Monday, January 18, 2016

Muga Saaru Upkari ( Mung Bean Soup) ; Meatless Monday

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday. He believed in looking beyond himself. He worked for the betterment of black people . I decided to do something altruistic today too and bring to you a warm, hearty, protien-rich gluten-free, vegan soup and some information to face the flu season.

Did you know that January is Soup Month?? Well, I didn't know either, until recently! It does make sense though: not only is it winter and cold, it also happens to be flu season! Kids go back to school after the Christmas holidays and come home sick!! Is it any surprise that we seek comfort foods like soup??

Where I come from, soup is also used as a side with rice. So you could mix the soup with the rice and eat. Well, it would then be rice-bean soup! ;) Just kidding!  The soup-like sides that we make are called Saaru- Upkari in konkani. If I were to literally translate it then the word " saaru" means gravy and " upkari" means " sauté". So it could technically translate into a sauté with gravy. In reality is a soup. We make saaru-upkari of almost all kinds of beans. The bean of choice is cooked with 4-5 times water until tender. It is then tempered with either garlic and red chillies or red chilli powder or mustard, curry leaves, asofoetida and red chillies or chilli powder. Believe me when I say that it is delicious and a true comfort food. It can be eaten with rice as a side or as is like a soup with some bread. This makes for a filling weeknight dinner; both to cook and to eat!

Servings: 2-3


Dry Mung beans: 1 cup
Water: 4 cups to soak and 3 cuks to cook.
Salt: to taste

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp ( any cooking oil may be used).
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Asofoetida powder: a pinch ( if using solution: 3-4 drops)
Red chilli powder: 1/4 tsp ( can be adjusted as per individual spice level).


Soak the dry mung beans in water for 4-5 hours or overnight. Drain the water, add fresh water ( 3 cups) and cook in the pressure cooker on medium flame until you hear 2-3 whistles. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook it on the stove top on medium flame until the beans reaches the desired tenderness. The mung beans should be well-cooked but not over cooked. Open the pressure cooker only after all the pressure has been released. Add salt and mix well.


Heat coconut oil in a frying pan/skillet on medium heat.Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and asofoetida powder. Turn off the flame and add chilli powder.

Add this mixture to the pot with the cooked mung beans. Mix well.

Serve hot as a side with rice of your choice or serve in a bowl as a soup with some crackers!

Enjoy !

I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday#22, Fiesta Friday # 103 and Saucy Saturdays. Angie's Fiesta Friday is being co-hosted by two of the very talented blogger friends, Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Cooking made easy:

I usually plan my meals the previous day and put the desired amount of dry beans in water either at night before I go to bed or early morning before I leave for work. But in case you forget or suddenly have an urge to make mung bean soup for dinner, just soak the mung beans in hot water for an hour , keeping the pot closed and cook it in the pressure cooker.

This soup can also be made in a slow cooker.

Tip for healthy living:

Taking a leaf from Dr. Martin Luther King's book, I am going to do something altruistic and share with you some myths regarding the flu that is prevalent during the winter.These are not my views.This was shared by Christian Pickard from Bankers Healthcare Group.

I would however emphasize that the best way to keep cold and flu at bay is by observing good hand hygiene! Wash your hands every time you touch something that you think is unclean. When you are outside do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Imagine that you are wearing a face-mask!

Food for thought:

Life's most persistent and urgent question is " What are you doing for others??" Dr. Martin Luther King

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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