Every week, I scoop a big bowlful of Filipino Monggo or mung beans sautéed in tomatoes, and pour the fish-sauce flavored broth on a bed of steaming jasmine rice. I swish the dark green beans that look like minute green peas, press a fork on them till the tiny pods mash into a soft mush and penetrate through the just as soft, fragrant rice grains.
The dark green spinach leaves spread out like a fan over the olive-green colored mung beans. It’s green on green, it is salty, but the surprise of succulent tomato slices makes it even more enjoyable. I mixed it further, so that more rice grains got caught up with the monggo (say ‘mohng-goh’) for me to enjoy. But just when I thought that was all I was going to get, I plunged deeper into the bowl, underneath the monggo, and there cradled on the spoon curve was a big, chunky, beef short rib that was so tender the meat was slipping precariously off the bone. Yes, this was dinner!
The monggo or mung beans is a Filipino food staple . It is one of the most affordable and easily available vegetables for any Filipino family.Research and nutrition facts show the mung bean has one of the highest protein contents in the bean family. Best of all, you can have the beans stocked up in your pantry for a while and it won’t spoil.
Mung beans are now easy to buy at major supermarkets. I purchased a large pound bag and kept it in an air tight canister. A cup was all I needed to make a dish like this one. I boiled a cup with some water to soften. Then once the beans were soft, I sauted these in onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. I flavored it with fish sauce or the Filipino ‘patis’. With the addition of fresh spinach leaves, then the meal was done. But for this dish, I added a bonus. I pre-boiled a few pounds of beef short ribs till they were fork tender. Once the monggo saute got going, I added the softened short ribs and mixed it all in. It was unforgettable! Try making this dish for Sunday supper and you’ll have a large one pot meal ready for the rest of the week. Trust me, the leftovers are even better days after when the fish sauce and sautéed tomato-onion flavors have set.
Monggo Guisado - Mung Beans with Beef Short Ribs
- Stockpot - medium-sized
- 1 cup monggo ( mung beans)
- 3 to 4 cups water enough to cover beans in pot
- 1 whole large onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 knob (1-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled, sliced in matchstick sizes
- 1 whole large tomato sliced
- 1 cup beef broth, , use what's left from boiling beef ribs broth
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
- 3 to 4 pounds beef short ribs, bone-in about 4 pieces
- 1 whole onion sliced, for boiling with beef
- 5 to 6 cups water enough to cover beef ribs for boiling
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided, use 1 teaspoon for boiling beef ribs, rest for monggo saute
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided, use 1/2 teaspoon for boiling beef, rest for saute
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- for serving: steamed rice
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
- To soften the monggo or mung beans : boil the monggo/mung beans in water enough to cover beans. Allow to simmer till mung beans are soft for about 40 minutes . Drain liquid (Note: keep 1-2 cups for adding to the monggo saute later). In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Saute the onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Add the mung beans, fish sauce and broth from boiling the monggo.
- By this time, the mung beans are soft from the boiling and sautéing. Set aside till beef short ribs are cooked and soft enough to add.
- To cook the beef short ribs: Pre-season the beef short ribs in salt and pepper. In a large pot place the short ribs, onions, broth and enough water to cover. Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer. Cover and allow the ribs to cook till fork-tender, for about 2 hours or till soft. ** Note: To cook in an Instant Pot pressure cooker: cook the beef short ribs on high for 40 minutes. Keep 1 cup beef broth to add to the monggo saute if desired. The rest of the clear bone broth can be kept in the refrigerator for other dishes.
- To assemble dish: while the monggo or mung beans are simmering towards the end of cooking, add the softened beef ribs. Add half a cup to one cup of the beef broth if desired. Mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper. At the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the spinach leaves and mix well. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve warm, accompanied by a large bowl of steamed rice.
- COOK’S COMMENTS: Monggo or Mung Beans can be found in most Asian groceries or large, major supermarkets. They are tiny, green round to oval beans, packaged in plastic bags.
- Recipe variation: If a vegetarian version is preferred, omit the beef short ribs and patis (fish sauce) from the recipe. The sauteed monggo/ mung beans can stand alone as an entree.
- Manila version: In the Philippines, the beef cuts readily available for this dish, are boneless beef shanks or what is called "kenchi". If you choose this type cut of beef, cook the beef for a shorter time, about 45 minutes to an hour for a pound till tender.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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