Mung dal bites – Healthful Indian snacks

I have been sporadic in posting on this blog this past month. That is because I have been planning my sojourn to India, packing and arriving first at New Delhi and then at Chennai. I have many interesting stories to relate, but I first need to get this off my chest: Indian restaurants and eateries have exploded in numbers in both the cities I am visiting. There are all kinds of eating joints: small roadside carts (with dubious hygiene, so please avoid if you visit India), small restaurants (again, eat at your own risk), medium sized ones (a definite yes, you may find a gem), large, opulent, Maharajah style restaurants complete with turbaned waiters running to fulfill your every command, starched lily white tablecloths and napkins, wonderfully cooked meals, fabulous menus….India has become a gourmet delight in all respects.

Leaving aside all those eating places, my vote for the best eating place is at the place I am staying while in Chennai. It is at a home of a friend who has a full-time cook. The cook is a young woman called Ammu, who keeps complete control of the household kitchen. She comes in each morning to whip up delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Ammu’s cooking has the guests and family members charging in unseemly haste to the dining table in eager anticipation of every meal. Every dish that she makes is a gourmet delicacy that leaves one feeling completely content, replete and prosperous.

In the next few posts I plan to post some of her recipes. Here is a recipe from Ammu – a very healthy snack made of ground and roasted Mung beans. This is very easy to make and is absolutely delicious. Try it – it stores well unrefrigerated for over a week and is a great snack for your school going child.

Here is what you need:
3.5 cups green Mung beans with skin (great if you can get Mung flour, otherwise, powder the beans as fine as possible in your blender)
3 tbsp brown rice flour
1.5 cups powdered sugar (white or brown, your preference)
Scant 1 cup Ghee or olive oil
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup raisins
7 cardomoms (remove peel and powder fine)
pinch salt

Here is how you make this:
Heat and pan and dry roast the Mung flour and rice flour for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. Heat the pan again and add 5 tbsp ghee or oil. Fry the cashews golden brown and drain on a kitchen towel. Now add the raisins in the same oil. Fry until golden brown and set aside. Cool the cashews and raisins. Chop the fried cashews into small bite-sized pieces. Cut fried raisins in half.

To the roasted Mung flour, add the powdered sugar, powdered cardomom, salt, fried raisins and cashews. Mix thoroughly.

Heat the rest of the ghee or oil in a pan until slightly warm. Pour in a little at the time in the flour mix. Mix and shape into small balls. Set aside. Add more oil or ghee as needed and make the Mung bites until all the flour is used up.

Makes 50-60 Mung bites. Store in a tightly closed container for upto a week.

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