Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Mung beans. pork. shrimp. chili pepper leaves. (Smoky) Sauteed Mung Beans ( ginisang munggo )

This is just another post about a not so popular ingredient: "chili pepper leaves". Mung beans is a typical Asian ingredient both used for savory and sweet recipes.

It is a Filipino dish. History-unknown. My Ma seldom-if not-made it but the whole family eats it.

The first time (1980's) I saw this dish was being eaten by a childhood neighbor when he had 'utos' (chicken pox). I asked: "what's that you're eating?" It was the brothy, soupy kind. He said: "Ginisang munggo" (sauteed mung beans) while scooping and stirring it. He added it was good for someone with the chicken pox.

Maybe because legumes are nutritious? Maybe the chili pepper leaves is rich in anti-oxidants?

After that, I started eating ginisang munggo whenever I can get hold of it being sold by the neighborhood sari-sari (variety) store for lunch. Or when the nearest eatery where I went to school from high school to college was serving it for lunch too.

I loved it! I think it's the play of textures in my mouth, the mingling of flavors from the pork and shrimp. I also thought it made me proud eating chili pepper leaves-which is never spicy or hot. It's like eating chili-flavored spinach-that's how I can describe it.

I had chicken pox a few days before my 24th birthday. 


For the grilled pork.

Marinate for 1-2 hours a half pound of country style pork ribs (about 2 8 oz.) with 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 t cracked black pepper. 

Grill until slightly charred. Note: make sure the grill reached 400° before taking out the meat to rest on a plate. Usually I set the left side of the grill on high but cook the meat on the left side-which is turned off. Do not try eating if the internal temperature of the meat did not reach 155°. Set aside. When cooled, slice the pork into 1/2 inch cut (like half of your tongue-when sticking out; teehee).

For the mung bean stew   

1 cup mung beans
4 cups water
4 T neutral oil (canola, corn, coconut, light olive oil)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 of a medium onion
1 tomato, quartered
6 large or jumbo frozen cooked shrimp, more for small or medium; thawed and drained.
1/2 compact cup fresh chili pepper leaves, washed and drained. If using frozen, thaw and lightly squeeze excess water.
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra water for brothy or soupy dish, if you wish (optional)


Boil the mung beans in a pot with 4 cups water. When it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer uncovered until the beans had burst and the skin had fell off-about 1½ hours. Turn off heat and set aside.

Preheat a non-stick medium or large saute pan (with high sides) until smoky.
Add the oil and garlic to roast until golden brown.
Add the onion and saute for 1 minute before adding the sliced tomato.
Continue sauteing for 1 minute then add the sliced pork.
Toss and saute together with the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the mung beans including the liquid plus the shrimp. Salt and pepper to taste. This is also the time to decide if you want this dish brothy/soupy or like a stew. Add water or not.

Simmer for 20 more minutes. Add the chili pepper leaves and turn off heat. Cover.

Ready after 15 minutes.

Enjoy with steamed rice or by itself.