Hello Everyone and welcome to the final week of Auguest! If you’ve read all the way to the end of my post yesterday, you’ll know that I’ve said that week 4 of Auguest would commence today seeing as I had a special post that went up live yesterday. Today’s guest won’t be communicating with you through the write up only because she’s not that confident with her English writing skills; so instead I will be the one taking you through her story of this dish. But first, who’s my guest for this week? Of course it is none other than the woman who cooked for me throughout my years of growing up and the woman who taught me how cook. Without her, my passion for cooking would’ve probably never existed, and neither would this blog. Today’s guest blogger is none other than my Mother, Josephine, known to many as Mama G!
This dish is a delicacy from one of the Ilocanos provinces, my Mom’s hometown in the Northern part of the Philippines, Pangasinan, but her family grew in Quezon City. Once a year the whole family would travel the province to visit their farm and bring back some of their produce, one of them included one 50kg sack of munggo (mung beans). Munggo Guisado is a common lunch and dinner dish found on their table as it is a healthy and nutritious dish. Her father (my grandfather) would always remind his children that munggo contains the same amount of proteins that can be found in beef, chicken, pork, and other meats. Her father was a little bit on the stingy side, so their Munggo Guisado contain no meat at all, just pure mung beans and other vegetables such as ampalaya (bitter gourd) leaves or malunggay leaves. Her father even planted a malunngay tree so that they could pick their own leaves instead of having to go to the markets to buy it. The dish would then be flavoured with bagoong isda (anchovy sauce). It was a dish that they had for both lunch and dinner, everyday.
This dish was introduced to my Mom since she started to eat solid foods, and has been a part of her daily meal until she came to Brunei. She stopped eating it because she wasn’t in a cooking mood since she moved out of the Philippines to work in Brunei. She started cooking it again when she had a family of her own. My Mom did the same thing by introducing this dish to me when I started to eat solid foods. To her surprise, I hated this dish and she didn’t know why. Even my two younger sisters hated it. She tried everything to make it more appetising for us by adding meat and/or prawns, but still she could not get us to eat it. So, she had no choice but to stop cooking it.
But now, after 20 years, she was able to introduce it back to us again (mainly because for this Auguest post as it has a story to tell of her roots), and apparently we love it! I kept asking my Mom why I didn’t like it in the first place, and she kept answering, “I don’t know with you!” Now Munggo Guisado has found it’s way back into our table as a regular, weekly, meal. The dish is best served with steamed rice and fried fish, as they would say “magkakambal sila” – twins, or meaning a well paired dish.
PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6
- 1 cup mung beans
- 1 cup malunggay (or ampalaya) leaves
- 250g pork belly, sliced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp salted ziganid fish (bagoong padas, or anchovies)
- Ground black pepper
- Soak the beans in water for about an hour or two, this will help soften the beans and lessen the time required to boil and tenderise the beans when it comes to cooking them.
- Add the beans to a medium-sized pot together with about 1L of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let the beans simmer for about half an hour until soft (or about 50 minutes if you didn’t pre-soak them).
- In a medium-sized deep fry pan, add the sliced pork belly and fry until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Move them to one side of the frying pan and add the garlic. You shouldn’t need to add any oil and the natural oils from the pork fat should be enough to sauté the garlic. Once the garlic is golden brown in colour and is fragrant, add in the onions and cook until soft. At this point, you can mix them together with the pork. Add in the tomatoes, season with a bit of ground black pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the cooked mung beans, together with the water that it was simmered in into the pork and tomato mixture. Give it a good mix and if it’s looking a bit dry, add more water to make it more into a soup. Bring to light simmer.
- Add the tablespoon of anchovies to a small bowl with about a few heaped tablespoons of the munggo soup. Press on the anchovies to get the flavours out and strain the sauce/paste back into the soup. Discard the anchovies.
- Simmer for another 10 minutes or so and then add in the malunggay leaves. Turn the heat off and give it a good mix, until the malunggay leaves have wilted into the soup.
- Serve with a nice bowl of steamed rice and fried fish. Enjoy!
Of course this dish can be an all vegetarian dish just as how my Mom ate it when she was growing up; just remove the pork belly!
While my Mom was telling me the story of this dish, she teared up a little as it brought back many childhood memories. I hope that one day I’ll have kids of my own and share with them the many favourite dishes I grew up with and the stories that come with them 🙂
– Ally xx