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
Toasted Mung Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk
makes about 4 servings
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
- Sticky rice is also sold as glutinous or sweet rice at your local Asian grocer.
Untoasted and toasted mung beans.
- In a dry skillet over high heat, toast the mung beans until dark brown. Stir or toss continuously to evenly brown the beans.
- 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).
- Reserve and refrigerate about 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
- 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.
- Stir in the sugar and salt to incorporation.
- Serve ginataang monggo hot or cold and top with the reserved coconut milk.
Ginataang monggo – just like how mom used to make.