Mung beans are one of those ingredients that you either know very well, or you’ve never heard of it before in your life.
To be fair, mung beans, as ancient as they may be, are still very new to modern Western culture and many people are very unfamiliar with grains and pulses in general.
Luckily, that’s why we are here, to help expose you to new and interesting ingredients and hopefully convince you to use more of it.
In today’s article, we will look at everything Mung bean, more specifically, the flour version of it.
What is mung bean flour? Mung bean flour is made of finely ground mung beans. It is considered to be fairly nutritious and is a quite versatile, gluten-free flour option used especially in South Central and East Asian cuisine, in both savory and sweet dishes.
We will briefly discuss mung beans in general, their nutritional benefits and what they are used for and then move onto more detail on mung bean flour, including how to make it.
We’ve also made a list of our favorite mung bean products. Ready to start your mung bean journey?
The Mung Bean
Mung beans are part of the legume family, like lentils and beans. They were originally cultivated in Asia, mainly in the East and Southeast.
Like many members of the legume family, mung beans grow in a pod on a vine tree. These beans are harvested from the pods and then processed into various products.
Mung beans can be used whole, as a paste, as sprouts, or as a flour. The majority of mung bean products are made from the dried bean. Drying out the bean makes it much easier to process and it is very easy to rehydrate.
Mung Bean Uses
Whole mung beans can be cooked in boiling water until they become soft. In many parts of India, the skins are removed from the beans before being served or used. However, in other parts of Asia, the bean is used as-is, skin and all.
There are literally thousands of delicious traditional dishes that use mung beans as the hero – both savory and sweet.
In South Central Asia, especially in parts of India, mung bean dal is an extremely popular dish.
Usually, dal is prepared using lentils. The process stays exactly the same, the base ingredient just changes. This gives you an entirely different dish that is equally delicious and versatile.
In the more Eastern parts of Asia, like China, a dessert called “tángshuǐ” is a staple meal in many homes.
In the more modern areas like Hong Kong, this ingredient is often used to make ice creams or as a filling for mooncakes, a traditional baked product often associated with the Lunar New Year.
These beans are also surprisingly often used in beverages. They are cooked, cooled, blended and then flavored with additional ingredients and sweeteners to create a delicious and refreshing drink.
Another very popular form these beans are used in is when the whole beans are sprouted. These sprouts can form part of many other dishes and can even just be served as garnish.
Mung Bean Nutrition
Of course, as with many other members of the grains and legumes family, mung beans were destined to end up in a powdered form.
In general mung beans are extremely healthy and when you make a flour, those nutrients don’t entirely disappear.
Mung beans are extremely nutrient and packed with lots of protein and fiber. Notable nutrients include zinc, iron and folate B9.
The other fantastic benefit mung beans have is their richness in antioxidants. We don’t need to tell you that those guys are what it’s all about these days!
They have also been proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes, that they can lower blood pressure and that is great for your digestive system due to their high fiber content.
Mung Bean Flour Uses
Arguably the biggest benefit of mung beans and the flour made from them is that they are entirely gluten-free. This opens up a world of new culinary possibilities for not only gluten-intolerant users but also people that just want a healthier lifestyle.
This flour can be used like any other type of flour. It can be used to make cakes, pastries, noodles and virtually any food that normally uses wheat flour.
Now, as you might suspect, due to the fact that it doesn’t contain gluten, mung bean flour won’t work as well with recipes that require a lot of it. For example, it’s not your best bet for making bread.
Still, mung bean flour can usually be used as a substitute in a 1-to-1 ratio (using the same amount of mung bean flour that you would use of another flour). Your recipes will have a new, healthy and interesting twist to them that will leave your guests wondering and wanting more.
Some delicious dishes made with mung bean flour are:
- Mung bean pancakes
- Chinese mung bean flour cake and mung bean mooncakes
- Mung daal halwa (another type of cake)
- Dumplings (mung bean flour is used to make the dough)
- Mung bean chocolate brownies
- Any type of pasta that uses mung bean flour as the base ingredient instead of wheat-based flours
How To Make Mung Bean Flour
Now that we have looked at all the benefits and uses of this amazing ingredient, let’s get on to the fun part: actually making mung bean flour!
Mung bean flour is not a product that can be easily found at the store. Depending on where you live, you may not have even seen it for sale before. So, most people have to make mung bean flour at home.
We love products made at home as you can control a lot of aspects of it, for example, what goes into the product, how much it is processed and the quality of the ingredients used. These are all very important when making something as simple as mung bean flour.
Making Mung Bean Flour, Step By Step
Mung bean flour can be made by only using dried mung beans – no added preservatives, colorants or flavorants are needed.
What you will need:
- 2 cups Mung Beans
- 1 food processor
Step By Step:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
- Add the mung beans to the pan and roast for 15-20 minutes, but remove once they start becoming too dark. The roasting is just to dry out the beans as much as possible to prevent forming a paste instead of flour.
- Remove the beans from the oven and allow them to cool completely before continuing the process.
- Once the beans have cooled completely, place them into your food processor. We found that a coffee or spice grinder also works great for smaller quantities and an actual food processor works best for big batches.
- Don’t work in too large batches as the beans will struggle to blend as efficiently. Blend your batch for 20-30 seconds or until they are finely blended.
