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Monday, 2 July 2012

Hangover Helper, Helper: (Sprouted Moong beans and an ex-boyfriend's aunt...)


So…

A big thank you to all the lovely people who dropped me a line, wishing me a speedy recovery from “The Dreaded Hangover.”

It was awful, awful, awful, and I spent all Sunday truly besieged by the particular exquisite pain that is so characteristic of the hangover (and nothing else on earth.)

But – I’m happy to report that I’m much better now, thanks!

Owing, in no small part to the old-fashioned (but highly effective) Hangover Helper. Because – as I just remarked to a reader who having spent a similar Sunday with TDH (you poor thing!) sent me a note in empathy – there’s nothing that 250g of deep-fried carbs won’t cure.

Because 250g (and not 1g less) of deep-fried carbs later, life seems worth living again.

There’s a catch though.
(There always is)

And this is it:

The guilt from the excessive consumption of alcohol has been annulled, most effectively, by the excessive consumption of the deep-fried carbs.

So far, so good.

But now, I am awash with the guilt from the excessive consumption of the deep-fried carbs.

It’s a damn vicious cycle, it is.

It gets worse actually. Because in addition to consuming all 250g (and not 1g less) of the deep-fried carbs, I have also consumed, (solo) 4 whole avocados. Gulp.
And now I am consumed with Guilt.

I'm positively giddy with the stuff.

In fact, I feel so much Guilt that I don’t know if this new Guilt is actually greater than the original Guilt.
What came first? The Chicken or The Egg?

And thus, having no answer to the eternal riddle posed above, it is my considered opinion that in situations such as these, you simply can’t win.

But, with some lateral thinking, you can fool yourself into thinking you have.

And how you can accomplish this great act of horizontal contemplation, is simply by following my recipe for the Hangover Helper, Helper.

Guaranteed to hereby and henceforth terminate all Guilt.
New and Old.
So, no more vicious cycles, my friends.
Only virtuous ones.

And before you start to feel the faintest strains of scepticism creep in, believe me when I say that this wonderful superfood is not a myth. Instead, it’s a sprouted Moong bean salad with corn and peanuts.
Perfectly delicious
and
Perfectly virtuous
You’ve got to try this dish guys – trust me, it ain’t that often that you find so incongruous a combination on one plate.

See, Moong bean sprouts are insanely good for you.
Low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, they are a great source of fibre, Vitamins B and C and K, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium and other miscellaneous elements and minerals from the Periodic Table.
(And that's all I know - I was rubbish at Chemistry)

Corn, sweet and husky, has similar health benefits – low in saturated fat and cholesterol; high in fibre, and Vitamin B. And it's tasty to boot.

And finally peanuts. Peanuts are the darling of most nutritionists (don’t eat chips, they shriek, eat nuts!) and for good reason too. See, just a handful of peanuts a day fulfill most quota’d levels of vitamins, minerals, proteins and anti-oxidants you need!

Phew. That’s the three most boring sentences in this post, done.
Boring. But necessary.
Because it’s important to know the virtues of each ingredient in this 3-ingredient dish. So you begin to appreciate that when put together – this dish is more virtuous than Virtue herself.

And because I’ve just bored you senseless, let me make it up (because I’m nice like that) and tell you something interesting:

I was taught this recipe by the sweet-natured aunt of an ex-boyfriend.

No, no – the ex-boyfriend is not what makes it interesting.
Sadly, the ex-boyfriend failed to hold my interest for too long. But that’s fairly obvious I think, because if he had (held my interest, that is), he wouldn’t be prefixed by the sorry little "ex" now, would he?

So no.

On a far from related note, what does make this recipe interesting is that I didn’t think it would be interesting, back when I was taught it by the sweet-natured aunt of the ex-boyfriend.

To be fair, I wasn’t really “taught” it.
She just happened to be making it once when I and the exbf were visiting.
And to be perfectly honest, at first blush, the whole thing seemed rather ho-hum.
Moong beans
Corn
Peanuts
Yawn

But I had barely tasted my first proper mouthful when I sat bolt upright in my chair, gobmacked by the flavour explosion inside my mouth.

It was glorious, guys. And even more so because I didn’t expect it to be.
And it was precisely this – this element of surprise, this unanticipated “aha,” which is what made it memorable.

Because it was the perfect example of how a dish with three ingredients – and that too, the most basic and commonplace of ingredients – can be great. For the simple reason that no matter what it is you’re making, it’s the clever interlacing of flavours and textures and spices that makes a truly exceptional dish.

And that it was…

And so of course I asked her how she made it, and of course she told me, and of course I have made it many times since.

Of course, of course, of course.

And as it is with these things, every time I make it, I can’t help but think of her.

Which is no bad thing, because she was really quite lovely – one of those soft-spoken, sweet women who never have a bad thing to say about anyone.
Soooo unlike me…
(Just Kidding. I am the Goddess of soft-spoken sweetness…)

Anyway, sadly, things didn’t work out with the ex-boyfriend.
You see, I’m high maintenance when it comes to Love. I need someone who knocks me off my feet and leaves me breathless.
And after searching high and low, when I found the one person who did, I married him right away.

The ex-boyfriend didn’t. Knock me off my feet and leave me breathless that is. Not marry the one who did. (Just clarifying)

But that he had a sweet-natured aunt can’t be denied.
Come to think of it, the hardest part about breaking up with him, was breaking up with his family. The lot of them were rather nice.

It’s rather a hard one, that, isn’t it?
When the family is right and the guy is wrong.
Or when the guy is right and the family is wrong.

Which one’s worse I wonder…
What do you think?

I wouldn't know. I lucked out on both counts. 
It turns out, I am also the Goddess of Flattery.

Anyway, while you chew upon one of life’s truly great mysteries, here’s what you need:

- 1cup Whole Green Moong beans (yields 4 cups sprouted)
- 1 ear of corn
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin powder
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch sugar
- Salt, to taste
- Roughly chopped fresh coriander

Here’s how you do it:

First you need to sprout the Moong beans which takes a day or so. So, fortunately or unfortunately, this isn't an impulse dish.

Anyway, first wash the beans well and soak them in water overnight. In the morning, drain all  the water and place the soaked beans in a thin dish-towel or cheesecloth. Place the cloth with the Moong beans inside a container for at least half a day. If most of the beans have not sprouted, keep them for a little longer until they have. Each Green Moong grain should have softened to the consistency of a fresh green pea. Though, after attempting this dish loads of times, I’ve found that it actually adds quite a nice textural variation if not all of the Moong beans have sprouted – so some are soft (and sprouted) and others are hard and crunch to the bite. But it’s all personal preference, so if you prefer not to have any hard bits at all, simply leave them to soak for a bit longer, sprinkling more water and mixing through, if needed.

Once you have the sprouted beans, the rest is a simple affair.

Grill the corn in the oven or on top of an open flame until the kernels are popped and golden. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan on medium heat. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Now, add in the chopped onion and cook till the onion softens and turns translucent.

Mix in the kernels of grilled corn and the sprouts. Sprinkle the salt, sugar, ground cumin and lemon juice and mix well. Finish off with fresh coriander leaves.

This is a wonderful dish guys: a beautiful balance of sweet and sour and salt; ripe, smoky corn; warm, nutty, buttery peanuts; the sprouted Moong beans lending texture, adding unexpected crunch.

Simple and subtle and sublime, this dish will leave you feeling positively giddy.
But in a decidedly guilt-free and virtuous sort of way!

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