Thelma is a Filipino expat living in Germany. She cooks Filipino comfort food when she is missing or craving her traditional childhood food.
What Are Monggo Beans?
Monggo beans, also known as mongo or mung beans, are small green beans that belong to the legume family. They originated in India and were also cultivated in China and other parts of Asia, including the Philippines. Highly nutritious, these beans are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
Monggo beans can be cooked in many different ways. They are frequently used in soups, with or without coconut milk. They can be boiled and used as a filling for cakes and cookies. They can also be germinated to produce sprouts, which are used in salads or as fillings for spring rolls or lumpia.
The recipe I'd like to share here, monggo bean soup, is a common Filipino comfort food. It is usually made with moringa leaves and pork chops, but in this recipe I've substituted bacon for the pork chops.
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4 to 6 servings
- 1 cup monggo beans, soaked overnight
- 1 to 2 liters water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 100 to 200 grams bacon, thinly sliced or cubed
- 1 onion, cubed
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 small ginger roots, sliced
- 1 tomato, cubed
- 1 handful dried or fresh moringa leaves
- Salt, to taste
- White pepper powder, to taste
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- Wash the soaked monggo beans. Cook them in a deep pot with 1 liter of water over moderate heat until the beans are tender. Add more water if the pot begins to dry out.
- Meanwhile, in another deep pot, heat the vegetable oil and add the bacon. Saute until the bacon is golden brown. Remove the cooked bacon from the pot, but retain the bacon grease.
- In the pot with the bacon grease, saute the onions and the garlic until the onions are glassy or translucent.
- Add the ginger and tomato to the pot. Saute for a few minutes.
- Add the cooked monggo beans, including the cooking water, to the pot (you can add more water if you'd like). Simmer for a few minutes until the soup comes to a boil.
- Add the moringa leaves. Mix well.
- Add the cooked bacon to the soup. Add salt (if needed) and pepper powder to taste.
- Add the spring onions and stir. Remove the pot from the stove.
- Serve with boiled rice or bread of your choice.
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If you don't have access to all of the ingredients, or if you'd prefer to not to use something in particular, here are some possible substitutions.
- Dried moringa leaves: Fresh moringa leaves, kang kong (water spinach), spinach, bitter melon (bitter gourd) leaves
- Bacon: Smoked pork meat, pork chops, pork belly
- Spring onion: Parsley
Tips and Techniques
- Soaking the monggo beans overnight will decrease the time it takes to make the beans tender.
- If you are a garlic lover, feel free to add more garlic than I have indicated.
- Smoked pork belly is a delicious alternative to bacon.
- When it comes to the moringa leaves, fresh is better than dried. If you have access to fresh moringa leaves in your supermarket, I strongly recommend using fresh. I use dried leaves because I can't get fresh leaves here in Germany, where I now live. I sun-dried the leaves myself when I last visited the Philippines, and then I brought them back with me to Germany.
- Some of my Filipino friends use bitter melon or bitter gourd leaves instead of moringa leaves.
- Kang kong (water spinach) or spinach are both alternatives to moringa leaves.
- If you wish, you can add coconut milk to this soup. This is a delicious variation.
- If you'd like to make this a vegetarian soup, you can easily do so. Just use homemade or store-bought vegetable broth.
Thank you very much for reading. I hope you enjoy this soup.
© 2019 Thelma Alberts