Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicken with Mung Bean Stew

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This dish is very similar to the sauteed mung bean soup I posted a few weeks ago. It has to do with the fact that the mung bean is a good base for soups and stews and works well with either chicken, shrimps or pork. It also goes well with numerous vegetables that quite a number of dishes can be made using the humble mung bean. The one I'm presenting is a dish my Mom used to cook for Sunday lunches or a derivative of it at the very least. This I say because I'm modifying the recipe for lack of availability of one of the main ingredients. This dish can be made with the core of a banana tree (ubad) which is similar to the palm of coconut hearts (ubod) but obviously, derived from a banana tree. The core of a banana is diced into small pieces and crushed with a bit of salt to remove the tar-like resin and also to soften it. They are usually bought fresh from the market or harvested from a banana tree in the backyard. We had a banana plant in our backyard growing up so we had an endless supply of this ingredient. Another version uses a young jackfruit tree fruit since the ripe fruit is very sweet and is wonderful to eat uncooked or it can also be used to make jam. The young fruit is peeled of its abrasive outer skin and cored before it is sliced into smaller pieces. The third version uses the leaves of a Malunggay plant which fortifies the dish with lots of vitamin A. The third is the least of my favorites but is the easiest to replicate using fresh watercress or spinach leaves. I guess it is obvious I'm going for the third version.

Chicken with Mung Bean Stew

2 cups mung beans
2-3 lbs chicken pieces
1 stalk lemon grass, twisted into a knot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp fish sauce, optional
salt and pepper
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
3 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp canola oil

1.  In a large pot, boil the mung beans in 6 cups of water over medium
     heat. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium low. Cover the pot
     and continue to cook until the mung bean has softened. This might take
     about an hour. Add more water if necessary. When cooked, set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic
    and saute until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon-
    grass and saute for two minutes.

3. Add the chicken pieces and cook until slightly browned. Season with salt
    and pepper. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

4. Cover the pot and decrease the heat to low and cook until the chicken is
    tender. Check the seasoning and add the fish sauce if using, or just adjust
    with salt and pepper.

5. Add the cooked mung bean including the liquid it was cooked in and stir.
    Let it simmer for 10 minutes and check for flavor.

6. Add the spinach leaves and cook until just wilted. Serve hot with a bowl
    of steamed rice.

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