Homemade Mung Bean Flour (gluten free, vegan, high protein)

I normally don't use a lot of bean flours in my baking.  Although I love garbanzo beans and fava beans in their whole form, I think that their flours too easily dominate the flavor of a baked good, especially if you are trying to achieve a delicate or sweet flavor.  I decided I wanted to try bean flours made from other beans to see how the intensity of flavor would vary.  I really wanted to get my hands on some mung bean flour.  Mung beans are one of my favorite beans, and having read about mung bean flour online, but unable to find it in any stores around Minneapolis, I decided I would make it myself.  I've ground my own grains, nuts, and seeds for flours before, but never tried making homemade bean flours.  Hooray!  I love a new kitchen adventure.   

If you eat beans, but haven't yet ventured into the wonderful world of mung beans, you must!  Mung beans are used in many ways in SE Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine.  They are soaked, ground and used for flatbreads.  They are sprouted and served raw.  They are processed into noodles.  They are peeled and split, and used to make

dal

,

where they take on a smooth, velvety buttery texture that is true comfort food.

   They are cooked whole with coconut milk to make a sweet soup.  They are mashed and used as fillings in sweet buns and desserts.  They are cooked plain and added to various rice dishes.  Quick cooking, full of protein, and easily digested, mung beans are considered to be an extremely healing and nourishing bean.  Because they are small, they are easier to digest than larger beans, and are recommended for cleansing the body of toxins.  In ayurvedic medicine, they are considered

tridoshic

, meaning people of every constitution can find nourishment in the mung bean.  And in Chinese medicine, mung beans are considered a cooling food, and are recommended for detoxification, clearing heat, reducing swelling and edema, and promoting urinary tract function.  

Dry mung beans can be purchased in a variety of ways.  Whole, they are bright green.  Or, you can purchase them split, where they take on the name

moong dal.  

 You can get

moong dal

 either with the skins still on and or peeled - once peeled, they are light yellow.  I love peeled

moong dal,

it is probably my favorite.

  I generally buy mung beans at the Asian markets, where they are cheapest.

I had about a cup each of whole mung beans and peeled 

moong dal

in my pantry, so I decided to go with what I had on hand, and use a mix.  Having read online that heat-treating the bean before grinding helps to make the flour more digestible (and lends a tasty roasted, nutty flavor!) I decided to roast the beans before grinding.   Then I cooled them, ground them, and ended up with a lovely flour!

I figure that a 1/4 c serving of mung bean flour packs a powerful 13 g of protein and 9 g of fiber - amazing! - with about 30 g of carbs, 180 calories, 3 g of sugar, and zero fat.  Additionally, it is high in iron, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.  Although it is higher in calories and carbs than grain flours, mung beans are considered a low glycemic food, and are perfect for people concerned about blood sugar spikes.  Using mung bean flour in combination with other flours is a great way to add extra protein, fiber, and healthy, slow-digesting carbs.

I immediately used my new flour to make an on-the-fly bread with quinoa flour, brown rice flour, grated carrots, and warm spices.  I was really pleased with how it performed.  The flavor is much more mild than garbanzo or garfava flour, with nutty quality from the roasting.  The flavor combined well with the other flours, and it added a great body and texture to the bread. Stay tuned for that recipe, and in the meantime, try making the flour!  

I'm hoping to try making flours from other beans as well - cannellini is next on my list, and I'm hoping to use that in something cookie or cakelike.  I'd love to hear your experience with making your own bean flours!  I think next time I will try soaking the beans first, then drying them, roasting them, and grinding them.  I know it would add much more time to the process, but soaking beans is an important part of proper preparation, something that I skipped over this time around.  More to come!

HOMEMADE MUNG BEAN FLOUR (gluten free, vegan, high protein)

yield: approx 2 1/4 c flour

Ingredients:

2 c mung beans (either whole or peeled and split, or a mix)

Equipment:

coffee grinder or high-power blender

ROASTING THE BEANS >>>

  1. Preheat oven to 400* F.  
  2. Spread beans evenly on baking sheet.  Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes until golden, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from oven and cool completely.

GRINDING THE BEANS >>>

  1. In a coffee grinder or high power blender, grind beans in batches.  I used a coffee grinder, and ground 1/2 c beans at a time.  
  2. Grind for approx 30 seconds, shaking beans in grinder to evenly mix.  
  3. Once your beans are ground to a fine powder, transfer to a large bowl, and grind the next batch.
  4. Once all your beans have been ground, let the flour cool (grinding warms it up!) and then transfer to an airtight container.  Store in a cool place.