Fried Mung Beans with Sesame

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 15 minutes with cooked beans

Super-simple, especially if you have cooked beans on hand. And because the beans are not at all soupy, you can use this as an ingredient to fortify other recipes like Fried Rice, Mashed Potatoes or the dough for Essential Flatbread; just fold in the cooked beans at the last minute. Be sure to cook the beans in a pan big enough to hold them without crowding so the skins crisp up a little and the beans don’t get mashed.

Other beans you can use: dried soybeans (white or black), kidney beans, and chickpeas.

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, plus more as needed

3 cups cooked mung beans, tender but still intact and drained until dry

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black are striking if you can find them)

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the beans and stir gently to coat with the oil. Cook without stirring until they begin to spatter and pop, a couple of minutes or more, depending on how wet they were to begin with. Shake the pan a bit to keep the beans moving and frying until the skins begin to color a bit and crisp, another 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the sesame seeds to the pan and use a spatula to toss them gently so that the beans are coated in the seeds. Add a couple more drops of oil if needed. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the chives, a little salt, and lots of pepper. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Variations

Fried Mung Beans with Mung Bean Sprouts. Sort of a warm salad: In Step 1, heat an extra tablespoon of oil in the skillet (be sure to use a pan with a lid). In Step 2, before you take the pan off the heat, stir in 2 cups mung bean sprouts, then cover the pan and take it off the heat. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or so, then add the chives, salt, and pepper. Add a few drops of rice wine vinegar if you like or a squeeze of lime juice. Toss with a fork, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Fried Mung Beans with Chile Paste. Hot as you like it: In Step 2, instead of adding the sesame seeds, try using a spoonful or two of Thai-Style Chile Paste or one of the other variations on that page. (You probably won’t need the salt and pepper.)

Fried Mung and Fermented Black Beans. In Step 1, heat an extra teaspoon of sesame oil in the skillet. When you add the sesame seeds in Step 2, add 1/4 cup fermented black beans. You won’t need much salt here.