconut cream to mellow it out. It was delicious!! Now there is heaps to freeze for future quick meals hooray! Thanks for this lovely recipe and for introducing me to the mung bean -I will make this again. 🙂

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