Mung Beans with Cottage Cheese (Moong Dal Paneerwali)

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Mung Beans with Cottage Cheese

I have a weakness when it comes to cookbooks. Not only do I own a bookshelf worth of cookbooks, I am continually taking note of interesting recipes I find on the internet and I often borrow cookbooks from the library. Recently, I borrowed a copy of From Bengal To Punjab by Smita Chandra. Although the book is not restricted to vegetarian recipes, it does contain some interesting and unique vegetarian friendly recipes, such as these mung beans with cottage cheese (moong dal paneerwali).

As usual, I've adapted the recipe somewhat to suit my tastes. In particular, I used whole mung beans and added the onions earlier, rather than browning them at the end to use as a garnish. Feel free to use mashed paneer cheese in place of the cottage cheese, although I think the use of dry-pressed or dry-curd cottage cheese in this case lends a fantastic creaminess to the dish. I served this with mushroom methi curry and masmati onion rice, but it could just as easily be served with any grain dish, along with a vegetable dish of your choice. The author of the cookbook suggests mashing the beans along with some cooked potatoes and frying the mixture into croquettes, or using as a stuffing for tomatoes. Sounds good to me!

Mung Beans with Cottage CheeseMung Beans with Cottage Cheese (Moong Dal Paneerwali)
Recipe by
Adapted from From Bengal To Punjab
Cuisine: Indian
Published on September 8, 2007

Simple, creamy and flavorful spiced mung bean curry with dry-pressed cottage cheese

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  • 1 cup dried whole mung beans (3 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2-inch fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green chillies or jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups dry-pressed cottage cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened dried grated coconut
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the mung beans and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then set aside.

  • Heat the ghee, butter or oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Toss in the asafetida, cumin seeds, and cinnamon, stir once, then immediately add the ginger, onion and chillies or jalapeños. Stir for 6 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Add the cayenne, turmeric and mung beans, and pour in 1 cup of water. Stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the beans are soft. Add more water as necessary. (If using canned beans, add 1/3 cup of water and reduce the cooking time.) No liquid should remain at the end of the cooking time. If liquid remains, uncover the pan and boil it away.

  • In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese and coconut. Stir in the garam masala, lemon juice and salt. Transfer this mixture to the cooked beans and gently stir to combine. Serve hot or warm.

  • If you want to garnish with browned onions, don't add them during the beginning of the cooking time. Instead, fry the thinly sliced onion in a tablespoon of oil over medium heat until well browned (about 10 to 12 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Top the completed dish with the browned onions.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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