We eat a lot of hummus in our household. And I have made hummus with lots of different things mixed in like roasted red peppers, beets, coriander, etc. We have also tried white bean and other versions, but never really thought about mung beans or monggo. I was trying to think of healthier ways to eat classic pinoy dishes and decided to experiment with a monggo or mung bean hummus. A quick google yielded a couple of distinctly western takes on the spread, so I wasn’t being too bizarre. But I didn’t really follow a specific recipe and just boiled up some green mung beans until cooked, but not overly mushy. Into a food processor, I added the mung beans, tahini, salt, pepper, water, some garlic and blitzed that for a minute or two. You really have to whip it up to lighten it, and you need quite a bit of liquid. The results were surprisingly good, if a bit bland for my taste. Maybe if I used a really flavorful vegetable broth instead of water… I was also planning to make a tinapa or smoked bangus dip, but my “aha!” moment was to ditch the tinapa spread, and put flaked smoked fish into the monggo hummus instead. This worked wonderfully. The familiar flavor and a creamy texture of mung bean and the sharp salty hints of smoke and savoriness from the fish. Now I am wondering if I should have used coconut milk somehow as well. At any rate, garnished with more tinapa or smoked fish, some chopped chives and a healthy swoosh of good olive oil and it was a slam-dunk hit at dinner with Canadian friends, who lapped it up.
Still of the pinoy theme but presented a different way, I decided to make a simple tomato salsa to serve with the monggo and tinapa spread. Some dayap from our garden in Cebu, seasonings, olive oil and a bit of red wine vinegar. I didn’t use cilantro or wansoy as I knew one of the guests had an aversion to it. But wansoy would have been better than chopped green onions. This salsa was nothing unusual, but its presentation alongside the other spread was giving me serious pinoy meal vibes, but in a chilled appetizer guise. Had we put finely chopped salted red egg, this would have really been cool and reminiscent of hundreds of similar such meals I would have enjoyed growing up.
We served these dips/salsas with slices of toasted pita bread and everything was consumed in a flash. Even our cook, who sometimes raises her eyebrows at my wacky experiments, said the spread was delicious. If I play with this a bit more, I would have an appetizer dish for the restaurant even… think base of vegetarian monggo hummus, which could be varied with tinapa or even tuyo, or topped with lots of crushed chicharon, or deep-fried lechon flakes or served with other vegetarian salsas and dips. It would be pinoy style ingredients and preparations at heart, but presented in a different way. :)