The mung bean is universal.
Madhur Jaffrey ate them in fritter form growing up in India.
Reading Madhur Jaffrey’s memoir CLIMBING THE MANGO TREE was a supreme pleasure. Her account of growing up in her family’s compound with vast Sunday lunches and superbly orchestrated dinners is a gastronomic adventure.
Her memoir fully reconfirmed what I already knew about food and people: The world is full of gorgeous like-minded souls connected by our love of feeding people, who can always make room for one more at the table.
I was especially interested in reading about how the mung bean features in the Indian diet, as it is beloved in Korean cuisine. Her reminiscence about a snack vendor in Old Delhi who fried up mung bean fritters and topped them with all sorts of toppings really got my juices going.
While Madhur’s fritter recipe calls for ingredients e.g. asafetida and cilantro you won’t find in the Korean version, there’s some similarities. We both soak the mung beans over night and grind them with a bit of water. Back in the day, Koreans used a manual stone grinder, which you could still see in outdoor supermarkets in the early 2000’s.
But those are hard to come by here in Brooklyn…
Stay tuned: In Part Two, I’ll try my hand at Madhur Jaffrey’s fritter recipe!
Jiwon’s mung bean pancakes (빈대떡)
1 cup peeled mung beans, soaked overnight in 5 cups of water
a little water for grinder
ginger juice, to taste (grate ginger and squeeze juice into the batter)
salt to taste
bacon or salted fat back, cooked (optional)
oil for frying
mung bean sprouts
1. Grind the beans in the blender or food processor with a little water. Pour in a mixing bowl.
2. Stir in scallions, ginger juice, and a pinch of salt.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan. When hot enough to sizzle, add one tablespoon of mixture. If using, top each pancake with small pieces of cooked bacon or salt pork.
4. Flip over once lightly browned. Lightly brown the second side.
5. Serve with soy sauce.