Mung beans: your little green vegan nutrition friends

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Although small, one cup of mung beans already contains lots of nutrients and essential amino acids that your body needs daily.

The mung bean (Vigna radiata), also known as the green gram, maash, monggo, or munggo, is a plant species in the legume family. Mung beans are native to India and have been cultivated in East Asia for over 3,000 years.

Read on to learn more about mung beans and why you should try including them the next time you’re cooking.

Mung beans- your little green vegan nutrition friends

Apart from that, there are lots of dishes you can make with mung beans, such as stir-fries, rice dishes like biryani or pulao, or coconut milk curries.

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What are mung beans?

Mung beans (vigna radiata), alternatively known as the moong bean or green gram, are a member of the legume family.

But did you know mung beans are also cultivated in hot, dry regions in Southern Europe and the Southern United States?

These small, green seeds are commonly used in Indian and Chinese cuisine, as well as in various traditional medicines.

It is used as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.

Mung beans are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

They also contain phytonutrients, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects.

Mung beans have many potential health benefits, including promoting weight loss, improving heart health, and aiding digestion.

With their extreme health benefits, mung beans are often used in different dishes not just in China or India but in Southeast Asia as well.

Additionally, it is also grown in South America, Africa, and even the US, where it is farmed in Oklahoma.

What do mung beans taste like?

What do mung beans taste like

Mung beans have a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. When cooked, they become soft and have a similar texture to lentils.

Mung bean sprouts, on the other hand, are crunchy with a slightly sweet taste.

Their taste can be further enhanced if paired with veggies, meats, spices, and even some of your favorite dishes.

Got sprouted mung beans on hand? Here are 10 Scrumptious Ways to Cook Japanese Style Bean Sprouts

What’s the origin of mung beans?

Mung beans were first cultivated in India over 3,000 years ago and later spread to China and other parts of East Asia.

Mung beans are now grown in warm climates all over the world, including Africa, South America, and the United States.

In China, mung beans are often used in soups and desserts. Mung bean paste is a common filling for Chinese mooncakes, which are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn festival.

In India, mung beans are used to make curries, dals (a type of stew), and idlis (a type of rice cake).

Mung bean sprouts are also popular in salads and as a topping for noodles.

Mung beans are a key ingredient in many traditional medicines, including Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.

Mung bean paste is applied to the skin to treat burns, and mung bean soup is sometimes used as a natural laxative.

Mung beans are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients and health benefits.

Best mung beans to buy

There are several ways you can buy mung beans. Most commonly they sold in their dry form.

You can either purchase them online or in Asian stores near you.

Yupik sells very affordable organic mung beans. Pride of India sells mung beans whole in a handy container with a screw top.

If you want to buy in bulk, I can recommend Rani Moong beans.

Whole mung beans from Rani

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When buying mung beans, make sure to check the package first and see if it’s still fresh.

The ideal mung beans are mature seeds and have an intense hue, are smooth and oval in shape, are free of cracks and soft patches, and are not discolored.

These beans should be uniform in size and shape, dry throughout, and are typically offered dried.

Mung beans can be sold in their pods and are slightly larger and softer when they are sold fresh. The pods should be dry, brown, and papery.

Mung beans can be sprouted, cooked into noodles, or boiled whole for eating.

You can also buy mung beans already sprouted at most fresh grocers. Simply ask your supermarket or vegetable stand at the market.

When purchasing dried mung beans, look for young, undamaged beans that are about 0.25 inches (0.5 cm) long and don’t have a lot of stones or dirt in the bag.

A lot of cracked, shrunken, or split mung beans should be avoided since they might not cook evenly.

One or two discolored beans are okay, but if the container appears to have been improperly stored, or if the majority of the beans appear light or faded, don’t buy it.

Types of mung beans

There are three main types of mung beans:

  • black mung beans
  • green mung beans
  • yellow mung beans

Black mung beans are typically used in sweet dishes like Indian puddings.

Green mung beans are the most common type of mung bean and are often used in savory dishes. Yellow mung beans are less common and are often used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Mung beans are a good source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in calories and fat, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

What’s the difference between mung beans and red beans?

Mung beans and red beans are both pulses, meaning they are part of the bean family.

Please know that they are two types of red beans:

Mung beans are small, green, and have a nutty flavor, while red kidney beans are larger, red, and have a sweeter taste.

Mung beans are commonly used in Indian and Chinese cuisine, while red kidney beans are popular in Cajun and Creole dishes.

Red adzuki beans you will find in Japanese cuisine a lot, especially when making sweet red bean paste (anko).

Mung beans can be sprouted, cooked into noodles, or boiled whole for eating.

Red beans, on the other hand, are typically used in soups, stews, and chili.

Mung beans and red beans may both be pulses, but they have different flavors and uses in cooking.

What’s the difference between mung beans and lentils?

