Hearty Vegan Mung Bean Curry

When you think of mung beans and okra, you don’t immediately think of decadence. You might think of healthy, nourishing, and maybe if I’m honest, a bit boring. But, okra and mung beans are a remarkable pair in this creamy, indulgent Mung Bean and Okra Curry that comes together in a snap.

Since I’m in Thailand— a country known for its spicy curries, I figured it would be a good idea to take advantage of some of the local ingredients, and come up with a mouthwatering curry recipe. Mung beans are easy to find here in Thailand, and the same can be said about coconut milk and ginger!

mung bean curry

🧐 What Are Mung Beans?

Mung beans are small, green, and round little beans much like other legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, and so on. They’re packed with nutrients and have a delicate and versatile flavor, making them a popular choice for all sorts of dishes.

You can add them to soups to make them more filling (like I’m doing here), but you can also use them to make a delicious curry with vegetables and spices. In fact, this is how they’re used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine.

If you’re looking for a tasty and nutritious ingredient to add to your cooking, mung beans are a perfect choice! They’re easy to find at your local grocery store and are tremendously versatile, ideal for everyday cooking.

🗒️ Ingredients You’ll Need

Although I’ve been getting inspiration from whatever ingredients I can find in Thailand, that doesn’t mean you can’t find them in North America or Europe. You should be able to find all of the ingredients in this recipe, and they shouldn’t be unaffordable— in fact, they should also be pretty cheap to get, maybe apart from okra.

mung bean curry ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious curry (they’re ordered by use):

  • Vegetable oil (can be olive oil, coconut oil, or even sunflower oil);
  • Onion, garlic, and ginger;
  • Curry powder, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala;
  • Red chili pepper (optional if you can’t handle the spice);
  • Boiling water or vegetable broth (depends on whether or not you want extra flavor);
  • Crushed tomatoes;
  • Full-fat coconut milk;
  • Okra;
  • Mung beans;
  • Fresh Coriander (also optional in case you wish to garnish the curry)
  • Lime (Also optional).

It seems like they’re one too many ingredients, but you’ll realize during the recipe that it’s a pretty easy recipe to replicate.

I’ve got a pretty small kitchen with very few utensils here in Thailand, which makes it quite challenging for more elaborate recipes, but this one is easy peasy!

You only need the basics!

👨🏻‍🍳 How To Make This Mung Bean Curry Recipe

To start making this recipe, you’ll need first to gather the ingredients I’ve just mentioned, and I would suggest placing them somewhere you can see them in case you forget to add any of them.

mung bean curry

Finely dice onions, garlic, and ginger.

The first step of this recipe is to finely dice your onions, garlic, and ginger and sauteé them in hot oil for about 2 minutes until they’re fragrant. Feel free to add in the red chili pepper if you want your curry to be spicy.

preparing the curry

Add the spices.

Then, add the spices and cook for about 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

This is the foundation of the curry as it gives our recipe its characteristic flavor. I’ve used curry powder, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala, which combined with the onion, garlic, and ginger is super flavorsome.

add the spices

Deglaze with hot water.

The next step is to add hot water followed by a can of crushed tomatoes and fresh okra, allowing them to cook for 10-15 minutes or until they get acquire a softer consistency.

I personally like my okra a bit crunchy, so I typically add the other ingredients a bit earlier.

deglaze with water, and then add the tomatoes and okra

Add coconut milk and mung beans.

Next, you’re going to add the full-fat coconut milk and the mung beans and cook them, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until the curry has thickened.

You want a thick and creamy consistency that is somewhat shiny. At this point, I also add half a teaspoon of salt.

adding coconut milk and mung beans

Garnish with fresh herbs and lime juice. 

Finally, you can add a bit of lime juice and coriander to taste. Adjust the salt if needed.

Now you’ve got a delicious meal that is very filling, delicious, and pretty fragrant.

don't forget the salt

What To Consider When Making This Recipe

Do not skip the onion, garlic, ginger, and spices. This is what makes this dish flavorful, so skipping one or more of these ingredients may result in a more boring dish.

