Mung Bean Soup with Tomato and Turmeric

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!

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VEGAN

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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