The long bacon strips sizzled in the skillet as I cooked them for this Mung Bean Soup- Sabaw ng Munggo. They sinfully tempted me to reach out and nibble, while I lay them on parchment paper to remove the excess oil. It was hard to resist. One little bit of bacon led to eating the entire crisp slice. It was addictive. I reached for a second, a third till I stopped myself. If I ate all the bacon there would be none left for a blog post, I feared.
Winter means it is time for soup in our household so I often have homemade stock in the freezer. And in my pantry, I always have a ready bag of dried mung beans or what Filipinos call ‘monggo’. Mung beans has one of the highest protein contents in the bean category. I grew up enjoying monggo (say ‘mongh-goh’) in various ways my mom used to cook it. One of my favorites was as a sautéed side with juicy tomatoes, fresh spinach and crisp ‘chicharon’ (pork rinds) crumbled on top.
With my own version this time, I went further and made mung bean soup or what is called in Tagalog ‘Sabaw ng Monggo’ (say ‘sah-baw-nang-mongh-goh’). ‘Sabaw’ translates to soup.
This is sheer comfort food to me. I can pour the monggo meal on a mound of hot rice, the savory soup absorbed by the plump, white grains. The aroma of the sautéed mung beans flavored with fish sauce and fresh ginger are perfect on the sweetly fragrant white rice. The mushy, small pea-size globules nestled with slices of tomatoes, onions are a pretty sight cascading on the heavy ladle. This time my crunchy topping was crumbled bacon. It was crisp, salty and coarsely crushed. It was a great contrast to the softness of the monggo.
It was also my answer to the “Let’s Lunch” event for the January theme ‘grief bacon’. What is ‘grief bacon’ ? Our Let’s Lunch host for January Rebecca Siegel said: “For those of you who need a definition of ‘grief bacon’: January’s theme (brilliantly conceived by Cheryl Tan) is Grief Bacon (from the German, Kummerspeck). Think of the food that you reach for when you’re in your most desperate need of comfort, when you’re sad, feeling hopeless, or just need to feel the inner love of a food that may not necessarily be good for your body, but is certainly good for your soul. So… not necessarily bacon in the literal sense (though your grief bacon may, indeed, involve bacon, or ice cream, or chicken noodle soup, or twinkies). ”
Mung Bean Soup - Sabaw ng Munggo with Bacon
- 1 cup dried, find in Asian markets monggo or mung beans
- 8-10 strips bacon
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 whole chopped onion
- 2 medium chopped tomato
- 1 inch peeled, sliced in slivers fresh ginger
- 8 to 10 cups soup stock vegetable or chicken
- 1 Tablespoon from Asian markets patis (Filipino fish sauce)
- 2 cups coarsely shredded bok choy or Chinese cabbage
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- for serving boiled white rice
- In a medium bowl, pre-soak the monggo/mung beans in water for about 30 minutes. The water should be enough to cover the beans.
- Transfer the water and mung beans to a medium stock pot. Have enough liquid to cover the beans (add more water or else vegetable or chicken soup stock if desired). Over medium high heat, bring this to a boil, then adjust the heat to a low. Simmer and cook for about 45 to 50 minutes till monggo is soft. Add more water if liquid evaporates. The beans should soften while immersed in liquid. Stir the mung beans every now and then so they do not stick to the bottom of the stock pot. Some beans may even pop open in the process. When soft and cooked, set aside till ready to saute.
- Pre-cook the bacon strips for 8 to 10 minutes in a skillet over medium heat. When cooked, drain bacon strips on parchment paper or paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Use a different medium stock pot. Over medium high heat, add the vegetable or corn oil. (Or you may use the bacon drippings if desired). Saute the garlic, onions and fresh ginger. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes till onions soften. Add the tomatoes and patis (fish sauce). Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes till tomatoes soften.
- Add the boiled monggo together with the liquid. Add more soup stock (vegetable or chicken) to the stock pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss in the chopped bok choy pieces and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Crumble the cooked bacon and sprinkle it on top of the monggo. Serve with boiled white rice.
- Ingredient tip: Monggo/mung beans are packaged (dried) in plastic bags and can be found in Asian markets. Keep them in a dry, sealed container in the pantry. If bok choy or Chinese cabbage is not available, use fresh spinach.
- Cook's comments: if you're wondering how one cup of (dried) mung beans can make 4 servings, well it can. Once boiled, the monggo/mung beans expand and plump up. If an all-vegetable monggo soup version is preferred, omit the bacon, chicken soup stock and fish sauce. It will be just as hearty and flavorful with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and vegetable soup stock.
- *"Let's Lunch" : This is my entry for the month's 'Let's Lunch' bloggers event, a virtual food potluck among a group of amazing food writers, authors, bloggers and chefs. January's theme is : 'grief bacon' or anything you reach for in times you need the most comfort.
- For more recipes follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsLunch or find our board on Pinterest.
If you want to see the rest of our #LetsLunch blog posts, here's a round up by host Rebecca Siegel:
- Caramel, Chocolate and Salted Peanut Ice Cream from Lisa at Monday Morning Cooking Club
- Pot Stickers from Tammi at Insatiable Munchies
- Sabaw ng Monggo: Mung Bean Soup with Bacon from Betty Ann at Asian in America
- Dark Chocolate Vanilla Pomegranate Parfait from Linda at Spicebox Travels
- Slap Yo’ Mama Brownies from Lucy at In a Southern Kitchen
- “Hug-in-a-bowl” noodles from Vivian at Vivian Pei
- Evil Grief Brownies from Annabelle at Glass of Fancy
- Chicken Noodle Soup from Margaret at Tea and Scones
- German pancakes from Cheryl at A Tiger in the Kitchen
- The toast truck will serve soft ripened goat cheese from Rebecca at GrongarBlog