Red Mung Beans Usali (Sundal)

Adzuki beans cooked with herbs and spices

Carrot is added to this traditional dish to increase nutrients and variety. Carrots are one of the richest vegetable sources of carotenoids which can be converted into vitamin A. They contain valuable amounts of antioxidants. Like all other legumes, red mung beans contain both protein and fibre in significant amounts and have a low GI, assisting in optimising blood sugar levels. It is an excellent snack for people with diabetes.

  1. Soak mung beans in plenty of water overnight. Drain. Place in a saucepan with 3 cups of water, cover partially and bring to boil. Cook until beans are soft but hold their shape (20-30 minutes). Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large saucepan heat oil and mustard seeds over medium heat. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add onion, garlic, chillies and curry leaves. Saute until onions are soft.

  3. Add cooked mung beans, carrot, salt, turmeric and coconut. Mix well and cook for about 2 minutes to combine flavours. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if mixture looks dry and starts to burn. Turn off heat.

  4. Stir in coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Serve as a side dish. It can also be eaten as a mid meal snack.

Tips and variations: 

  • Almost any combination of dry beans and vegetables can be used eg. chickpeas and dill or mung beans and grated red radish. 

  • Substitute 1 ½ cups of canned beans to ½ cup dry beans. 

  • Use less chillies if you like it mild or use whole chillies and discard before serving. 

Per serve: energy 712 kJ (170 cal); protein 9 g; fat 3 g; saturated fat 1 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 25 g; fibre 10 g; calcium 62 mg; iron 2.76 mg; sodium 396 mg

Serves 3


½ cup adzuki beans (red mung bean)


2 teaspoons peanut or extra virgin olive oil 

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

½ cup finely chopped (red) onion

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2-4 green chillies, chopped

8-10 curry leaves (optional)


½ cup grated carrot

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon grated fresh coconut

1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

2-4 teaspoons lemon juice