Monday, February 13, 2012

Sauteed Mung Bean Soup

Copyright 2012 Ltdan'sKitchen blogs
Talking about mung bean, I was asked to explain the difference between the ever practical yet delicious mung bean versus its rather high end cousin, the lentils. The only way I could think of to best explain what a mung bean is was to evoke images of bean sprouts and stating that this is the seed where bean sprouts come from. Of course, if you are talking to a Filipino, there is no need to explain the concept of a mung bean. They will instead tell you exactly how to cook it the right way which can vary for every region of the country. Be that as it may, it does do one thing to us Filipinos, and that is to flood us with memories growing up in the Pearl of the Orient Seas. Oh yeah, that is how we describe our country. And we say that with pride. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Mung beans are available here in Bozeman. But as I said before, they cost about 5$ a pound so I usually buy green lentils instead which costs only a dollar. However, I was sent two packets by my my friends in Atlanta as a gift and it got me so excited I had to cook them right away. Back home, you can cook this soup in several different ways with the addition of pork, chicken, shrimps and even smoked fish. You can even thicken the soup with coconut milk. The preferred choice of greens for the soup is not spinach but rather the young leaf of a bitter gourd. It is just delicious and very nutritious. They are however very hard to find here in the US so I have to rely on the ever available spinach. 

I decided to go low key with this soup and I'm making it simply with just a good broth and enough sauteed spinach and roasted garlic to finish it off. Simple might be the best way to describe this austere dish but the sense of comfort and warmth this dish evokes in this Filipino is just priceless. What I'm saying is, if you can find mung bean, buy it and make this soup right away!

Sauteed Mung Bean Soup

2 cups dried mung bean
1 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the mung bean and a good amount
    of water. Bring to a boil and cover. 

2. Check the pot every 30 minutes and if the liquid has been absorbed, just
    add more water. The mung bean has to be overcooked. You should end up
    with all the water being absorbed by the mung bean and when you press
    the beans between your fingers, they turn to mush.Set aside.

3. In a small pan at medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil until 
    softened. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until 
    slightly browned. 

4. Add the sauteed garlic and onions to the cooked mung bean. Rinse the 
    pan with the broth and add to the pot together with the rest of the 

5. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat and simmer for another 20 
    minutes. Check for flavor and adjust with the salt. Keep warm.

Sauteed Spinach in Garlic Oil:
1 cup frozen spinach leaves
2 tbsp minced garlic
4tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. In the same pan used to saute the onions and garlic above, heat the 
    olive oil at low heat. Add the garlic and cook until slightly browned. 
    Spoon out the garlic and set aside. 

2. Add the spinach leaves and cook until heated though. Season with salt and 

To serve, ladle a good amount of the soup into a bowl and top with a tablespoon of the sauteed spinach and a sprinkling of the roasted garlic. Serve hot. 

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