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Shortcut for Cooking Mung Bean

Grated or mashed, mung bean is an essential component in many Asian dishes and learning how to cook these beans properly is a fundamental skill for every cook to master.  The traditional way of cooking the mung bean is to steam the beans and then use a potato ricer to grate or mash the mung bean.  If you’ve done this, you know this process is really time-consuming and requires multiple kitchen tools.  Luckily, there is a much easier way thanks to an appliance that most of us already have in our homes, our beloved rice cooker!  You don’t need anything fancy.  My rice cooker is super basic and has just 2 settings: Cook and Keep Warm and it does a fantastic job.  The secret is all in the timing.  Time it right and you will have perfectly prepared mung bean every time!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

In my video, I mention that cooking mung bean (unlike rice) causes the water to bubble out of the rice cooker so I recommend using a tray or kitchen towel to catch the overflow.  Also, don’t fill to the rice cooker’s capacity or you will have one big watery mess.  For example, I have a 5-cup capacity rice cooker and so the most mung bean I’ll cook at one time is 2 cups of dry beans.  The more beans you put in the rice cooker the more water is displaced.  Because I have a rather small rice cooker, I have to add almost an additional cup of water about halfway through the cooking process because so much of it bubbles out.  (This may vary if you have a bigger rice cooker.)  So it’s best to make several small batches as per the recipe below.  It’s still faster than the traditional method and a little less guesswork if you’re not familiar with how your rice cooker handles the beans.  Good Luck!

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Make Perfect Rice Vermicelli (Bun) and How to Clean Banana Leaves.


1 cup peeled split mung bean
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt


Rinse mung bean several times with water until water is clear.  Allow to soak for at least 4 hours to soften the beans.  Overnight is best.

Rinse the beans one more time and drain well.  Put the beans into the rice cooker.  Add salt and water.  Use a spatula to spread the beans making an even layer in the rice cooker.  Set the rice cooker button to ‘Cook’.  After approximately 25 minutes, the button switches over to ‘Keep Warm’ and when it does, unplug the rice cooker right away.  (The beans will burn if you don’t act quickly and so set a timer if needed.) Using a flat spoon (the one that comes with the rice cooker works best), mash the beans until creamy and you no longer see the individual beans.  The beans should look like mashed potatoes.  This should take 2-3 minutes and so you’ll want to work quickly. It helps to rotate the inner pan around as you mash to make sure all the beans are evenly mashed.  Cover and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.

At this time, add sugar or salt depending on your needs for a sweet or savory mung bean.

If you need mung bean balls: Allow the beans to cool enough to handle but still warm.  Roll into balls.  Wet your hands if they get sticky from rolling the balls.

If you need grated mung bean: While the mung bean is still hot, scoop out one half of the mung bean and place on a piece of plastic wrap.  Shape the mung bean into a small log and then cover with plastic wrap.  Repeat the process making another log so you have a total of 2 logs.  Allow the mung bean to cool completely, approximately half an hour.  After the logs are cooled, remove from plastic and grate using a cheese grater.

Yields:  1 1/2 cups mashed mung beans

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2 Responses to Shortcut for Cooking Mung Bean

  1. Brent Wright November 20, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Hi Trang,

    Love your site, your a food angel for what you’re providing here! I was curious about the seasoning step for the mung bean, specifically, shall I season to taste, or is there a measurement rule to be observed? Also, how should the final product be stored and what’s the shelf-life for the finished product? I would imagine that the balls save longer than the grated bean, am I wrong in this assumption?

    -Brent W.

    • Trang November 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      Hi Brent, you can definitely season to taste. There’s no special rule. I typically make several batches and freeze for later use in a variety of sweet or savory dishes and so keep the seasoning neutral. Regarding storage, refrigerate all uneaten portions and consume within the week. You can freeze both the balls and the grated bean. I put them in re-sealable plastics bags. Both are good for up to 3 months. To defrost, thaw at room temperature for a few hours or use your microwave’s defrost function. Hope that helps!

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