Mung Beans shine in this beautiful salad.
There is a thing about your own cooking that embodies your preferences, and they were built from childhood food experiences, your culture, your climate and your food journey through life. So, like it or not, cooking is not formulaic. You twist and turn while following a recipe. You massage it here and there. You add and subtract. You compensate and accentuate. And you cook something that is pleasing to you and to those you love.
So it is with Ottolenghi. I love his recipes, but there are some things that don’t suit my preferences – or my climate. Although he does really well internationalising his dishes, unlike Nigel Slater who unashamedly cooks for an English audience, some things jar with me. For example, his over use of feta when it is not needed to enhance the dish is perhaps a fashion thing. Or maybe to enhance the visuals. Or perhaps the feta is betta in London. Or maybe it is just my preference to use only small amounts.
This recipe is great. I so love the way the carrots are cooked, almost a la Grecque style. The lentils are rich in flavour, and the feta, the bit that I did use, provided a lovely tangy contrast to the lentils and carrots.
I did twist and turn a little with the recipe, because Mung Beans are not “stuck in the 1970’s” for me, as the book claims. They are part of my kitchen staples, and I so often make Mung Soup (so easy) and also a range of dishes using Mung Dal (the split mung beans). But the twists and turns were mainly in technique, not in ingredients, although I was tempted to add mustard seeds to the tadka. I didn’t because of the feta. But next time I will leave the feta off and add mustard seeds, and perhaps some ajwain too.
Similar dishes include Honey Roasted Carrots with Citrus Juice and Yoghurt Sauce, Glazed Carrots with Cumin and Ginger, and Carrots and Peas with Green Coriander.
Are you looking for other mung bean dishes? Browse our collection. You will find the recipes for Mung Soup, Mung Salads, and other delights there. Both whole mung beans and split mung dal are included. They both taste so different that it is hard to believe that they are the same lentil. Or explore our Carrot Salads here, and all Carrot recipes here and here.
Or perhaps you are an Ottolenghi fan? Browse our collection of Ottolenghi recipes.
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