Mung Bean, Good for Health

Among traditional dishes of Korea are ones made with mung bean.

As a grain crop which contains protein, starch, glucose, vitamins, oil, mineral and various other nutritious elements, mung bean is conducive to improvement of human health. It has a good effect on blood circulating system and liver and helps neutralize poison.

Mung bean is introduced in Hyangyakgugupbang, a classic medical book of Korea published in the mid-13th century. This shows that the Koreans have cultivated mung bean and widely used it in both medical care and diet since before the period of the Koryo dynasty.

Typical dishes made with mung bean were jelly, jelly salad, pancake, sprouts, porridge, steamed cake, etc.

Mung-bean jelly is fragrant. It is made with yellow or blue mung bean, and jelly made with blue mung bean is considered to be better.

In particular, locals in North and South Hwanghae provinces had the custom of eating mung-bean jelly in summer. 

Water strained off jelly was often used for the treatment of debility and stomach troubles.

Mung-bean jelly salad, a favourite dish for spring, is made by mixing thin slices of mung-bean jelly, pork, parsley and laver with soy sauce and vinegar.

A fried flat circular piece of milled mung bean, mung-bean pancake, was served as a special dish for guests or as holiday food in the past.

The people in the Pyongyang area added lard and vegetables to the batter of mung-bean pancake. Mung-bean pancake, together with cold noodles and onban (boiled rice in meat soup), has been regarded as a special dish of the area from olden times.

Mung-bean sprouts were used as a subsidiary food.

As it contains vitamin A and B and various minerals, mung-bean sprouts are more nutritious than bean sprouts.

Mung-bean porridge is good for stimulating appetite and nourishing weak persons.

Tonguibogam, a classic medical book of Korea which published in the 16th century and dealt with the achievements made in Koryo medicine until then, writes that frequent eating of mung-bean porridge helps treat fever and prevent thirst.

Now, foodstuff factories produce health foods with mung bean, including fermented mung-bean drink.

The drink has a special effect on alcoholism, uremia, food poisoning and poisoning from agrochemicals. It is good for the treatment of inflammations of digestive system and kidney, diarrhea, indigestion and for the prophylactic treatment of fatty liver, arteriosclerosis, dermatitis, hives, eczema, allergic diseases, hepatitis, diabetes and cancer of the esophagus.

And its hull is used in making tea.

Pak Tong Chang, director of the Culinary Institute
under Pyongyang Jang Chol Gu University of Commerce

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