This recipe is from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food," by Mark Bittman (Wiley, $35).
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, plus more as needed
3 cups cooked mung beans, tender but still intact and drained
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black are striking, if you can find them)
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the beans, and gently stir to coat with the oil. Cook without stirring until they begin to spatter and pop, a couple of minutes or more, depending on how wet they were to begin with.
Shake the pan a bit to keep the beans moving and frying until the skins begin to color a bit and crisp, another two to three minutes. Add the sesame seeds to the pan, and use a spatula to gently toss them so the beans are coated in the seeds. Add a couple more drops of oil if needed. Remove from the heat, and carefully stir in the chives, a little salt and lots of pepper.
Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.
Fried mung beans with mung bean sprouts: Heat an extra tablespoon of oil in the skillet (be sure to use a pan with a lid).
Before you take the pan off the heat, stir in 2 cups mung bean sprouts, then cover the pan, and take it off the heat. Let the mixture rest for five minutes or so, then add the chives, salt and pepper. Add a few drops of rice wine vinegar if you like or a squeeze of lime juice.
Toss with a fork, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve.
Fried mung beans with chili paste: Instead of adding the sesame seeds, try using a spoonful or two of chili paste. (You probably won't need the salt and pepper.)
Fried mung and fermented black beans: Heat an extra teaspoon of sesame oil in the skillet. When you add the sesame seeds, also add ¼ cup fermented black beans. You won't need much salt here.Note: Black sesame seeds are available at Indian markets.