Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chicken Stew with Banana Core and Mung Beans

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I came home this week only to find out that my Dad bought ubad (banana core) in the hopes of making this stew. There was one problem however: somebody took the chicken I bought for my Dad and stored in the freezer for his weekly food consumption. I finally went to the market today to buy the rest of the ingredients that are needed to make this hearty stew including the chicken since my Dad was constantly asking me about it. Truth be told, I was looking forward to making this stew again despite the fact that it has mung beans in it. I'm just hoping my gout will not act up.

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
My Mom used to make this stew for Sunday lunch. I'm just glad I paid enough attention to actually recreate her masterpiece. The dish requires some prepping prior to the cooking step. It is a bit involved due to the fact that you have to prep the banana core and cook the mug bean separately. Similar to heart of palm, the banana core renders the plant useless and it gets killed to obtain this ingredient. Still, bananas grow like a weed in the Philippines so there is always a new shoot ready to spring up when needed. The core is diced finely and pressed with coarse salt to get rid of the stringy sticky bits. The salt also helps extract any bitter taste the core may have which you definitely do not want in the stew. I'm quite sure it will be hard to find an alternative for the banana core but I just want to present this dish which is typical of the region where I grew up. Hearty, simple and delicious. 

Chicken Stew with Banana Core and Mung Beans

2-3 lbs chicken, cut into small pieces*
1 cup dried mung bean
2 cups, banana core, diced, salted and pressed
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk lemon grass, fold into 3-inch lengths and secure with a knot
4-6 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)

1. In a deep pot, cook the mung beans in 4 cups water over medium heat 
    until cooked and the skin has separated. Set aside. 

2. In a larger pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat and saute 
    the garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until 

3. Add the lemon grass and saute for a minute. Add the chicken pieces and 
    season with salt and pepper. 

4. Pour the broth and the cooked mung beans (including the liquid) into the 
    pot with the chicken pieces and bring to a boil. 

5. Once boiling, add the diced banana core and lower heat to low and 
    simmer covered for 30 minutes. If it gets too thick, add some water.

6. Check for flavor and add fish sauce if using. Continue to simmer until the 
    chicken pieces are fully cooked and the mung beans are cooked to mush. 

7. Check seasoning one last time and correct accordingly with salt and 

*For the stew, the best cut of chicken to use is a mixture of the backbone with the white meat. The bony cut brings out the chicken flavor while the breast cut are for those who like a meaty stew. I prefer the bony parts but to each his own. 

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