So, I’ve been staying at home for the past six days, nursing a flu (and a cold and a cough). My body finally gave up on me. I haven’t been sick for years now and I thought it can still take all the stress. I’m blaming everything on the weather; 34 degrees C (about 93.2 degrees F) of glorious summer heat practically envelopes the entire Metro Manila. And it’s still getting hotter!
There’s no comfort in being sick especially during the hot season. The rainy season is more merciful; you can easily find pleasure with a bowl of warm soup or a serving of porridge or a cup of hot something. In this weather, they might be a bit hard to appreciate. But, I still wanted my bowl of soup, so, I came down to a decision and gathered all my strength to get up and prepare my favorite comfort food — Ginisang Munggo.
I love Ginisang Munggo. I used to not like it when I was a child for reasons that I don’t remember, then I started liking it when I was growing up. Ginisang Munggo is pure pleasure in a bowl. Although technically it’s a soup, most Pinoys would eat it with rice. It’s the perfect partner for your fried dishes, especially fish. Ginisang Munggo is usually served every Friday (if you know why, let me know by leaving a comment below!), but I’d eat it any day of the week anyway!
There are many ways to prepare Ginisang Munggo. If you can buy chicharon with laman (pork cracklings), you can use that instead of rendering pork meat. You can also make it vegan or vegetarian friendly by removing the pork and/or shrimp altogether and use tofu instead. For the leafy ingredient, I personally prefer malunggay (moringa or horseradish tree) because it’s packed with nutrients. The thickness of the soup depends on your desired consistency; just add more water and adjust the seasoning.
Note: If you have a high level of uric acid, this dish may not be for you. I’m looking at you, Larry.
You will need:
- 1/4 kilo munggo (green mung beans), soaked in water overnight
- 1/3 kilo pork rind or pork belly, cut into small cubes
- water to make pork broth
- 1 pc pork bouillon cube
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 pc medium-sized tomato
- 1 pc medium-sized onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 kilo medium-sized shrimps, peeled and deveined, set the heads and shells aside
- 1 pc tinapang galunggong (smoked fish)
- 1 cup malunggay (moringa), chili leaves, or spinach
How to prepare:
- Place pork in a pot of water, season with bouillon cube, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until meat is tender. Set the pork broth aside.
- Render pork meat in vegetable oil over medium heat until the pieces turn into cracklings. When rendering pork, keep the pan covered as the oil splatters a lot, but stir the pork meat occasionally to avoid burning. Set pork cracklings aside.
- On the same pan, reduce the oil to about 1 tbsp. Sauté onion, tomato, garlic, and shrimp. Add drained munggo beans. Cook while stirring for about 5 minutes.
- Add pork broth and fish sauce and bring to a boil.
- In a bowl, add some hot broth to the shrimp shells and pound them gently using a mortar & pestle until the juices come out. Using a strainer, add the shrimp extract to the soup.
- Simmer while stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the munggo beans are mushy in texture. Add more water and seasoning, if necessary.
- Add the leaves, tinapa, and pork cracklings. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with rice.