Mung Beans with Paneer Cheese

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Mung Beans and Paneer Cheese

Paneer cheese is one of my favorite foods. Soon I will be making my own, but if you don't have the time or inclination, you can easily purchase a block of paneer or a bag of pre-fried cubes at your local Indian grocery store. The following recipe is a flavorful combination of buttery soft mung beans, paneer cheese, tomatoes and spices. It goes very well with subtle rice dishes like pulao rice. I've adapted the dish from Lord Krishna's Cuisine by Yamuna Devi.

As I noted in a previous post, this cookbook was essentially responsible for my interest in Indian cooking in the first place. I received it as a gift shortly after becoming a vegetarian, and with the aid of the detailed and easy-to-follow instructions, I familiarized myself with the essentials of Indian cuisine. I highly recommend it for beginners and veteran Indian chefs alike, as there is a wide range of recipes and processes presented by a proven master of Indian cooking.

Mung Beans and Paneer CheeseMung Beans with Paneer Cheese
Recipe by
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 2, 2007

A flavorful combination of buttery-soft and sweet mung beans, golden-brown fried paneer cheese, tomatoes and spices — a wonderful dish to serve to guests

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  • 1 1/4 cups dried whole mung beans
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 6 tablespoons ghee or butter and oil
  • 8 to 12 oz (200 to 300 g) paneer cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
  • Rinse the mung beans and soak for 6 hours or overnight in several inches of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and rinse.

  • Bring the 3 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the turmeric, cayenne, paprika, sugar, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the ghee or butter and oil. Add the beans, reduce the heat to low, and partially cover. Gently simmer for 50 to 60 minutes or until the beans are butter-soft but not mashed or broken. Remove from heat.

  • Transfer 1 cup of the beans to a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Return to the pan. Alternately, use a hand blender to mash a small portion of the beans in the pan.

  • If using fresh paneer, heat 4 tablespoons of the ghee or butter and oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, add the cheese cubes and stir-fry for about 5 to 10 minutes, constantly turning the cubes to brown them evenly on all sides. As they turn crisp and golden, remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into the cooked beans.

  • If using pre-fried paneer cheese cubes, add directly to the pan of cooked beans and omit the 4 tablespoons of ghee or butter and oil.

  • Heat the remaining ghee or butter and oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Toss in the cumin seeds and stir for a few minutes or until they turn brown. Add the asafetida, amchoor powder, garam masala and coriander, and immediately add the tomatoes. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tomatoes turn into a thick paste. Pour the tomato mixture into the beans, then add the yogurt or sour cream, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and gently mix.

  • Serve hot or warm.

Makes 6 servings

1 comment:

I_Fortuna said...

Thank you for some great recipes! Unfortunately many of us here in Texas have to drive hours to find alternative groceries let alone and Indian grocer. I will have to make my own paneer which I love or keep eatting Amy's Kitchen food which is great too. I have a recipe to make paneer so I guess I better get started!