Vegetarian winter warmer


As the sun rises after something like 11 days of appalling weather in Wellington, one thing’s for sure. Kate and William will be in no hurry to come back to our lovely little city. Especially after landing is sunny warm Sydney. (Yes, I know, there was one moderately OK day during their stay – coincidently, on their ‘day off’.)

One of the plusses of the royal visit for our whanau is that the little guy has acquired a whole new lexicon: air force plane, Government House, baby Prince George, Prince William, Kate, the Queen, walkabout etc etc. As we live near GH and the airport, we saw the aforementioned plane daily and passed GH (which is across the road from his spiritual home, The Basin Reserve) frequently. I don’t know what we’ll do for entertainment now that they have gone. I’m sure the questions won’t cease.

On one of those gloomy evenings during the week, dinner was one of those, “help, what’s in the cupboard” nights. I dug out some mung (sometimes spelt moong) beans and decided on a favourite curry I learnt at a vegetarian Indian cooking class several decades ago. Back in the days pre-Government cuts to continuing education, when most communities offered affordable night classes – but don’t get me started on that one!

Mung beans aren’t always on lists of favourite foods, but they should be. Even the meat loving traditional Kiwi bloke husband enjoys this recipe.

I thought it was time to test the Slow/Fast Cooker I won last year. I love the idea of pressure cookers, particularly for lentils and legumes, and keep forgetting that I now own one. This recipe can be made entirely on the stove top, which I often do so don’t let not having a pressure cooker put you off making it.

What you’ll need

2 C dry mung beans (I buy mine from Ankurs in Petone – any Indian supplies store will have them, I just love Ankurs)

4 C water

1 1/2-2 tins crushed tomatoes

* 1 tsp each salt, turmeric, sugar, ground chilli

* 1 Tbsp each ground cumin, coriander

Splash oil (I use rice bran)

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

2 whole red dry chillies (I use a shake of dry chilli flakes as that’s what I have in the house)

4 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh coriander, for serving

How to make it

Pressure cook the mung beans, water and tomatoes until they split. This took about 20 minutes in my cooker. If you do it on the stove top without a pressure cooker, you will probably need extra liquid and it will take 1-1 1/2 hours.


Beat the beans with a stick blender (or old-fashioned egg beater) till they are thick. I like to leave some of the beans intact to give a more interesting texture. Add in the spices marked *.


Heat the oil and add in mustard seeds and chilli. Cook for a few minutes before putting in the garlic. The seeds will pop. Give everything a mix, taking care not to burn the garlic.


Pour in the mung bean and spice mix, stir, and bubble over low heat for about 10 minutes.


Serve with roti or poppadoms (I cook my poppadoms over the hot plate or microwave as I don’t like to deep fry them) and garnish with coriander (as you can see, I only had parsley).

Take my word for it, this is one of those, “don’t take a book by it’s cover” recipes – it tastes oh so much better than it looks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s