Global warming has changed the weather around the world. When I hear about typhoons that are going to pass through the Philippines, I'm gripped in a sense of panic. A few years ago, torrential rains in proportions never witnessed before caused massive flooding in my hometown. This was unheard of when I was growing up. In fact impending rain gets us kids excited. It means we can play in the cool, refreshing rain. How great it felt to feel the first splash of water on our hot, sticky skin.
Filipinos always find an excuse to cook something. When we get a sense of impending rain, ingredients for mung bean soup are hastily prepared. The pitter patter of raindrops on the tin roofs sound like dry mung beans being strewn on cooking pots, hence the tradition.
I love mung beans soup and look forward to having in when it is raining. The beans used are green mung beans, the ones used for making bean sprouts. This is very abundant and cheap back home.
The process starts with boiling mung beans until they are very soft and have popped out of their skins. Usually a big batch is made so that some of the cooked beans can be eaten with sugar and milk. I like that part best. For making soup, the soft mung beans are added to sauteed garlic, onions and tomatoes with some bits of pork and simmered. Vegetables are added in the end.
I never get to make this soup as much here in London because my husband doesn't like it. The same ingredients are used differently in different countries and probably, in my home, this is the best example. He says they only have it in sweet dishes. I usually cook it his way, boiled with pandan leaves, sago pearl and coconut milk. Unfortunately, I am not keen on the taste of that.
This is my abbreviated and modernized version of the Filipino mung bean soup which I made with bacon and fresh rocket leaves which are added just before serving for a fresh dimension. It isn't Filipino without a sprinkling of pig dust (chopped pork scratchings) in the end. It is packed with flavour and nutrients and is so satisfying. If you like ham and pea soup or lentil soup, you'll probably like this even more.
This recipe makes 4 portions.
1 c. uncooked green mung beans
3 c. water
6 rashers of bacon, cut into lardons
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium sized onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 c. pork or beef stock
1 1/2 tbsps. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
a handful of rocket leaves
2 tbsps. of chopped pork scratchings
Wash the mung beans and drain. Put in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until very soft. You can do this in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes.
Render the fat from the bacon lardons.
Add the garlic and saute until beginning to brown.
Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent.
Add the tomatoes and saute until softened.
Add the cooked mung beans and the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Season with fish sauce and ground black pepper.
Ladle into bowls and serve hot topped with rocket leaves and sprinkled with the chopped pork scratchings.
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