Here I have adapted my mother’s simple recipe for lentil soup, a winter staple in our house for as long as I can remember. My mother added mustard to all the pulses believing that it helped tame the occasional digestive issues.
Somehow inspired by the bean’s origin I add turmeric and my mung beans become a richer and more flavorful soup than the original lentils!
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups (440 g) mung beans, picked over and rinsed
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 dried chilies (optional)
2 cups (120 g) diced ripe tomatoes or canned tomatoes with their juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) dry red wine
2-3 bay leaves
1 to 3 teaspoons Maraş pepper, or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tablespoon turmeric
Salt, to taste
3 cups (720 ml) vegetable stock or water, or more as needed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Good, fruity olive oil for drizzling
Place the mung beans in a pot together with half the garlic and the chilies, if using. Add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until almost cooked. Remove from the heat.
In a skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the rest of the garlic for a few seconds, until it releases its aroma, but don’t let it color; add the tomato and sauté for 1 minute more. Add this tomato-garlic mixture to the pot with the mung beans, pour in the wine, add the bay leaves, the Maraş pepper or pepper flakes, the turmeric, and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, and add a little more water if it looks too thick; return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the mung beans are very tender.
Stir in the mustard, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and a few grindings of black pepper and simmer for 2-3 minutes more.
Remove from the heat and taste, to adjust the seasoning; the soup may need more vinegar.
Serve hot or warm, and drizzle each plate with fruity olive oil.