Monday, June 21, 2010

Mung Bean Soup (Monggo Guisado)

Filipinos are not big on pulses. By that I mean dried beans are not that prominent in Philippine gastronomy. We prefer to use legumes/beans fresh rather than dried. But one common pulse dish that is found all over the country is Monggo Guisado (Mung Bean Soup). Different regions have different versions, of course, and this is mine.

Before we move further I think I need to explain what guisa/gisa/guisado is. It is the Filipino cooking style of sauteing garlic, onion, and/or tomato in oil to form the base of a lot of its dishes. I say "and/or tomato" as it is sometimes not required. Ginger, lemongrass, and chillies are also added to vary the base but most if not 100% of the time garlic and onions are present.

I couldn't help but compare this with the Subcontinent's dal/dahl/dhal. The name refers to both the pulse (dried lentils, peas or beans) and the cooked pulse dish which has very similar qualities to the monggo guisado. With that in mind I use the Indian cooking technique called chaunk or tarka (please follow the link for a detailed explanation) to differentiate my version from the rest. It's more for convenience rather than radical innovation on my part that is why I chose to do it this way.

Mung bean is tough and needs to be boiled in water before it can be used. rather than taking out another large pot to cook my soup I keep the softened mung bean in its original pot and make my Pinoy version of the tarka (sauteed garlic, onion and tomato) in a small frying pan instead. I then pour it in the same pot to simmer for a few more minutes.

I add some home made chicharon and chilli leaves as final touches to this much loved soup.

Monggo Guisado (Mung Bean Soup)

1/2 cup dried mung beans
2 cups water (to soften the beans)
Chicken stock
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/2 cup minced meat (chicken or pork) or prawns
Chilli leaves (or some spinach)
Chicharon (pork crackling)
A bit of oil for sauteing
Fish sauce or sea salt to taste

1. Begin by boiling the mung beans in water until they're soft. Add more water as needed.
2. Once you're happy with the softness of the beans add just enough chicken stock to the soup consistency you prefer. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer while you prepare your tarka.
3. If you're using meat brown it in some oil then set aside.
4. Otherwise, start preparing your Pinoy tarka by heating up a bit of oil in a small pan. saute the garlic until golden brown.
5. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent.
6. Add the tomatoes and cook until virtually all the moisture has disappeared.
7. Add the pre-cooked meat or the prawns and cook for another minute or so.
8. Pour the mixture in the pot of the softened mung bean. Simmer for another five minutes. Adjust the taste using fish sauce or salt.
9. Add the chilli leaves and the chicharon.
10. Serve hot with some adobo/fried fish and steamed rice.


Edik said...

i always love monggo! with dried fish. with coconut milk. with sugar. wow. sarap.

The Beancounter said...

very versatile nga Edik ang monggo... sweet or savoury it works!

thanks for dropping by pare!

Ziggy said...

once i brought this soup in the office and the Indians were very interested with this "lentil". they scooped it with their naans. their fingers tasted good i should say.

The Beancounter said...

love lentils and naan! i'm not vegetarian but there's one Indian vegetarian place in Brisbane i never fail to visit every time i'm in the area...

Tangled Noodle said...

Thanks so much for this! My husband loves a variety of beans, so it's rather shameful that I haven't made this classic Filipino dish. I will have to make up for it. 8-)

diyowel said...

sarap ng chicharon!

The Beancounter said...

Do try it TN! You can make this full vegetarian if you like...

The Beancounter said...

Indeed diyowel!

Aiye said...

Mung beans soup so delicious...ulam namin kahapon yan.

The Beancounter said...

@Aiye - monggo makes regular appearance in our kitchen as well...thanks for dropping by!