Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Spanish-style Munggo Guisado

Was I just talking about the heat not too long ago? As June rolls in, so does our rainy (or “wet”) season, the second season of our two-season year (the other being, you guessed it, “dry” – or summer if you want to give it a prettier name). The season’s misty monsoon spray showers us all, bringing with it its usual accoutrements – grey skies and power outages, leaks and traffic, and on the more serious side, the dreaded typhoons.

Although a gloomy, overcast aura that hangs over the city (and nothing does gloomy like a city in the rain) and slowly dampens warms summer spirits, there is a silver lining for those who care to see it. After the blazing heat of the summer, the rains bring me fresh relief (and I love summer so don’t think I’m a sun-shunner). The steady thrum of raindrops, even the severe lashing of torrential downpours, can make my oft-too-hot apartment seem like a cozy and cool cave. I sometimes open the windows just a sliver to let some of that chilly wind in (supervised of course). Weekends ensconced in a warm duvet, good books tucked into its folds, musings both important and random to keep me entertained – that’s rainy season.

And that is not even saying anything about the absolute best part of all this – the comfort food! Soups, stews, hot chocolate! I love this type of food, both the making and the eating of it. Slow-simmered pots of goodness, hearty with sustenance and comfort and memories. Unfortunately, with most of the year being under a glorious tropical blanket of humidity, this is really not the place to indulge in such home-and-hearth dishes. Which doesn’t stop me of course. It’s just much better to enjoy them when you aren’t breaking a sweat.

I’ve spoken about munggo guisado before and how much I love this humble bean stew. It is a dish that crosses many social, political, and economic barriers over here. Eaten by all. Perhaps not enjoyed by all though, but definitely enjoyed by my brother and I who, even as children, would scrape our bowls of munggo clean and fight over the last remnants in the pot. This definitely ranks as one of my top comfort foods of all time. I can eat this for days on end and still come back, like little Oliver, empty bowl in hand, asking for more.

Munggo Guisado is basically a kind of bean stew using munggo or mung beans. The beans are boiled until soft, and then sautéed with a mixture or onions, garlic, tomatoes, flavourings, vegetables, meat or fish...or any combination thereof. It’s very typical here, the type of dish you would find in somebody’s home rather than on a Filipino restaurant menu.

Since I started cooking munggo on my own, I’ve experimented quite a bit. Beans being what they are, this dish is open to limitless versions. Here is one of my favourites (with tinapang bangus – smoked milkfish). This is another.

Spanish-style Munggo Guisado
  • 250 grams munggo beans
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150 grams Spanish chorizo for cooking (either what is known here as chorizo bilbao, or any other Spanish-style chorizo that is meant for cooking)
  • 100 grams slab bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup malunggay (moringa) leaves, optional
  • Canola oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

- Clean the munggo by dunking the beans in a bowl of tap water and skimming off the “floaters”.
- Place munggo in a pot with the 4 cups of water and cook on low heat until soft (around an hour, more or less). Add water if you see it drying out.
- Once beans are done, start with your guisa (sauté).
- Heat some oil in a large pan (large enough to fit all your cooked and softened munggo).
- Sauté garlic, onions, and bay leaf until the onions are soft.
- Add the bacon and chorizo and sauté until the bacon is cooked but still soft and the chorizo has rendered its orange oil.
- Add cooked munggo and stir. If you have a lot of liquid with your munggo don’t add it in all at once, add all the beans and some of the liquid first. As you cook the stew, keep adding liquid until you reach your desired consistency. Some like this very soupy, some like it thick.
- Let it simmer until all the flavours have melded together, about 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- If using, add malunggay leaves, give it a few stirs (they’ll cook fast), and you’re done.

If you really want to give this amazing depth of flavour, boil the beans in ham stock instead of water, just make sure to taste before adding any salt...you may not even need any. If you don’t have 4 cups of ham stock lying around you can use part ham stock or part water. Or you can also toss a small piece of ham bone in the water when boiling the beans.

If you don’t have any slab bacon you can use whatever bacon you do have. I’ve labelled the malunggay (moringa) leaves optional because it doesn’t really fit with the Spanish theme but I really do love greens in my munggo so I always add them – and it still does taste wonderful with this addition. I like to eat this atop a bowl of steaming rice with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Some argue that I’ve fancied our munggo up unnecessarily with this but I have to disagree. I think munggo is a perfect canvas for all sorts of adaptations and we should experiment far and wide with our little green bean. Why would we give the same treatment to lentils but not munggo? And it’s delicious! Which is really all the reason I need to make something :)

As I type this the sun has peeked out again, hissing at the moist leavings of last night’s rain. But this is only the beginning of rainy season, so I foresee more munggo on the horizon.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Delicious looking dish! a great way of serving mung beans...



MeetaK said...

This really does look awesome Joey. I am a huge legumes fan so always love finding new ways to use beans, lentils etc.! We are having a lot of cold and rain too so maybe I should give this a try!

Midge said...

You had me at ...soups, stews, and hot chocolate! Thanks for the kind words on my blog last week, by the way. I needed all the encouragement I could get.

Oh, and at our house, munggo guisado is cooked with a ham bone for some extra-meaty oomph. Goes well (too well as my mother would say) with grilled pork or baked fish.