Mung beans are tiny, round green beans that are part of the legume family, whereas lentils are tiny, edible seeds that resemble flat disks and are rich in proteins.

Mung beans and lentils differ primarily in that mung beans provide more calories, proteins, and dietary fiber than lentils.

So if you’re looking to add more legumes and pulses to your diet, be sure to include both mung beans and lentils!

How to cook mung beans

Cooking mung beans offers a lot of variety in ways. They can be boiled, steamed, pressure-cooked, or soaked and sprouted.

Mung beans can also be cooked into a soup, stew, curry, or dal.

The first preparation is to soak mung beans for at least four hours, or even overnight, for them to become smooth and easier to cook.

To cook mung beans, start by adding them to a large pot of boiling water to boiled mung beans. The ratio of water to mung beans should be 1:2.

Mung beans usually take around 30 minutes to cook. You’ll know they’re done when they become soft and mushy.

If you want to add some flavor to your mung beans, you can try adding a pinch of salt, some spices or herbs like ginger or garlic. You can also cook them with other ingredients, such as meats, veggies, or grains.

Once the beans are cooked, drain them and add them to your desired dish. Cooked mung beans are a versatile ingredient that can be used in different dishes.

Mung beans are often paired with rice, noodles, or other grains. Mung bean soup is a popular dish in many Asian countries.

Mung bean noodles (glass noodles) are also a popular choice and can be found in many Chinese and Korean dishes.

Cooked mung beans are also often used in salads, veggie burgers, curries, dals, soup or mushy broth with coconut milk or idlis.

Mung beans are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes.

Below are some of the top best dishes to enjoy using mung beans:

Once you get the hang of it, you will soon discover mung bean is an incredible flexible cooking ingredient that you can use to cook different dishes or experiment with a new one.

If you feel like a little challenge, why not try making these delish’ Japanese mung bean buns

Monggo: why Filipinos love these beans

Mung beans, or monggo (can also be spelled as munggo) in Filipino cuisine, offer a wide range of meal-worthy dishes that Filipino families love on just about any day.

In case you’re not familiar with monggo yet, well, they’re those small green beans that are used for cooking a delicious soup together with pork chicharon.

Monggo is a type of bean that is commonly used in Filipino dishes. It is also known as mung bean or green gram. The mung bean is native to India and has been cultivated in East Asia for over 3,000 years. The beans were introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish colonization of the country.

But if you’re in the Philippines, who wouldn’t know about monggo-based dishes?

After all, you’ll often see monggo soup being sold by viand vendors outside your school, office, and of course, at your favorite restaurant!

What is Monggo?

Monggo beans, or mung beans, are small, green legumes about the size of a pea. The beans are often used in soups and stews because of their high protein and fiber content.

Monggo beans are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

What makes monggo so special is that it can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from soups and stews to desserts and snacks.

Monggo is a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

I’ve already written a previous blog about mung beans, but today let’s focus on monggo-based Filipino dishes.

What does Monggo taste like?

Monggo beans are nutty and a bit sweet.

But you can’t really tell when they’re used in a dish with a dominant flavor. Instead, they taste the same as the whole dish.

More importantly, pairing them with vegetables, meats, spices, and even some of your favorite foods will improve their flavor even more.

What is the difference between Monggo and Munggo?

The words “monggo” and “munggo” are the same and can be used interchangeably.

Origin of Monggo in the Philippines

The mung bean was first introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish colonization of the country.

The beans were brought over by Spanish traders and missionaries who were looking for new crops to introduce to the Philippines.

Monggo quickly became a staple in Filipino cuisine because of its versatility and nutritional value.

The beans were often used in soups and stews because they were a good source of protein and fiber.

During the American colonization of the Philippines, monggo was introduced to other parts of the country.

The beans became a popular ingredient in Filipino-American dishes.

Today, monggo is still a staple in Filipino cuisine and is also being cultivated in the country.

The beans are used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to desserts and snacks.

How are monggo beans prepared?

Before cooking monggo beans with your favorite dish, they have to be soaked in water first for four hours or even overnight to soften their texture so they will cook faster.

Once soaked, cook them for about 30 minutes in ample water until tender.

Afterward, feel free to incorporate monggo beans into your favorite soup, curries, or stir-fry dishes.

Here is a classic Filipino ginisang monggo stew recipe that is commonly served not just in Filipino households but in popular restaurants as well.

Monggo popular pairings

As I’ve mentioned earlier, monggo is a versatile recipe component that can be used in many dishes.

Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Ginataang monggo with tufo and malunggay

The traditional monggo recipe has been replaced with this healthier version.

Tofu provides us with a wealth of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for maintaining a healthy body.

This gluten-free component offers magnesium, fiber, and high iron content.

Of course, it’s a terrific way to obtain a lot of protein without consuming the saturated fat found in meat.

Ginisang monggo with dilis

Mung beans and anchovies are sautéed with fish sauce and ground black pepper to make ginisang monggo with dilis.

