Ayurvedic Mung Bean Soup Recipe for Revitalising Detox
Updated: Jul 9
Whenever I feel like I’ve been over-indulging or I sense my digestion is sluggish, I turn to this revitalising mung bean soup to clear my system. It provides detoxification, restores gut health, and is an amazing and healthy way to loose weight. Read on for the full list of benefits.
Sometimes I stick to the recommended "dosage," eating the soup and veggies for breakfast lunch and dinner for a 3 days (I've never made the 5 days). Other times, like this week, I just eat the soup a couple of times a day and ensure the other meals I eat are very healthy and nutritious.
I first had a similar soup in Sri Lanka, my mother took me away to a yoga retreat for my 40th birthday. We turned up at the hotel feeling tired and hungry, and immediately ordered a beer (as you do at the start of a holiday) only to be told it was an alcohol-free centre. It was only then we discovered that it was full-on Ayurvedic detox retreat with very little (and not very good) yoga.
So we spent the next few days giggling our way through unexpected experiences: eating medicine that looked like a mix of hay and rabbit droppings; getting our boobs massaged in oil while sitting in front of a mirror; and having acupuncture in what looked like a morgue, with a long line of dead bodies with pins sticking out of them.
Our diet was restricted to our dosha requirements and most meals started with a runnier version of the mung bean soup (see picture below). But every buffet had an amazing array of foods we’d never tried before, and we ate very well: I specifically remember a delicious banana flower salad. After 5 days I lost about 4 kgs and felt lighter and healthier.
After the trip my mother kindly gifted me the book “Eat right for your body type” by Anjum Anand. It contained a mung bean soup recipe to remind me of our special retreat. All the recipes in the book are inspired by Ayurveda, and if you don't know already, you can do a quick quiz to work out which dosha you are. There are 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are based on your constitution. Your diet (among lots of other things) depends on which dosha you are.
Ayurveda stems from the ancient Vedic culture and is the science and study of establishing and maintaining physiological and psychological balance and wellbeing. In Sanskrit it means “The Science of Life”. This knowledge from the Vedics originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of All Healing.”
"Life (ayu) is the combination (samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond." ~Charaka
Back to the recipe... Anjum Anand said she got the soup recipe from Rebecca Kriese (an Ayurvedic practitioner), and she states it's very effective for removing toxins and stagnant food from the body, and is ideal for regenerating the digesting fire, reducing swelling and water retention, as well as cleansing the liver, gallbladder and vascular system. It helps you to lose weight and relieves digestive problems, bloating and body ache.
Now if that isn't a comprehensive list of benefits I don’t know what is.
I know that intermittent fasting and juice cleanses are very popular at the moment, and I wouldn't knock anything without trying it, but I also know that I do tend to get hangry so I prefer not to go down this route. Personally the mung bean soup gives me everything I need: I feel full, I know I am getting all the nutrients I need, and having done it lots of times, I really feel the benefits mentioned above.
The recommendation is to eat the soup for 3-5 consecutive days, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll be honest with you, on day three I do tend to struggle with the texture, so when that happens I stop - I've never made 5 days, but neither feel it's particularly necessary. Stir fry or steam some veggies on the side, and only eat when there is real hunger (something I always struggle with). If you wait until the previous meal is completely digested, then you are not interfering with the digestion process by adding more food. By doing this you will become more nourished and increase your digestive fire.
Some people prefer not to blend the soup, but I just recommend you try both ways. If you already know your dosha, you can go with the guidelines below, but if not, go with your preference. You will still get the healing effects.
(If you want to know your dosha there are some basic quizzes online you can do.)
As I am sure you can imagine I struggle to get my kids (and my husband) to eat this recipe, but you can always just sneak a bit into sauces and stews, such as my Chilli Bean recipe, without them realising.
Last point: the green mung is preferable to the yellow split mung, as the outer green skin is rich in minerals and has a cleansing action on the digestive tract.
Revitalising Mung Bean Soup
INGREDIENTS - makes 2-3 bowls
The Basic soup
100g mung beans (green)
½ tsp turmeric ground
1 litre water
¼ tsp asafoetida
Pinch of pepper
Rock salt to taste
Basic Tarka (flavoured Oil)
¾ Tsp cumin seed
¾ Tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ghee
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
¼ tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp ghee
½ tsp ground fennel (or to taste)
2 tsp ghee
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
¼ tsp garam masala or to taste
¾ tsp fresh lemon juice
Wash the mung beans thoroughly, then soak them either overnight or for at least 4 hours before cooking. Bring the beans and the fresh water to a gentle simmer, add the turmeric and simmer until soft (around 30-40 mins), adding more water if necessary.
Once the beans are cooked, heat the ghee (or butter) in a small saucepan, add the asafoetida
and allow to sizzle for 5 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and ginger (if using) and cook for 30 seconds until the seeds have darkened and become aromatic. Add the remaining spices, let them sizzle for 20 seconds and then stir them into the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for a further 2 minutes. Add rock salt to taste and serve warm with fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice (if you are vata).
Add some vegetables - spinach or other green leaves (with a little nutmeg) works well, or grated carrots are also very nutritious - and cook until done to your liking. You can also add a little coconut milk for a different flavour, but apparently this no longer works as a detox soup (but it definitely tastes good if making for the family).