Rico said...

And that's what makes the humble munggo so appealing, we can add whatever we want and experiment with the taste and ingredients. Great dishes are born from tweaking an old recipe.

Stepford Mum said...

Yum! I agree about munggo being the perfect rainy day food - it's also the perfect food when you're feeling under the weather! During Alonso's and my week-long sickness last week, (which coincided with the week-long rain) a big pot of traditional munggo was welcomed and quickly consumed.

The Knittymommy said...

Mmmmmmmm... We're having a rainy day here in my part of the 'burbs today. Almost reminiscent of the typical rainy days we have in Manila... This dish would certainly fit the bill for tonight's dinner. Thank God we can get mung beans here...

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Rosa!

Hi Meeta! I like all kinds of legumes too! I can never have enough of them :)

Hi Midge! Glad to see you hear :) It’s always good to have a ham bone stashed away ;) Grilled liempo...MMM! Ok, I’ll eat anything with grilled liempo I think...haha!

Hi Rico! I agree!

Hi SM! Aw! Sorry to hear you both were sick :( But yes, munggo definitely helps me too when I’m feeling under the weather.

Hi KM! Glad you can find mung beans there! Hope you like it! :)

Anne said...

your munggo guisado recipe is so chic! Love this dish paired with fried galunggong :-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Joey this doesn't strike me as striking beauty in the photo but the photo totally attracts my attention ... I guess like you I feel like Oliver with my bowl out: More please.
(there's nothing wrong with the photo, it's good. It's just that there is something that doesn't stand out but makes you crave it. I hope that makes sense.)
I'd have the window open letting in the cool too.

Lou said...

Lovely shot. Chorizo goes well with split peas too...

Manggy said...

Sad to say, I think I phased munggo out of my tongue's vocabulary a long while back. It was the grainy texture of the mushy beans that did me in. However, I think it's by jazzing it up as wonderfully as you did that I'll be able to enjoy it again, I think :) And I love the rain-- as long as I don't have to go anywhere!

FoodTravelDiva said...

I never had this dish before but I sure want to now! Thanks for sharing.

Socky said...

I will definitely try this!

kiss my spatula said...

this looks amazing. will definitely give it a try. thanks for sharing!

foodcreate said...

Mouthwatering dish! a great dish for bingo night~

Thanks for sharing your dish with us:)

And if you can visit me I can visit you!


Katrina said...

Love monggo, and F, all the more! The cafeteria in our building serves monggo every Friday (like many households), and you can bet that's what F has for lunch on that day.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anne! Thank you :) I can eat a mountain of fried galunggong!

Hi Tanna! It does make sense :) Photos of cupcakes always bowl me over...but when I see a picture of a bowl of stew or beans, though not as glam, it always makes my tummy rumble with hunger! :)

Hi Lou! Thanks! That’s right...will keep that in mind when next I buy beans :)

Hi Manggy! Once you make your own munggo, and prep it chock-full of stuff you like, you may find it can surprise you :)

Hi Foodtraveldiva! Glad you enjoyed the post :)

Hi Socky! Hope you like it! Use your favourite cooking chorizo and bacon! :)

Hello Kiss my Spatula! Thanks! Hope you like it :)

Thanks foodcreate :)

Hi Katrina! You have a caf in your building? How convenient! I feel like making more munggo now!

Anh said...

Hm, perfect for the weather we have here (winter. so cold!)

veron said...

Joey, I've never had spanish style munggo guisado but I do love eating munggo with fried galunggong! Yum with bacon and chorizo.

Ling said...

Joey could you pleeeeeease send some of your weather my way?? It's still horribly warm and sticky here in S'pore with no end in sight for this awful weather!!

Funny - I just finished eating dinner with the hubby and brother, and despite the heat, I had a hankering for a childhood dish that we used to have - a soupy rice stew with minced pork, a huge amount of spinach, and lots of garlic, ginger and chilli... and then I read your blog entry!!

Good to see you back!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anh! Hope you are keeping warm with soups and soft fuzzy jackets! :)

Hi Veron! I just decided one day to cook munggo similar to how my aunts prepare lentejas :) Why not right? :)

Hi Ling! I wish I could! Glad you enjoyed the post and once again we are thinking of the same things at the same time :)

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Made munggo guisado as per your recipe: delicious! Thanks muchly!

ChichaJo said...

Hi JS! You’re welcome and glad you liked it! :)

mala108 said...

I've been looking for a good mongo recipe,and I'm glad I found yours! I'll give this a try today! Thanks a lot :o)

Alisa@Foodista said...

My mom makes this and I love it with grilled porkchops or fried fish! Now I know how to make it myself! Thanks for the recipe!I'll be making this one NOW!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mala108! Glad to be of help! Hope you like it!

Hi Alisa! Hope you like it! Yes, I must agree, this is great with pork chops or fried fish!

Dazy said...

I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

Gavin said...

This is a new one for me! Looks really yummy too..gearing up with recipes for the cold winter days
hopefully ahead!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Dazy! Hope you enjoyed it!

Hi Gavin! Hope you like it...it’s one of my favourites :)