Having dilis is definitely a must-try when cooking monggo that will satisfy your cravings.

Ginataang monggo with pork chicharon

Among the most popular and easy-to-make monggo recipes is chicharron. It is a delectable monggo broth that is seasoned with crunchy pork cracklings.

Having this in your meal is the ultimate comfort food.

Spicy monggo with tinapa

Incorporating fish with ginasang monggo is a perfect combination in this recipe for spicy monggo with tinapa.

With its mouth-watering flavor and affordability, this monggo-based dish is well-loved by many Filipino families. Plus, this can even serve up to six people.

Monggo with hibi

Monggo with hibi is cooked together with mung beans, hibi (small pieces of dried shrimp), vegetables, and seasonings.

It’s a perfect match with a hot bowl of rice eaten on a rainy day.

Ginataang mais at monggo

Ginataang mais at monggo is a delectable merienda that can be served both hot and cold, depending on your preferences and the weather.

For sweet corn, you can either use canned or fresh. But I always prefer fresh because they’re soft and juicy.

Monggo with tuyo

Of course, another on the list is monggo with tuyo.

Just like with dilis, this is another monggo recipe paired with a fish. But instead of hibi, tuyo, or salted fish, is being used as a star ingredient.

Beware, this pair is lethal as you may be unable to stop eating it.

Most of the monggo-based dishes above are easy to cook with inexpensive ingredients that are easily found in Philippine supermarkets or at any retail store.

That said, you’ll be having your own bowl of the monggo dish in no time!

Looking for dessert? Try this mouthwatering Filipino sweet ginataang monggo dessert recipe that’s easy to make

Where to eat mung beans

Mung beans can be found in many Asian markets and grocery store, while mung bean noodles can also be found in some health food stores.

If you’re looking for a place to eat mung beans, here are some suggestions:

Indian cuisine

Mung beans are often used in Indian dishes like curries, dalso, and idlis.

Chinese cuisine

Mung bean noodles are a popular choice in many Chinese dishes.

Korean cuisine

Mung bean pancakes, or Nokdu Jeon, are a popular Korean dish.

Eating mung bean etiquette

There is no specific etiquette when it comes to eating mung beans.

However, as with any dish, it is always polite to eat with your hands clean and to not make a mess.

It can also depend on which country you’re eating it from and what type of dish it is.

For instance, mung bean soup in the Philippines is typically scooped with a spoon and poured on top of a hot bowl of rice before eating it.

However, if you’re eating Korean mung bean pancake, Nokdu Jeon, it’s best to use chopsticks.

Are mung beans healthy?

Yes, mung beans offers many proven health benefits. They are low in calories and fat, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

They are also a good source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other essential amino acids.

They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber as well as significant amounts of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, polysaccharides, and peptides.

The nutritional benefits of mung beans make it a popular functional food for promoting good health.

Additionally, mung beans may help with weight loss, digestive health, preventing heat stroke and anti inflammatory activity, lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

Mung beans are a versatile and healthy pulse that can be used in many different dishes. Be sure to try them in your next homemade dish.


Here are the commonly asked questions about mung beans that might also help clear things out for you.

Can I eat mung beans every day?

Yes, there is no problem eating mung beans every day unless you are allergic to pulses.

However, as with everything, it is better to maintain a varied diet. So why not cook with mung beans one day, and with lentils or pinto beans the next?

Can mung beans cause constipation?

Quite the opposite actually! Pectin, a specific kind of soluble fiber found in mung beans, helps to keep your intestines regular by accelerating the passage of food through your gut.

Is mung bean good for diabetics?

The mung bean has been suggested as a substitute food for diabetic people among all sorts of seeds due to its high fiber content and low glycemic index.

How do you know when mung beans are cooked?

Before cooking the mung beans, soak them overnight. This will make them cook faster.

Then, turn on the burner and bring the saucepan to a boil. Add the beans and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 to an hour, stirring now and then.

When the majority of the water has dried up, and the beans appear puffy, it is finished. Try one bean (be careful as they are still hot!) to see if they are soft to the bite.

Do mung beans expire?

Beans that have been dried are non-perishable. The nutritional value begins to decline after two to three years, and after five years, most vitamins are lost.

How to store mung beans?

If you accidentally cooked a large batch of mung beans, simply put them in an airtight container and they’ll do well in the fridge for around 5 days.

The bottom line

Mung beans are a healthy and versatile pulse that can be used in many different dishes.

Mung beans are low in calories and fat, and are a good source of dietary fiber, and other nutrients that offer many health benefits.

The best thing about mung beans is that they’re pretty flexible ingredient that you can use to cook many delicious dishes.

Or you can also experiment with anything on your fridge together with mung beans.

So, the next time you’re going to unleash your cooking extravaganza, be sure to add mung beans in them!

Next, find out if bean sprouts need to be cooked or can be eaten raw

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.