Mung bean, green gram, moong, pojo or as we call it in Swahili, ‘Ndengu’, is a legume that is rich in nutrients, easy to cook and versatile as it blends in well with many flavour bases. In an onion, tomato gravy, sautéed with greens, in coconut milk, as a filling for savory pancakes or vegetarian samosas, it holds its own quite well. They are mostly sold as dry cereals, but one can sprout them too for added health benefits.
I like it uncomplicated, just simmered in an onion, tomato sauce with a bit of curry powder; I will definitely have a second helping. Ndengu also goes well with starchy sides such as chapati, rice and even ugali.
This time round I opted to add in roasted then mashed eggplant, it thickens the sauce and also adds a hint of smokiness in the dish.
Our ingredients are:-
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2-3 cups of already boiled legumes
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tomatoes and 1 green pepper (capsicum) grated
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp dhania jeera powder
- 1 heaped tsp Kenyan curry powder
- 1 large eggplant, roasted over open flame then mashed. You can also broil it for 20-30 minutes in the oven then peel and mash.
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cups water or stock
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric, or if you have whole, cut a small piece and crush with the ginger and garlic.
Heat your pan, add oil and the cumin seeds, once they release their aroma and begin sizzling in the oil, add your finely chopped onion. Mix well and let cook till it is soft and translucent.
Add the crushed ginger, garlic and turmeric paste and let cook off the raw smell, before adding in the spices.
Lower the heat and let the ground spices cook well for them to release their oil, aroma and flavour. You can add a tablespoon of water so they do not burn, then add the tomato paste.
This will be followed by your grated tomato and capsicum mix.
Cover and let them cook down till it’s a bit dry and the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Add in your mashed eggplant and some seasoning.
Once the eggplant in mixed in well, add the boiled ndengu / mung beans. Mix well before adding in the water or stock.
Simmer for 20-25 minutes on low till the stew is well flavoured, thick and cooked well enough.
Check your seasoning, garnish then serve.
A bowl of this is quite filling for a light lunch, for a heartier meal, you can have it with rice, ugali or chapati on the side.
We had it with some soft and delicious carrot and spring onion chapati.
Colourful, healthy, filling, easy to make and oh so tasty! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it.