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Mung Bean Balls with Pandan Leaf


Mung Bean Balls with Pandan Leaf

Mung Bean Balls with Pandan Leaf

These mung bean balls are somewhere between savory and sweet, and make a pleasant afternoon snack together with a cup of coffee or tea. Pandan leaf (or pandan paste) adds flavor and enhances the green color of the beans as they cook. The beans are then mashed and formed into balls which are rolled in a mixture of crushed pistachio nuts and toasted coconut. They're healthy, fun to make, and a terrific way to get the health benefits of beans in your diet.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 cup dried mung beans (available at Asian/Indian food stores)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can thick or good-quality coconut milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 pandan leaves, OR 1 tsp. prepared pandan essence/paste (available in tiny bottles at Asian food stores)
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened baking coconut (or unsweetened, if you prefer less sugar)
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachio nuts


  1. To cook the beans:

    If you have a slow-cooker: Simply place the beans, water, coconut milk, pandan leaves (or paste), and salt in your slow-cooker for several hours on "high". Stir occasionally.

    Microwave method: Soak the beans overnight. Then place in a microwave-proof bowl together with the water, coconut milk, pandan leaves (or paste), and salt. Cook on high for 20 minutes, or until beans are soft and all the liquid is gone.

    Stovetop Method: Soak beans overnight, then place them in a pot on the stove with the water, coconut milk, pandan leaves (or pandan paste), and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat, simmering until the beans are soft enough to mash and all liquid is gone. If beans are still too firm when all the liquid is gone, add more water until they are cooked and all liquid has been absorbed.

    Bean Cooking Tip: To release the "gas" from the beans, simply add a sprinkling (handful) of dried seaweed to the pot as you cook (e.g. nori, dulse, etc... - available at Asian or healthfood stores).

  2. Once beans are cooked, remove the pandan leaves (if using) from the beans and discard. (The seaweed, if using, can be left in for added nutrients). While still warm, add the sugar to the beans, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Mash beans with a potato masher, or beat with electric beater until smooth. Place in a bowl or other container and refrigerate until cold.
  4. When cold, the bean mixture should be like putty. Take a small amount in your hands and roll it into a small ball. Continue in the same way until all the bean mixture has been rolled. Place balls on the counter, or on plates. Alternatively, if the bean mixture is very firm, you can cut out diamond shapes.
  5. Place coconut in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat for several minutes, stirring constantly until most of the coconut has turned golden brown and is fragrant.
  6. Spread coconut on a plate together with the crushed nuts. Roll the balls in this mixture and place on a serving plate. If you have made diamonds, simply sprinkle the mixture on top.
  7. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or strong tea.

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