Whoa! There it is, in all it’s shockingly green wonderfulness.
If I just saw that picture and post title on someone else’s blog, I would think two things:
- It’s veryvery green.
- Monggo, Mung, Malunggay? Way too scary.
If this is any comfort to how you might be feeling, Bjork was watching me take pictures of this green mess and he said with a crinkled nose, “What is that again?” So no, you’re not the only one wondering what this craziness is all about. PS. He might not want me to tell you this, but he ate it and totally loved it. Psh, boys.
Today I’m gonna get all y’all excited about some delicious green international food. Yeah? Let’s do it.
Starting with the monggos.
Monggos are the same thing as mung beans. They are widely used in Asian countries and they cook almost exactly like lentils. LENTILS! My favorite! And something you can almost for surely buy wherever you live. Whether you use lentils or monggo (mung) beans, you’ll pretty much turn into a walking picture of health. These little guys are your friend.
Now these beauties. These are malunggay leaves.
Malunggay leaves a new to me – and apparently they’re like the world’s best superfood. Of course I learn this just a few weeks before leaving the land full of malunggay. But I haven’t been living with my head under a rock or anything.
If you are cooking in a place that doesn’t have malunggay leaves available, just use fresh baby spinach. Chop it up and use it in the exact same way. It’ll be almost the same except the little malunggay leaves are 200 times cuter than spinach could ever be.
A reader actually commented on my post about the market and asked suggested trying a recipe with kamungay, but when I asked for some help finding it, the guy at the grocery store told me that kamungay is the same as malunggay. Is that right? Anyways, thank you Melissa for inspiring me to go find something new even if I ended up with something that starts with a different letter.
So now that you know about monggo beans and malunggay, let’s talk about what this tastes like.
The main flavors here are coconut milk, garlic, ginger, and onion. The creaminess comes from the coconut milk but also the monggos, because as they cook the skins start to fall off, and some of the the beans sort of just dissolve into the soup. The fresh malunggay gets stirred in and the end because Melissa told me to. And it’s fresh and yummy.
This is going to be weird, but I cannot tell you how much this is like comfort food to me. Not because I am so familiar with monggos, but because it’s like a hot, creamy, flavorful gravy sauce that’s just gets soaked up and mixed in with the rice. I love that kinda stuff.
I have a confession that I feel really guilty about. I did add a little curry paste to this which is totally not authentically Filipino, but I couldn’t resist. I looked from the brand new jar of yellow curry paste, to the pot of boiling monggos, to the sauteing onions and garlic and ginger, back to the curry paste, back to the monggos… and suddenly my house smelled like curry. I loved it and regretted it all at the same time.
When I’ve had this made by Filipinos, there’s no curry flavor – just a beautiful combination of fresh ginger, coconut milk, maybe even lemongrass? and these cute little beans. I will put the curry in the notes but I think you should try it without first.
Speaking of curry like I do allthetime, this recipe reminds me so much of those green curry lentils I made a while back with the spinach, coconut milk, and bulgur. Except instead of bulgur, I used the last of my brown rice blend for a little bed to serve it on. We just stirred it all up and kept the leftovers that way, too.
In fact, I’m going to go finish those leftovers when I’m done writing this post and I.am.excited.
I know there’s somebody out there that will like this with me, even though it’ s a lot green and has two unfamiliar double G ingredients.
- 2 cups dry monggo beans, mung beans, or green lentils
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup coconut milk (I used the canned kind)
- 1 bunch chopped or pulled malunggay leaves (or spinach)
- salt to taste
- Boil: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the rinsed monggo beans and cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. I checked on mine every 10 minutes and added more water as needed (mine needed more water every time I checked it). You want the consistency to be like a very thick soup.
- Saute: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in the oil in a large nonstick skillet until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add to the monggo pot and allow the mixture to simmer together for a few minutes.
- Mix: Stir in the coconut milk and malunggay leaves. Remove the monggo pot from the heat. It just needs to be hot enough to very slightly wilt the leaves. Serve over rice or plain, like a soup.
You can also add 1 tablespoon curry paste to enhance the flavor of this dish – I would suggest adding it to the saute pan with the garlic, onion, and ginger.