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.
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