1teaspoongreen chilis (substitute with jalapeños), slit lengthwise
1teaspoonginger, minced or grated
5–6curry leaves, (optional; see notes)
for the garnish
2tablespoonsfresh cilantro or coriander leaf, minced
Cook the whole mung beans
Cover mung beans with cold water and a pinch of salt, and soak for 4 hours or overnight. Drain off the soaking water and rinse well until the water runs clear.
Cook the mung beans using the saucepan method or the pressure cooker method. Note: Pressure cookers are amazing for cooking pulses quickly and efficiently. If you are unfamiliar with their use, please refer to my post on “How to Cook Beans From Scratch” for more information.
Add mung beans to a medium saucepan with 4 cups of cold water. Add turmeric powder and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, loosely cover the pot, and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the mung beans are soft. Keep an eye on it while simmering to ensure that the water does not evaporate below the level of the beans. If it does, add more water.
Pressure Cooker Method (Stovetop OR INSTANT POT)
Add mung beans to a pressure cooker with 3 cups of cold water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of salt.
STOVETOP COOKER: Cover, place the pressure regulator on the lid, and turn the heat to high. Once the cooker has reached high pressure, turn the heat down slightly, and cook for 8 minutes. INSTANT POT: Cover, select "High Pressure," and set the timer for 12 minutes on high pressure.
Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes. Manually release any remaining steam, and open the lid. The mung beans should be soft and breaking apart.
Make the buttermilk curry
Whisk together the ingredients for the buttermilk sauce. The yogurt, gram flour, turmeric powder, red chili, optional asafetida, and salt in a small mixing bowl until smooth with no lumps. Mix in 1 cup of water. Set aside.
Temper the spices. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook (watch carefully) until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add green chili, ginger, and optional curry leaves, and cook for another minute, until the ginger starts to brown slightly.
Add the prepared buttermilk sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more water if needed to adjust the consistency if it gets too thick.
Add the cooked mung beans to the sauce and continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes to integrate the flavors and ingredients together. Taste, and adjust for salt.
Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro. Another option is to stir the cilantro into the curry. Either way it's delicious.
GRAM FLOUR is made from ground up Indian chickpeas known as kabuli chana. In India, gram flour, also known as besan, is a common ingredient in flatbreads, fried foods, desserts, and in this case as a thickening agent for curries. If you don’t have gram flour, use chickpea flour or substitute with cornstarch.ASAFETIDA is a powder made from the sap of a plant relative of fennel. It is commonly used in Indian cooking, but is virtually unknown in the West. Asafetida (also known as hing) is sometimes associated with a sulphur smell, and is thus very unique, and nearly impossible to substitute. It is a wonderful spice once you get familiar with it. I highly recommend investing in it when you are ready. For now, if you do not have asafetida, leave it out. Under some circumstances, it could make sense to substitute onions, shallots, or garlic, but only use a small amount if you choose to do this.Also, be aware that most asafetida is mixed with flour to make it flow, which makes it less strong. If you have pure asafetida, you will use much less quantity.CURRY LEAVES, also known as kari patta, are small, fragrant, somewhat citrusy leaves that grow wild in India, but are difficult to find in the West unless you visit an Indian grocery store. You can usually find a package of fresh curry leaves in the refrigerated section of an Indian grocery store. Once you bring them home, store them in the freezer, and they will keep for months. It is very worth using curry leaves if you can find them, but their flavor is subtle, so if you cannot source them, just leave them out.Visit A Guide to Indian Substitutions for spice buying recommendations.
MAKE THIS VEGAN!
Substitute the whole milk yogurt with a plant-based yogurt of your choice. Recipe adapted from Archana Doshi of Archana’s Kitchen