Ginisang Munggo (Mung Bean Stew)

One of the many unforgettable memories of my childhood growing up in Baguio City was playing with an improvised “blowgun,” using a thick plastic straw as the tube weapon and dry mung beans as the projectiles.  I would put a handful of mung beans into my mouth as I poise to blow them — in rapid fire — toward my “enemies.” It was a favorite game that my neighbors and I would constantly play during our summer vacation from school.

Munggo, as they are called in the Philippines, are a very good source of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. They are also low in fats. Ginisang munggo, or sauteed mung bean,  is a popular and inexpensive dish in many parts of the Philippines. It is cooked in many different ways — as a stew or soup — and mixed with a range of ingredients such as shrimp, pork and spinach leaves.  My favorite version comes with pork rinds (chicharones). You can cook them according to your preferred taste –from bland to salty to spicy, and it is certainly best, as always, to eat them with steaming white or brown rice.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup dry mung beans

3 oz baby spinach

1/3 cup cooked pork chop, sliced into small cubes

1 1/2 oz package of crispy pork rinds (chicharones)

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into small cubes

7 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped

6 -10 cups water, depending on how much broth you want to have

2-3 tbsp fish sauce, depending on how much water you use

1 tbsp canola oil

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large sauce pot, combine mung beans, garlic and 6 cups water and bring to a boil.

Continue cooking until beans become tender and start to break out.  Add more water as needed.

In a medium wok,  heat the canola oil and saute the onions.

Add the pork chop and fish sauce and cook for about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the wok into the sauce pot. Bring to a boil.

(Make sure not to let the mung beans go dry.  Keep on adding water to achieve the amount of broth you want. You may also want to adjust the amount of salt & pepper, or fish sauce, that you use, depending on how much water is used)

Add in the pork rinds and reduce heat. Simmer

Add salt and pepper to taste before adding spinach leaves.

Cover the pot with lid and turn off the heat, allowing the steam from the broth to cook the spinach.

(Makes 6-8 servings)

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