Well, the ingredients start green. I suppose it’s more greenish-brown once cooked. But “hey, would you like to try my greenish-brown soup?” will probably not get many answers in the affirmative.
If I correctly recall, the genesis of this soup was some endive that needed to be used up and somehow that morphed into adding whatever other green ingredients I could locate in my kitchen, which is how I chose mung beans and green bell pepper. I finished with my favorite seasoning combo of the moment, and here we are.
- olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ medium onion, finely diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
- ¾ cup mung beans
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon ground sumac
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
- 2½ cups chopped curly endive/frisée
- 3 tablespoons white basmati rice
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pot with oil. Add the garlic, onion, and green pepper. Sweat for 5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the beans, broth, and spices. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 to 1¼ hours, until the beans are soft.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Add the endive and rice. Simmer until the rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Serve.
In keeping with the green theme, my first trials of this soup used bamboo rice, which is short-grained rice that has been soaked in bamboo juice to give the rice a green color. I then ran out of the rice and couldn’t find more at the store. And I didn’t want to wait to order more online because I wanted to get this recipe finished for you. So I switched to basmati. Check it out if it interests you though. It is very pretty.
Mung beans, like lentils, do not require soaking before cooking, making them good for spur of the moment dishes. Look for them in Asian grocery stores. Or online. Or if you’re thinking “Kalinda, we both know this soup is already brown,” go ahead and substitute lentils.
Sumac is a spice commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a tangy lemony taste. Look for it at specialty spice shops (I found mine at Penzey’s) or again, online.
The rice will continue to absorb the broth. If you’re planning on cooking it longer or reheating leftovers the next day, plan to add more liquid. Or enjoy a beans and rice dish instead of a soup.