Mung Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk

Filipino Ginataang Monggo Recipe

Let’s say you’re browsing a cookbook that represents the recipes of your childhood (in my case, it would probably be this one). You find that one forgotten recipe that gives you pause and makes you wonder why you haven’t made it all these years. Reading through the recipe causes sudden cravings and you know, almost by instinct, exactly how it’s supposed to taste.

Ginataang monggo is one such recipe for me. Enriched with coconut milk, an ingredient used in many Filipino desserts, its distinctive flavor comes from toasted mung beans. It’s a sweet rice-based porridge usually enjoyed around late afternoon to tide you over as dinner is prepared.

This dish reminds me of a Filipino phrase, “nalipasan ng gutom,” meaning, “the hunger has passed.” It describes someone who has gotten used to the pangs of hunger because of going without food for so long, much like getting accustomed to the body odor of an airplane seatmate with questionable hygiene.

Any Filipino mom will tell you that having hunger pass you by is an undesirable state to be in. It leads to crankiness and irrational behavior. Ginataang monggo is one of many treats that keep you sane during that long wait between lunch and dinner.

recipe adapted from Gerry G. Gelle’s Filipino Cuisine: Recipes from the Islands
Monthly Mingle: Ravishing Rice Recipes hosted by Nags

Ginataang Monggo
Toasted Mung Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk

makes about 4 servings

Filipino Ginataang Monggo - Mung, Rice, Coconut Milk
Mung beans, (not yet) sticky rice, and coconut milk.

1/4 cup mung beans (monggo)
one 14 oz can of coconut milk (gata), about 1 3/4 cups
1 cup water
1/2 cup sticky rice (malagkit na kanin), thoroughly washed and drained
1/3 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Notes:

  • Sticky rice is also sold as glutinous or sweet rice at your local Asian grocer.

Filipino Ginataang Monggo Toasted
Untoasted and toasted mung beans.

Directions:

  1. In a dry skillet over high heat, toast the mung beans until dark brown. Stir or toss continuously to evenly brown the beans.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or rolling pin, gently crush the mung beans with just enough pressure to split in half and dehull. Separate and discard the hulls if desired (I prefer to keep the hulls intact for added texture and nutritional value).
  3. Reserve and refrigerate about 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
  4. Pour the remaining coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups) and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Add the toasted mung beans and washed rice and bring to a boil. Simmer while uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until the rice and beans are thoroughly cooked but still firm. The porridge should have the consistency of loose risotto.
  5. Stir in the sugar and salt to incorporation.
  6. Serve ginataang monggo hot or cold and top with the reserved coconut milk.

Filipino Ginataang Monggo
Ginataang monggo – just like how mom used to make.

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49 Responses to “Mung Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk”

  1. Joelen says:

    You totally brought me back to childhood… thank you! Ang sarap ito! (I’ve missed commenting on your blog for a bit so it’s so good to have some time and catch up with all your cooking/baking! :) )

  2. Rosa says:

    A delicious dessert!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. peachkins says:

    your ginatang munggo looks really really delicious..

  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    I haven’t tried this dish exactly but my mum makes a sweet mung bean dessert that I love. I think adding coconut and sticky rice would only improve it! :)

  5. kat says:

    This one is totally new to me.

  6. Soma says:

    Very Unique! I have never toasted mung, what a lovely color.
    Love that rustic looking stick mat Jude.

  7. Erica from Cooking for Seven says:

    That sounds really good at the moment. Served hot. My toes are cold, and it’s raining.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever tried mung beans. You have intrigued me!

    As always, your photos are wonderful.

  8. Tangled Noodle says:

    How I love this! My most favorite and comforting foods are rice, especially sticky rice porridges. I’m saving this immediately so that I can make it soon – I actually have all the ingredients just waiting in my pantry! This looks sooo delicious . . . I wish I didn’t have to head to class right now. It’s dreary and rainy outside and a bowl of this ginataang would be perfect.