My wife doesn’t really like spicy food, so I also tend to omit the chili peppers, but I also would recommend adding them if you enjoy spicy food. They certainly bring the dish to another level! Depending on your tolerance, you can either consume chili peppers with or without seeds. If you leave the seeds, it’s going to be extra spicy.

If you’re unable to find any fresh ginger, you can also use ground ginger. You just have to substitute 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric and add it with the other ground spices. Also, because I’m often traveling, I only have very basic kitchenware, but if you’ve got a microplane or a small cheese grater, it’s definitely something I would use to mince the ginger.

It isn’t always, but assuming that bought coconut milk in a can— sometimes the coconut milk is not mixed well, so you have a very solid cream on top and liquid on the bottom. I would recommend pouring the milk into a large bowl and whisking it to break up the clumps. That’ll make it easy to stir the milk in the curry.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the cooking time may vary slightly based on the type of pan you use for the curry, as well as the ingredient quantity. If you’re aiming for fewer servings, I would use a wide, shallow pan, but if you want more portions, use a deep soup pot or Dutch oven.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use canned mung beans instead of dried ones?

Yes, you’re free to use canned mung beans. If you use canned mung beans, you can basically skip the step of soaking and boiling the beans, which basically speeds up the recipe.

Can I use frozen okra instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use frozen okra, but be sure to thaw it first before adding it to the curry.

Also, keep in mind that you may have to adjust the cooking time as it may take longer for the okra to cook.

How spicy is this recipe?

This recipe is not very spicy because I’ve only included one chili pepper, which I think is a good measure for anyone that doesn’t like their food too spicy.

However, you can make it spicier or not spicy at all by simply adjusting the number of chili peppers.

What are some optional additions or substitutions I can make to this recipe?

You can add other vegetables like carrots or bell peppers, or you can even substitute okra with eggplant or green beans.

In other words, there are many changes you can do to this recipe in case you don’t like some of the ingredients or don’t have them available.

How should I serve this curry?

You can serve this curry over rice or with flatbread such as naan. You can also serve it as a side dish to accompany other main dishes.

Can you refrigerate or freeze this curry?

Yes, you can store this curry in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Or you can store it in a freezer-friendly container for up to 1 month.

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vegan mung bean curry

Hearty Vegan Mung Bean Curry

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  • Author: Alexandre Valente
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan mung bean and okra curry is decadent, and if you let it, deliciously spicy. It’s easy and quick, making it a perfect weeknight dinner! Plus, it’s made entirely vegan and gluten-free!


Units Scale
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (finely diced)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (finely diced)
  • 2 tsps curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 chili pepper (optional)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 400 grams crushed tomatoes (canned)
  • 200 grams fresh okra (chopped)
  • 400 ml full-fat coconut milk
  • 250300 grams mung beans
  • fresh coriander (to taste)
  • 1/2 lime juice (optional)


  1. Heat a large, deep skillet or large saucepan over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Can be olive oil, coconut oil, or even sunflower oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and the red chili pepper if you want a spicy curry. Let it cook for 2 minutes while stirring to prevent burning.
  2. Add the curry powder, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala, and cook for 30 to 60 seconds until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent the spices from burning.
  3. Pour in the hot water, and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add in the crushed tomatoes and the fresh okra, allowing it to cook for 10-15 minutes until it’s relatively soft.
  4. Add the coconut milk, mung beans, and half a teaspoon of salt. Continue stirring to fully incorporate the coconut milk into the curry, and let it cook for an extra 10-15 minutes until you get a thick, creamy, and shimmering consistency.
  5. Finally, stir in the coriander, and turn off the heat. If you want your mung beans to be even creamier and more on the puréed side, use an immersion blender to lightly purée the curry. An option is also to add a bit of lime juice, particularly if the curry is on the spicier side.
  6. Serve the curry with rice and/or Indian naan. If you’ve got leftovers, feel free to store them in the fridge for a maximum of 4 days.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below detailing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

mung bean curry

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