Hearty Whole Mung Bean Soup

"After coming across mung beans in my local market one day, I was curious as to just what to do with them. After much searching I found this recipe on the internet which I've altered to suit our tastes. The result is a spicy and satisfying soup-a meal in a bowl. I found in my research these Asian beans don't need pre-soaking and are very nourishing, while being relatively easy to digest--they do not generally create abdominal gas or bloating (sorry, but for some people, that is important). According to modern nutrition, mung beans offer 14 gms of protein per cooked cup. Mung beans are also a good source of dietary fiber. They also contain thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, and are a good source of folate. The ham in this recipe can be omitted and vegetable stock substituted for chicken stock if you are vegetarian. I serve with crusty bread on the side, but you may also serve over rice if desired."
photo by PaulaG photo by PaulaG
photo by PaulaG
Ready In:
1hr 15mins


  • 2 cups whole mung beans, picked over, washed, and drained
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 chilies, finely chopped (seeds removed, if desired)
  • 12 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked ham, diced
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach (thawing is not necessary)
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I don't find it needs any)
  • Tabasco sauce, passed at table (optional)


  • Place beans in a large pot and add 4 cups water; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or as long as needed until the marjority of the beans pop their skins and the water is absorbed (if your water cooks out and the beans are not cooked, simply add more water as needed and continue cooking until beans burst; it is better to overcook than undercook, but in any event, continue cooking until the water is all absorbed).
  • Meanwhile, saute garlic, chilis and onion in olive oil until the onion softens, about 5 minutes; set aside.
  • When the beans have burst and the water has cooked off, add the chicken stock to the beans and bring to a boil.
  • Add the onion mixture, ham, and spinach to the pot; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Uncle Bill, I was truly surprised at how delicious this soup was! I used split mung beans and vegetable stock, omitted the ham, and instead of frozen spinach i used a fresh unidentified green from the organic shop down the road (was it chard? i think, maybe). I couldn't find fresh chilies so threw in some chili powder at the last minute. The end result had a deliciously creamy/nutty flavour. Wow! I never knew mung beans were this delicious.
  2. I was not sure what type of chili it was wanting, so I added one jalapeno then then added some chili powder and turmeric for more flavor once it was done cooking. Also, I used just a pressure cooker, sauteed the onions and garlic for just a but and then added everything except the spinach. I used an entire 10 oz bag of fresh cut up when done and just heated. SO good!
  3. I tagged these because I had mung beans in the pantry for awhile and not quite sure what to do with them. This was pretty good. I served the soup with green onions, corn bread and green pepper sauce for an extra kick. The cooking times are perfect.
  4. This is an excellent recipe. I too added things, carrots, thin cornmeal dumplings and bits of kale. Delicious !
  5. We are a European family who lives in the Middle East and likes to try the local goods. Thank you for your recipe it came out very well! Only difference I have made is that I added some carrots and sweet potatoes and a little turmenic powder at the end. Thanks again!


  1. I made this hearty soup today for lunch because I too on impulse bought a bag of mung beans and didn't know what to do with them. I used a smoked ham hock instead of the diced ham and fresh spinach as this is what I had on hand. Also I skipped sauteing the onion garlic and peppers and just threw them in the soup pot with the beans and it worked out perfectly. Very hearty and satisfying. Thank you FlemishMinx for sharing the recipe


I am an American married to a Belgian, and have lived in Belgium since December 1999. Cooking is my major hobby. I'm also an avid reader, but I have difficulty finding the time. I love to travel. Since moving to Europe I've been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to go a couple of times per year to Paris, as well as having visited London, Rome, Florence, Naples, Amsterdam, and of course Brussels and Antwerp. I've seen at least parts of most regions of France, as well as parts of Germany, Austria, a great deal of Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Monaco. I'm absolutely in love with the Bay of Naples and Sorrento coast areas of Italy, which my husband and I recently re-visited on a trip that included Rome, Puglia, Umbria and Marche. I'm still looking forward to Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic . . . the list is too long ! One of the bonuses of travel is getting to taste the local cuisine, and afterward trying to figure out how to duplicate it at home. I think cooking is one of the nicest things a person can do for someone they love (including themself!) I had to submit a picture with me and my cat, Sophie, as she insists on sitting in my lap when I'm sitting at the computer. If you are wondering what all that stuff hanging on the wall behind us in the photo is, it is just a small part of my husband's military medal collection. He was appalled by my posting this picture-- Our study is the messiest room in our house (thank god!)
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