  9. Mary says:

    That happens to me all the time…there’s nothing like rediscovering a favorite from childhood.

    I adore coconut milk–I believe I have that exact can sitting on my counter at home ready for dinner tonight. Your dish looks so fabulous–love the use of mung beans in a sweet dish!

  10. Manggy says:

    Hey dude! Where’ve ya been? Something to do with the airplane? I always use the term “nalipasan ng gutom” to refer to the point when a hungry person suddenly loses their appetite. I wonder why that happens so abruptly (the how is probably as a protective mechanism by the brain, so you don’t go nuts?).
    I don’t believe I’ve had monggo in anything sweet except hopia. You make it look so appetizing!

  11. katiek @kitchensidecar says:

    beautiful. This does look like comfort food. Sticky rice, mung beans, coconut. What more does one need?

    I went against the grain and made sticky rice pudding out of cow’s milk (as opposed to coconut)and it was delicious.

    For me, my food of nostalgia is Chinese peanut soup. No. Better yet, black sesame soup.

  12. Ben says:

    Oh I know that cranky feeling that comes from the lack of food. I’ll have to ask my Philippino friends about this dessert. It sounds interesting.

  13. pigpigscorner says:

    I love all desserts made with coconut milk. So rich and satisfying!

  14. grace says:

    i love me some beans, but i don’t believe i’ve ever had them as a dessert treat. and that’s what this is, my friend–a treat! it looks and sounds WONDERFUL.

  15. Nicisme says:

    Another interesting dish Jude!
    Many congrats on your blog birthday too!

  16. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    I haven’t tried this Filipino dessert but it sounds very interesting for my palate especially if it has coconut milk :)

    Cheers!

    Gera

  17. Leela says:

    Hey, welcome to the Chaokoh club. :)

    I grew up eating quite a few dishes that come from the same dessert genre, i.e. various carbs cooked in coconut milk and sweetened with either cane or palm sugar. (My favorite is sticky rice and black beans.) But the mung bean-rice combo is new to me. I can see how the two work together, though.

    But first a couple of questions:
    1. From the picture, the sticky rice looks different from the long grain Thai glutinous rice and more like the short grain Japanese mochigome or Korean sticky. Is this type of rice native to the Phils? Can it be substituted?
    2. Can I use hulled mung beans instead? Is there anything about toasting unhulled mung beans then dehulling them later (or in your case, not dehulling) that lends to the authenticity?

    Thanks. I love this kind of dessert and I know I will be making this.

  18. Caitlin says:

    Yeah, not bringing back childhood memories for me :P But it looks like it could be quite tasty!

  19. March says:

    I remember this well ~ my mother used to cook this every year on Good Friday for merienda ~ brought back many memories…thanks!

  20. Aparna says:

    This post is quite close to home for me, too. :)
    Lots of Indian moms would give you the same advise about”hunger passing you by”. :D

    We make a dessert here somewhat like this, but its made with the split moong lentils, jaggery, coconut milk, a little ghee and is absolutely delicious.

  21. joey says:

    This really sends me back! I love munggo in all its permutations! I’ve had ginataang munggo but without the sticky rice…I’m sure it’s even better with it!

  22. Carolyn Jung says:

    That looks like pure comfort food — easy to eat, and just sweet enough. I can see why you have fond memories of this from your childhood.

    By the way, I think I have the same place mat as you do. ;)

  23. The Duo Dishes says:

    Never had mung beans, but we know what you mean by childhood comfort foods. We’ve had sticky rice and black rice with coconut cream, and both are so warm and comforting. And tasty.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Yum yum comfort food!! I love sweet milk with mushy rice. Sooo delicious looking Jude.

  25. Natashya says:

    This looks great! I have bookmarked it, as I have mung beans and have no idea what to do with them.

  26. Mrs. L says:

    Not sure my mom ever mentioned this. I’ll have to send her the link and ask.

