Oh this is heaven, my most favorite Pinoy comfort food. It’s specially meant for wintry days, except that there’s no winter in the Philippines. Despite the sweltering heat in the tropics, apparently we have a lot of soup dishes and we enjoy all of them.
In our home, the kind of mung beans stew my mom makes for us when we’re little has fairly a lot of small stuff in it. Apart from the main ingredient of course, there’s ampalaya (bitter gourd) leaves, pork chunks, shrimps, and chicharon (pork cracklings). Now that I’m far away from home, I have to do it myself. Yes, I had been craving for this dish for so long. It’s time to learn!
The recipe I got seems to be a good version meant for Pinoys like me living abroad who likewise cannot find ingredients that are uniquely Filipino. It’s a lot simpler than my mom’s recipe, yet the flavor and the aroma are all the same and familiar. Nothing beats than the comforts of your home as they say, but I can bring it closer to me. Right?
Actually, the fun part in cooking Filipino dishes is convincing my Belgian husband to try it out. There’s a trick for that and it has worked for me pretty well. For one though, I’m lucky that mahal isn’t a picky eater and just like me he enjoys good food, wherever in the world it comes from.
With this mung bean stew I told him, “This is similar with lentil soup. And also the bean sprouts, which is your favorite, are originally from these beans. Just soak these beans in the water and let these stay for hours and voila, bean sprouts!”
And he started munching without me finishing my lines. More than I persuaded him with words, the soup itself appeared tempting enough for him already.
It’s a matter of acquaintance and familiarity, associating our dishes with others that they are more familiar with, so foreigners like my hubby will try to taste Filipino dishes. So far, it’s been successful.
Ingredients: 1/2 pound raw mung beans, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 chopped onion, 2 minced cloves garlic, 1/4 pound boneless pork loin cut into 1-inch cubes, salt and ground black pepper to taste, 1/4 pound peeled and deveined prawns, 1 small diced tomato, 3 cups chicken broth or more as needed, 1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves
Bring the mung beans and the water to a boil in a pot; cook at a boil until the beans are soft, about 40 minutes. Mash the beans; set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot; cook and stir the onion and garlic in the hot oil over medium heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pork; season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking the mixture another 3 minutes. Gently stir the prawns into the mixture; cook 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes; cook another 3 minutes. Reduce heat, and pour the chicken broth over the mixture; allow the mixture to simmer in the broth for 5 minutes.
Add the mashed beans to the soup; mix well. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent any of the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more chicken broth or water if the soup is too thick. Stir the spinach leaves into the soup and cook 2 minutes more before serving hot.
About the author
Living in the country of cheeses and knives, Perpie Poblador strives to establish a raw relationship with food and see if the magic will WOK with her, one recipe at a time. Follow her cooking misadventures proudly entitled Yes I am Cooking at coffeechatwithperpie.com.