This was a spectacular example of ginisang munggo if I may say so myself. And it is the first time I have ever cooked ginisang munggo. All my life I have enjoyed this dish, usually with some intense adobo, but I have never had the occasion or need to cook it myself. As a result, I have had delicious versions, mediocre versions, watery ones, bland ones, bad ones and yet I have never turned a ginisang munggo away; perhaps just ate less of it. A humble and cost-effective dish for most of the country, I was hoping to cook the rolls-royce equivalent… Here is my rich, soulful, flavorful, and just the right consistency for me ginisang munggo…
I think the most critical ingredient above all else are the fresh-from-the-field mung beans, I bought here. While we assume that all dried beans are created equal, I suspect the the freshest munggo makes the yummiest dish. For a recipe that feeds roughly 10-12 dinners, measure out some 400 grams of mung beans and cover with water, roughly 2.5 times water to the volume of beans. Boil until soft, roughly 25-30 minutes for fresh beans. Add water if necessary while cooking. Turn off the heat and set aside. I like there to be quite a bit of liquid but not soupy.
Next I sauteed some chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes in vegetable oil until their juices had rendered. Add a couple of tablespoons of dried dilis and a tablespoon or two of bagoong alamang (I used Alavar’s) and saute for a minute or so. Then add 1/4 kilo of peeled small shrimp or chopped larger shrimp or prawns. I added roughly 200 grams of chopped/shredded ham that we happened to have in the fridge and at this stage I knew something good was cooking!
Earlier, I boiled the shrimp heads and shells for about 10-15 minutes, mashed them up violently and strained the juice. Now, I added the mung beans and the cooking liquid into the pot with the shrimp and ham and added shrimp broth. Add half a cup or so of thick coconut cream. Season GENEROUSLY with good salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and simmer for say 8-10 minutes. Just before serving, add some tendrils of ampalaya (talbos ng ampalaya). If you like your munggo a little soupy eat this immediately. If you want it more starchy, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. This dish was dynamite! The beans were the star but the “sahog” or flavor sources made it special; not overpowering the beans, but providing notes of texture (soft, chewy) and flavor (dried fish, salty ham, sweet shrimp, bitterness, etc.). Definitely a winner. The photos don’t do the final dish justice.
The whole pot cost about PHP320, definitely Rolls Royce pricing, factoring in the shrimp and ham, or roughly PHP32 for each large portion. But I would have happily paid PHP90 for it at a restaurant. And if you axe the shrimp and the ham and use a touch of ham broth instead at the end, this would still be good and at less than half the price, say PHP10-12 per serving. Yum. Oh, and if you are experimenting, think about adding some crushed chicharon for added fat and taste. :)