Saturday, February 9, 2008

Guisadong Monggo

This is a dish I've made a bit in the past. It's amazing the goodness that comes from so few ingredients.

If you want to make this vegetarian, omit the shrimps and use salt instead of patis (fish sauce).

1 cup monggo (green mung beans), soaked overnight in 2 c water and drained
3 cloves garlic (or to taste)
1/2 medium onion
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer fresh, but I just happened to have the can on hand)
1/4 c shrimp, peeled and cut into small pieces
patis (or salt) and pepper to taste
a large handful of baby spinach (I didn't really measure it, I'd say put as much as you want, within reason. Maybe start off with 1/4 lb and move upwards from there?)

Drain the water from the beans and place in a pot with around 2 c water. Bring to boil and cook on medium-low until beans are done.

In the meantime, dice the garlic and the onion (thank goodness for mini-prep processors) and sauté in a pan with a tablespoon or two of oil. Add canned tomatoes, no need to drain beforehand. Season with patis (or salt) and pepper to taste. Add the shrimp if using, and allow to cook for a minute. Add the beans (I didn't drain the water, but then there wasn't much water left anyway) and allow to simmer through. Near the end of cooking, check flavouring for saltiness and pepperiness (if that's a word) and then add your handful of spinach. Remove from heat and allow the residual heat to wilt the spinach.

Great served with rice, although it's also fine without.

When I was a graduate student, I made up some vegetarian versions of Filipino favourites so that my vegetarian friends can sample some (almost!) traditional Filipino cuisine. Admittedly, most of my experimentation occurred during Lent. Even though I wasn't really a practising Catholic at that time (nor really much of a practising religious anything at that time), I still kept to meatless Fridays, so that was yet another motivation for me to rethink Filipino cuisine. If you're interested, you may find them at Manong Ken's Carinderia. Most were based on recipes I found in other sources, just modified to be vegetarian (but not necessarily vegan) friendly.

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