  27. Lori says:

    This is so my kind of treat. It looks delicious. Although it was not a part of my growing up, it most certainly can be adopted in my menu! Since I love adzuki sweetened, I am quite sure I would love this. Pretty pics too.

  28. Kevin says:

    That looks good! I am going to have to look for mung beans to try.

  29. Zita says:

    Interesting… I’ve eaten mung beans (untoasted) poridge with coconut milk but without thesticky rice… I bet the toasting add an extra delicious aroma :)

  30. maris says:

    VERY cool. My grandfather lived in the Phillipines with his second wife before he passed away and I’m so disappointed that I never visited him there because I would have loved to try the local food, as well!

  31. RebeccaC says:

    Gosh, I am so at that place where the hunger has passed right now. I wish I had a bowlful of this at my desk. What a unique sounding creation.

  32. Dragon says:

    What a lovely dessert. :)

  33. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    It looks like rice pudding, but I’m sure it has its own unique flavor. I’d love to try it someday!

  34. Mara @ What's for Dinner? says:

    Very interesting… I’ll bet thats just delicious!

  35. Cheryl says:

    ooh! gluten free and looks delish!

  36. Selba says:

    Interesting to see that mug beans with coconut milk is eaten with sticky rice :)

  37. Manggy, just took a little bit of a break, no planes involved :) hopia is another thing I want to learn making.

    Leela, am in the Chaokoh club thanks to you. The rice in the photo is Korean sticky (can’t believe you caught that). Native Filipino sticky rice, as far as I know, is short grain and closely related to the Korean and Japanese varieties. Thai sticky will make for a very different result, but still good I’m sure.

    I was going to include hulled mung beans as another option but I figured whole beans are more easily available anyway. Hulling the beans can be a bit messy.

  38. JMom says:

    This is also one of my favorite comfort food. I make this for dessert or a breakfast treat :)

  39. Maya says:

    I grew up up sweet bean porridges in Malaysia!! I love them :)

  40. Jen says:

    You made me remember! It’s been a long while since I had this..My mom used to make it when I was in elementary =)

  41. Miri says:

    Said like a true Mom :) This is such a different recipe from anything I have seen – we do make a mung beans payasam (milk based dessert) but with roasted split mung beans….this looks really good.

  42. Jordan says:

    Just saw mung beans at Whole Foods and wasn’t sure what to do with them. This sounds (and looks) great!

  43. Human Trend » Sunday Review says:

    [...] bean & sticky rice concoction that turned out to be very satisfying and tasty. I got the recipe here. It makes a great dessert and would even be good for breakfast, I think. Though it’s already [...]

  44. alilay says:

    my grandma used to cook this for us grandkids during summer vacation. in batangas we call this sinugno i remember helping her crushing the toasted beans on a bilao with a wooden ganta(we use this to measure rice for cooking)miss sinugno and miss andang Bita (lola).

  45. christine says:

    “b.o.”, lipas gutom — these 2 top my least favorite things/feelings EVER. i like to eat my ginataang munggo cold (as in galing sa ref) and i drink coconut cream! ;)

  46. Susu says:

    I made this for my husband (Filipino) as breakfast for his birthday – it came out perfectly and he and his dad said it tasted quite authentic! Thanks so much! I will be making this again very soon!

  47. Nina says:

    Thanks a lot for a perfectly turned out recipe for “lugao balatong”. It brought back fond memories of my Batangueño father and my mother from Moncada, Tarlac (she called it “lelot balatong” who often indulged my father with this dish for merienda. Our noses always led us to the delightful scents in the kitchen while the monggo was being toasted in the pan!

  48. Andy says:

    I was searching through StumbleUpon for websites on this very issue so I really enjoyed your well written piece. I enjoyed your writing manner and have subscribed to your feed so I can catch, not miss future articles on this and other topics.

  49. beth says:

    hi.thank you for this tip.i’ve been trying to recall this recipe from my old folks in batangas but i guess they too forgot it already.i will surely try this as soon as i get the ingredients later.

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