Monggo Beans (or Mung Bean Soup)

Monggo Soup with Malunggay

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:

  1. It’s veryvery green.
  2. 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.

Monggo Soup with Malunggay

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.

Monggo Soup with Malunggay

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.

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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.

Monggo Soup with Malunggay

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.

Monggo Soup with Malunggay

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.

Right? Somebody?

Monggo Beans with Malunggay (or Mung Bean Soup)
Author: Pinch of Yum
Serves: 6
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
Instructions
  1. [b]Boil:[/b] 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.
  2. [b]Saute:[/b] 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.
  3. [b]Mix:[/b] 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.
Notes
I cooked 1 cup of dry brown rice and stirred it together with the monggos for easy leftovers. It worked great. [br] 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.

Nutrition Monggos


More from Pinch of Yum

Comments

  1. This is one of my favorite Filipino dishes! I like the twists you added and luckily my mom grows malunggay in her FL backyard! I just recently found your blog, bought your e-book and so inspired to get my own food blog going. I love how you incorporate these Filipino dishes and make them look so easy to make! Will pin and try this recipe out for sure!

  2. I’m with you! Heidi Swanson got me into mung beans. I adore beans so much that I refuse to buy them in a can. I always pre-soak and cook them from scratch. What’s a busy working girl to do on a weeknight? Find beans that don’t require too much pre-soaking, like lentils & mung beans!
    I’ve got to try this!
    Can we make shirts that say “I love beans”? Or, will people think we’re weird?

  3. I heart this dish; I’ve been eating it since I was a baby. And yes, malunggay is a superfood. My parents planted some in our backyard and we added it to all our soups and stews. My mom doesn’t use coconut milk; instead, she uses fish sauce to add that salty flavor. Yummy!

    • annee mariee says:

      Jennp and Pinch of Yum-

      I just made a pot w lemongrass, fish sauce, a cinnamon stick, garlic, onion, ginger, chicken stock and star anise…but it doesn’t really taste like anything. =( I’ve made this before hoping for a delish soup/lentil type meal and it just is bland. What can I do to make it tastier? More flavorful? Use coconut milk instead of stock, perhaps?

      Anne Mariee

      • You might just be missing salt and pepper to bring out the flavors, maybe add some chopped meat to the sautee like pork or shrimp.

      • It could also be your portions… I would focus on getting your amount of broth tasting good, then fish sauce & salt + pepper. That cinnamon stick sounds off, but I could be wrong.

  4. Love mung beans!! Malunggay is new to me, but now I totally want to see if some of our ethnic groceries in the neighborhood might carry it. This sounds totally up my alley! :)

  5. LOVE the sound of this, want to try ASAP! I love trying out new ingredients, and the greener the better :)

  6. I have never had mug beans! You have convinced me I need to try them though!! This looks crazy good!

  7. I hear you! I love mung beans! It is totally comfort food. My mom makes it Indian style with Garam Masala – I would love to try your recipe…hmmmm maybe for dinner tonight! Love your blog BTW!!!

  8. Oh I love me some legumes any way possible… as a matter of fact, just the other day I was contemplating a bag of split green peas that has been in my pantry for a little too long and did think of the idea of making them with coconut milk and curry… this was just like a cosmic confirmation to make them ASAP into a “hot, creamy, flavorful gravy sauce” and serve them over rice :)

  9. This looks really delicious. I recently made a mung bean soup with celery and apples and it was super tasty. I agree that those malunggay leaves are super cute! I remember them from a previous lentil/curry recipe I think?

  10. Yum! This is one of my favorite Filipino dishes although I like mine with smoked fish. ;)

  11. I love monggo! Your pictures made me hungry. We will definitely be having this for lunch later today. And thanks for the curry suggestion I will have to try that!

  12. Sometimes my mom adds crispy lechon to it. Nom. Thanks for sharing! Btw, have you tried malunggay fruit/pods? Try it before you leave. My mom usually adds it in pinakbet.

  13. Yummy!!!!! I haven’t had monggo beans in sooooo long. Growing up in Guam, all of my friends were Filipino or Chamorro and everybody made monggo beans. After seeing your pics, I’ve decided that I definitely need to find an Asian store and make these.

    • That is so cool that you grew up in Guam! Wow. I wonder how hard the monggos are to find in the states? I guess I’ll find out when we go back :)

      • Unsure how prevalent they will be in the midwest, but on the west coast you can find mung beans in any Asian/Chinese supermarket. Or you could go to your local Chinese restaurant and ask the owners where they would get it. :)

      • They’re very easy to find in Florida and New York. Any Asian food store should carry them.

        Lovely post Lindsey! This was one of my favorite comfort foods growing up.

        My mom’s version was made without coconut milk or ginger, she went a bit more Spanish with it and added saffron, plus crumbled bacon on top. You can really go any way you want with it, love the curried approach.

