Chances are, you’re familiar with mung bean noodles, some clear and some ghostly white, that can be found in abundance at Asian markets. I’ve always been fascinated with the simplicity of their ingredients list, which typically includes only mung beans and water. Making pasta at home has become somewhat of a hobby for me over this past winter, and I was determined to nail down this healthy, protein-rich mung bean version.
The first attempt, which involved just grinding mung beans into flour without sprouting them, resulted in pasta with too beany of a taste that I wasn’t satisfied with. I noticed long ago that sprouting grains and garbanzo beans improves the taste of the resulting flour, so I decided to sprout the mung beans for this pasta as well. My next attempt, made of sprouted flour, was much better and mild tasting, but included eggs, and I didn’t care for the texture.
When I was ready to give up the idea, I bumped into the possibility of using psyllium husks as a binder in gluten free pasta. I gave them a try and it turned out absolutely amazing – a nicely pliable, flavorful, freshly-made pasta, that is very light and gentle on your stomach, and quite easy to make once your flour is ready.
I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m pretty sure that other types of gluten free flours such as quinoa, buckwheat, etc. will work great in this recipe as well.
It may seem like a lot of work to make such flour at home, but in reality what you will mostly have to do is wait until beans sprout and dry. If the process is not for you, however, there are several companies that make sprouted flours and my latest favorite is Blue Mountain Organics. Our local health food store carries and array of their flours and they are not only delicious, but also less expensive than regular flour. For this post, I prepared the pasta with peas and spinach to celebrate spring, but it will work well with your favorite homemade tomato sauce or any other pasta toppings. Happy Spring!
Sprouted Mung Bean Pasta
adapted from here
1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
1 cup sifted sprouted mung bean flour (see below), plus more for rolling out pasta
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
2 tablespoons coconut oil – 1 tablespoon melted, divided
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
splash of canned coconut milk – optional
freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmesan – optional
1. Mix together psyllium husk powder and 4 tablespoons filtered water in a small bowl. Let thicken while mixing together dry ingredients.
2. Combine flours and salt in a large bowl, mix to combine. Make a well in the center, add 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, gelled psyllium husk and 4 tablespoons of water. Stir to combine with a fork as much as you can. The mixture will appear dry, but don’t add more water at this point. Begin working with your hands, mixing and kneading the mixture into slightly sticky (but not wet) dough. Add more water, one tablespoon at a time, if you find that it’s absolutely necessary, or more flour if dough seems too wet.
3. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, keep them wrapped to prevent drying.
4. Working with one portion at a time, roll out on a well floured surface into a paper thin thickness. Cut it into pasta of any desired shape using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife. Sprinkle with more flour to prevent from sticking (the same sprouted mung bean flour or brown rice flour will work great for rolling and dusting).
5. Divide the pasta into two equal portions. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook one portion of fresh pasta at a time for 2 minutes, until al-dente.
6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add half of the spinach, sprinkle with salt and stir to coat. Drain pasta reserving about 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Add pasta, 2 tablespoons of reserved liquid and splash of coconut milk (if using) to the pan with spinach, stir until spinach is wilted, for a minute or so. Add half of the peas, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, stir them in and remove from heat.
7. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan if desired.
Note: You can continue cooking the other portions of pasta in the same manner or keep the remaining dough wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Remove from refridgerator to warm up 15 minutes prior to rolling.
Sprouted Mung Bean Flour
1. Rinse 2 cups of mung beans and place them in a large bowl covered with filtered water, soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse again, cover with wet kitchen towel and leave to sprout. You should see white tails in 24-48 hours. Make sure to rinse every 8 hours and keep the towel damp. For the purpose of this flour, sprouts don’t need to be large and thick – tiny white tails will be sufficient.
3. When you are satisfied with the look of your sprouts, rinse them thoroughly, drain well and shake off water excess as much as possible. If you have a dehydrator, spread sprouted beans on mesh screen covered trays and dehydrate at 115 F until completely dry.
4. Alternatively, spread on a dry kitchen towel or paper towels and let dry for 24 hours, change towels to dry ones after the first 8 hours. Spread on a baking sheet and continue to dry in the oven at the lowest temperature for a couple of hours, until completely dry.
5. Grind into flour using a high speed blender, mill or coffee grinder (in batches). Sift through a fine mesh strainer.