- You can place the powder through a sieve to catch any bigger pieces that haven’t blended as well, but this is entirely up to you. Once blended, the flour should be allowed to rest for 4-6 hours which allows them to mature and develop flavor.
- Place your mung bean flour in a container and store as you would flour, in a cool dark place.
Tips For Making Mung Bean Flour
- This method works best when using fresh mung beans. However you can buy dried ones and then roast them some more to ensure as much moisture has been extracted as possible.
- This method will work to make any other type of legume-based flour.
- Each cup of mung beans you use makes between ½ – 1 cup of flour. This depends on a lot of factors like moisture content and how finely the beans are ground.
Mung Bean Flour Substitutes
As with any ingredient, sometimes you simply cannot find it, even if you are making the flour from beans alone. Mung beans haven’t yet reached their peak in popularity and are still hard to find in most areas of the world.
Luckily, if you really wanted to use it, there are many substitutes that will work in the same way.
Just like mung bean flour is a substitute for many other types of flour, so can other types of flours be used as substitutes for mung bean flours – what a mouthful but basically, you can use any other type of flour.
The best types would be a gluten-free, legume-based flour – just because mung bean flour is already very unique and substituting it with a common wheat-based flour will change the dynamic entirely.
Try a Fava bean flour that is made from, you guessed it, Fava beans. These beans are also very healthy and packed with nutrients and also gluten-free!
Flours can also be made using virtually any type of legume. For example, you can make pea flour, pinto bean flour, soy flour or chickpea flour – the possibilities are only limited by what legumes you have access to.
Many of these types of flours are more readily available than mung bean flour, however they can also be made at home in exactly the same way mung bean flour is made. The only change to this process might be the time the different legumes need to roast.
Best Mung Bean Flours
Below we have ranked our favorite Mung Bean flours:
|1.||YPFEN Cooked Mung Bean Flour||Mung bean flour|
|2.||Deep Moong Dal Flour||Mung bean flour|
|3.||Food to Live Dried Mung Beans||Dried mung beans|
|4.||Spicy World Moong Whole||Dried mung beans|
|5.||Pine Brand Mung Bean Starch||Mung bean starch (flour-like)|
What we love about these products is that they are all healthy regardless of the price and the convenience of finding these flours without the hassle of having to go store-to-store.
We have included one or two whole dried mung beans products for those of you that prefer making this flour from scratch.
Also, we want to caution you now that anything that isn’t made from wheat, that hasn’t been bleached into outer space, that is any form of environmentally friendly and anything that is even the tiniest bit healthy can seem pricy.
So if one or two of these is more than you bargained for, at least know that you are probably not being price-gouged. Sometimes perfection just doesn’t come cheap. Either way, we think one of these will be the mung bean or flour you’re looking for!
1. YPFEN Cooked Mung Bean Flour
Whenever you can’t find dried mung beans, this is a great product to use instead. It is truly amazing and although it might look a bit “gimmicky”, it really isn’t. We were very happily surprised at the quality.
The flour itself has a very fine texture which is great if you need it for products like flatbreads or crepes. You don’t have to grind the flour at home like you would have to with many other brands of flours.
The other thing we love about this flour specifically is that it is organically grown and comes directly from China. This might sound a bit fussy, but whenever we buy specialty ingredients, we try to buy them from the areas they originated from.
This is just because these products tend to be more authentic than ones coming from other parts of the world that aren’t renowned producers. After all, who knows any ingredient better than the people who perfected its use?
This flour is sold in small quantities, meaning you can experiment at home before committing to a truck-load of mung bean flour.
2. Deep Moong Dal Flour
Moong beans are mung beans but split in half. It’s like split peas that are actually just peas, split in half, but go by a different name.
This flour is our second recommendation today and it is another staple ingredient in our kitchen. This is definitely a budget-friendly flour and isn’t in any way shape or form special.
This product isn’t everything the previous one is, however, that doesn’t make it a bad product.
This flour has great texture and even just form the smell you can tell that it isn’t highly processed. It will fit your budget perfectly and is one of the better products to start experimenting with.
3. Food to Live Organic Dried Mung Beans
This is a product we’ve been seeing more and more as of late and for a very good reason. There is an organic and conventional version as well as tons of different sizes.
We will always recommend organic products above anything else because far more often than not, they are truly much better in quality – and better for the environment!
These beans will roast quickly and evenly and will also make great organic mung bean flour, but you can also use these beans for much, much more. They make a wonderfully versatile addition to your pantry!
4. Spicy World Moong Whole
This is another dried mung bean product, just to give you some options. Unlike the dried beans from Food to Live, these are only sold in two sizes, both very usable. You are unlikely to have too little or too much of these on your hands – definitely a product we recommend for beginner flour makers.
Spicy World always prides itself in producing the freshest products and these beans are no different. They are only packed once you order them, ensuring you get the freshest version. Amazing, right?
5. Pine Brand Mung Bean Starch
We were also very pleasantly surprised when we found this product is also very high quality.
Mung bean starch is basically mung bean flour, so don’t fear if you ever see that minor difference on the packaging! You can typically use either product.
This may even be the product you want to start with when departing for your mung bean journey. It is sold in a bigger quantity, but not an obnoxiously large amount.