        • Good to know! Thanks! :) and your moms version sounds delicious!

          • Whole Foods carries mung beans, often in their bulk bins too. You shouldn’t have a problem finding them in the States. I can’t wait to try this recipe, especially with our 9 month old, who I have been introducing “exotic” foods to in hopes of a varied palette later on. Thanks for the inspiration!

          • Great to know! Thanks Mama G!

  14. I’m with you girly! You just introduced me to two ingredients I knew nothing about and I’m pretty excited now. I do love cooking with superfoods, so I’m amped about the malunggay leaves. Plus, anything that at all resembles a lentil or bean is good as gold in my house! Every time I read your blog I feel like I need to get my booty to the Philippines!

  15. Zharina says:

    never tried savory version of mung beans like this, but here in Indonesia it is common to eat it as dessert. just like your recipe… minus onion and all the savory thing but leave ginger and coconut milk, also add it with palm sugar (or white) and pandan leaves. perfect for rainy days

  16. I feel smarter Filipino style.

    And also very motivated to find me some Texas monggo beans.

  17. Zharina says:

    Never tried savory version of mung beans soup like this. Here in Indonesia it is common to eat it as dessert. Just like your recipe… minus onion and all the savory thing but leave ginger and coconut milk to use. Also add it with palm sugar (or just regular sugar)and pandan leaves. Perfect for rainy days and also perfect to eat chill, too :)

  18. We have mung beans everywhere here. I’ve been served them, but never knew how to cook them. I keep looking at them at the store, but end up moving on to something more familiary like lentils, chickpeas, black beans. I’ll be picking up a bag and giving this a try!

  19. Oh yes! Totally comfort food! We used to eat monggo bean stew for lunch at least once a week. I made it with onions, garlic and chopped carrots – just a simple stew. But EVERYTHING is better with coconut milk, don’t you think? You are brave to try so many new things.

  20. Malunggay in Tagalog and in the south, we call it ‘kamunggay’. They are one and the same.

    We cook a lot of this dish even when living abroad in Japan and now, in Dubai (UAE). It depends on your preference but we like it with a little more water.

    This dish is very versatile you can also cook this with pork. Pork belly works best (the one that has fat and lean meat). You just put the sliced pork in the frying pan without any oil, sear it…the pork fat/oil will come out so this is where you add the sliced onions. If the oil is too much, you can discard some of it. You then add the preboiled mung beans and saute it along with the pork and onions. This is called ginisang monggo. :)

    Add water according to your preference and season with salt and a dash of pepper.

    Ginisang monggo usually have no vegetables in them but you can add anything you like, it will still come out good.

  21. Ahhh, mung beans. There is a Chinese sweet dessert soup – just boil mung beans then add sugar to sweeten. Serve hot or cold. Oh and since you shared that you have a little rice cooker, you can cook mung beans in there too! I usually push down the button twice, adding more water in between.

  22. You can also make a dessert out of these mung beans. Just add sugar (I use brown), vanilla to the boiled mung beans and make a paste. Either eat it as is or put in a filling for bread buns!

    • Oh my goodness! I can’t even imagine myself being that brave but I am intrigued. What a cool bean. ;)

      • I’ve had the rolls with the mung bean paste in it before — they are not overly sweet (I think my American mouth was having a hard time with the bean + sugar combination) but certainly interesting. I’m so excited to have all these ingredients (the not-so-exotic versions, anyway) in my fridge and pantry waiting to be used up! Dinner tonight!

  23. sealdi says:

    I cook munggo stew with a little bit more water, sans coconut milk, to make it a bit soupy. I add squash until a bit tender before adding the malunggay. For a little bit more color and taste, I add red bell pepper slices.

    For malunggay, I add it in fish stew (or tuwang isda in Cebuano) with the lemongrass and basil and ginger, or in chicken stew (tinolang manok) with a green papaya or chayote.

  24. Wow, I’ve never had it with coconut milk. Try adding chunks of tinapa – it’s smoked milkfish – YUM!

    I’ve been lurking around your site for quite some time and have been so inspired with what you’re doing. And extra hungry with all the food.

  25. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, we introduced this leaf (we called it moringa) to many of the villages where volunteers served. We would often dry the leaves and crumble them into a powder and then have moms add them to their baby’s porridge. Definitely a superfood!

  26. Mung beans are delicious! Glad you’ve discovered them. I’m most used to them in the context of sweets, though, as they’re found in most Taiwanese/Chinese recipes. Mashed mung beans are mixed with sugar for pastry fillings and it’s surprisingly delicious—not beany at all, and slightly less guilt-inducing ;) Mung bean popsicles were my favourite as as kid!

  27. When we moved to South Korea (ummm 17 months ago!), I picked up a bag of mung beans. They’ve been staring me down for a long time! I tried this last night and it was delish. It definitely needed the curry paste. My 21 month old kept asking for “mo sauce peez.” :)

  28. Love this dish. I think I have not made it once after moving here in the US (15 years ago) but luckily my friends make it from time to time and I get to try it.

