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Perhaps there is no other ingredient in Filipino cuisine entrusted with as much faith as the delicate, and immensely nutritious mung bean. Of course, you might know it better as monggo. This serves as a component of various recipes to provide a unique texture to various viands and savory dishes.
It has blessed a wide variety of recipes by adapting well to its accompanying ingredients, and shining just well enough with a good combination of seasonings to spice up this mild-flavored legume.
But if you remember your childhood having contained a great deal of monggo dishes, we can probably attribute this to the practicality of keeping these beans in stock. Firstly, mung beans can last for at least a year when stored appropriately. As such, it won’t be too difficult to make the decision to buy a surplus of these when given the chance.
Secondly, they come at quite the affordable price. It comes as no wonder that we have given monggo much love over the years in our cooking.
But what are mung beans, actually?
The monggo, also known as Vigna radiata, originates from the legume or bean family or Leguminosae. Their popularity is manifested in their wide usage throughout Asia, especially in China, and our region of Southeast Asia. In fact, soups and stir-fries with mung beans as the hero of the dish are popular in Chinese cuisine.
For Filipino food, you can often find the entire bean with a green husk coating it as a main ingredient. However, they can also come in other variations. Moong dal or split mung beans are utilized largely in Indian cuisine. For this, we would have to split the monggo into two, and take out the green husk. These are convenient for usage, as they are quicker to cook. But they have less of the signature fiber of a regular mung bean.
Sprouted mung beans or mung bean sprouts are also a popular version of the monggo. We see this often in salads, stir-fries, and of course, lumpia. But we’ll elaborate further on the recipes later.
Mung Bean Benefits
Being part of the legume family, the mung bean is rich in several vitamins and minerals. Eating a wealthy amount of monggo is a great way to incorporate more amino acids, plant starches and enzymes into your body. They also contain a great deal of carbohydrates and proteins to energize you for the rest of the day.
Not to mention, we know mung beans to be a fantastic source of dietary fiber for your digestive system, as well as active biochemicals. They can also aid in keeping your body safe from harmful free radicals through their protein and polyphenol content. These can be found in the hulls, sprouts and seeds of mung beans, helping keep antioxidant activity up. Compared to soybean extracts, their antioxidant activity is higher, and can aid in preventing chronic disorders like cancer.
And while mung bean sprouts and germinating seeds show great benefits in managing lipid metabolism, even cooked or intact mung beans show great benefits. These may avert lipid accumulation in the heart, blood vessels and the liver. As such, this ingredient can help a great deal inwarding off cardiovascular illnesses.
How about trying a couple of these monggo recipes?
Now that you’re well-informed about the health benefits of monggo, perhaps you can start incorporating them more into your diet. And we’ve got just the suggestions for you!
A tried and tested classic by most Filipino cooks, this Pork Monggo is something you surely have to give a try in your own kitchen. After all, it has the perk of being a quick and easy dish. Despite this, it manages to bring together a group of well-blended, complex flavors. From the distinct, umami flavor of fish sauce and black pepper, to our tender pieces of pork and mung beans, this is one culinary collaboration that simply works perfectly.
As mentioned earlier, mung beans, especially the sprouts, go amazingly with a good stir-fried dish. And these Mung Bean Sprouds with Shrimp just so happen to be one of those recipes. Like many stir-fried foods, this is easy to put together. And it will take less than a half hour to complete. If you’re cut for time, but would like something both healthy and delectably savory, this seafood-vegetable mix would be a great thing to cook up!
Monggo is generally known for its flexibility in savory recipes. After all, the beans work incredibly well with salty seasonings and spices. But its flexibility does not end in one flavor palate, as this Ginataang Monggo fully harnesses the dessert potential of our hero ingredient. Tasting particularly amazing when chilled, you should try this out for a warm day’s meryenda meal!
We, Filipinos, love to have our fair share of meat mixed with some deliciously put together and well-seasoned vegetables in stew. But this Shrimp Monggo with Lechon Kawali utilizes that common concept, while banking on the crisp, distinguished flavor and texture of lechon. All in all, the duo meal makes for an excitingly delicious viand for any time of the day.
Do you also love mung beans? Let us know your thoughts about the ever-versatile and tasty monggo in the comments below!