Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nothing Says I Love You Like Fish Sauce and Bitter Melon.

What is stinky, unattractive AND delicious? Ginisang Munggo (or Filipino mung bean stew). Now, this is not a dish I would recommend for the Filipino food virgin; as it contains a few ingredients that take some getting used to (like bitter melon, and fish sauce). Once you learn to love the bitter, wrinkly squash and sauce made from fermented fish, you are ready to experience the wonders of ginisang munggo. Not only is it ultimate comfort food, it's also extremely healthy.

Ginisang Munggo Recipe

1 14 oz. bag green mung beans
1 bitter melon, seeded and sliced
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, or 2-3 fresh ones, chopped
1 cup frozen spinach
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 lb of your meat of choice. We use ground beef, because hubby loves ground beef so much, it's a little weird. Pork and shrimp are traditionally used.
Filipino fish sauce, also known as Patis

Rinse your mung beans in a colander. Place in a pot and cover with about 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. keep covered with at at least a 1/2 inch of water. Mung beans don't need to be soaked like other beans. Beans love to get all foamy and crazy when you boil them, so keep a close eye on them. A bean-foam explosion is a very bad thing.

Brown your meat. If using pork, make sure it is cooked and cubed first. Add the onions, garlic and bitter melon to the pan. Sauté until the veggies are limp and the bitter melon is no longer bright green.

When your beans are soft, add your tomatoes and spinach to the bean pot.

Add the sautéed veggies and meat to the bean pot. Simmer for 15 to 30 more minutes. If you are using shrimp, now is the time to add them. Cook just until opaque.

Season with fish sauce. Patis is EXTREMELY salty. Add just a little at a time.

Serve over rice.

Now that's some good eatin'!