    You can buy Malunggay leaves (mostly frozen) in any Asian market about ~$1.50-2.50 per package. It is labeled as Malunggay leaves (Horseradish leaves). I buy them when I go to the grocery store.

    It is also good as a tea if you boil water and drop the enter package (even if it is frozen) and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Let it sit for 30 minutes with no heat. Remove the leaves and drink the flavored malunggay water. You can drink it by itself or with milk, it has a sweet taste even if you don’t add sugar. I heard from some people that it is good for milk production for mothers who are breast feeding their baby (that’s me right now :) )

  29. Leah Nonnemacher says:

    Loved this recipe!! I just got married and this recipe fit the bill of our current diet: cheap but nutritious, and hopefully tasty! Even my skeptical husband enjoyed it. We’re trying the citrus scones tomorrow morning…can’t wait! Thanks got your wonderful recipes.

    • That’s so awesome! People rarely comment on these “weirder” recipes so it makes me really glad to hear that you liked it. :) thanks for the comment!

  30. Oh, this is soooo fanTAStic!
    I have a tree full of bright green new malunggay leaves and now I know just what to do with them. (I had no idea they are so nutritious. Full of protein.) And with the mung beans, wow yummmm. And yeah, definitely comfort food–this is *way* better than ice cream! Thank you!

    (BTW, In Burma I ate a tomato-based curry made out of the young seed pods of the malunggay tree (I think also with tamarind)–they call it drumstick curry. You can’t eat the outside, they’re very fibrous–but you can scrape the insides out with your teeth like the pulp of an artichoke leaf. Really delicious, but definitely strange until you know how to eat it. For further explorations of weird, that would be a neat place to start.)

  31. This is one of my favorite Filipino dishes! My mom adds shrimp to her version and it is like heaven in your mouth. Think I’m going to have to make some VERY soon. :)

  32. I was looking for a recipe to make malunggay rice and found this blog. Nice!

  33. clueless half-pinoy says:

    Yay, thanks so much! I love monggo, but I never paid any attention to cooking growing up or when I lived in the Philippines, and all the other recipes I found were with some kind of meat. So glad you just have the basic vegetarian recipe. :)

  34. This was delicious!!WOW!! I used coconut oil instead of vegetable, I added a pinch of asafetida and a pinch of cumin. I also added cilantro in mine. I ate it over quinoa, so yum!! Thanks for the recipe, next time I will add squash or mushrooms.

  35. Amanda Martin says:

    Oh my goodness that is good! I am in love with this dish and this is my first time to your site and so happy I stumbled upon it! Thanks for posting. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.

  36. Just made this tonight Maria. We loved it. Made a few changes and the family wants me to make it again! Thanks for getting me through an “I don’t know what’s for dinner” moment.

  37. Hi! I am going to make this tomorrow, just wondering if the beans need to be soaked overnight?

  38. Sharon Adawin says:

    I went to the market and found these greens under the name Methy Leaf. Come to find out that the common name in English is FENUGREEK, I’m so excited. I know how healthy fenugreek seeds are, just had no idea we eat the plant. I am cooking up a pot as I type and it is smelling so good!

  39. I wasn’t able to find regular mung beans but I bought sprouted mung beans. Have you ever made this with sprouted mung beans? Do you know how to adjust the time/liquid to get a similar consistency? I tried and it came out more watery than yours. :-/

  40. Hi! I’ve had this dish as a kid and loved it! I’ve never attempted to make it but would love to try your recipe! Can I possibly soak the mung beans for a few hours (not overnight) and then cook them in a lesser time?

  41. Christial says:

    I LOVE THIS WITH ALL MY HEART! I’m Kenyan, we eat this too only we call it ndengu <3 I love it sooo much, the recipe is on point as well.God bless you!

  42. I love this dish so much thank you!! I’ve made it several times now and have some on the stove right now :) awesomeness!!

  43. Hi, I am just wondering what type of curry paste you added? I am in Australia so may not have the exact same grand, but if I know the type of curry paste, I am sure I could find it. Thank you-’can’t wait to try this!!

  44. I was given a bean soup mix with mung beans that was great so I have been using them since in soups and stews. But they are red not green! I get them at Whole Foods. Are there different kinds? Or one is riper? I would love to try your recipe with coconut milk–it makes everything good!

  45. Hi, first off thanks for the recipe. I love to try new things and this sounded great but when I made it (pretty much to the letter of the recipe except I used coconut oil for the saute) it came out veryyyyyy bland. It tasted only like gloppy flavorless beans. Are Mung bean dishes traditionally bland like that or would adding the curry paste really bump it up? I’m not too experienced with the Filipino flavor profile so I’m not sure what to expect but I would mos def prefer louder flavors. Any extra tips? Thanks

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