One of the healthiest soup around is the mongo (mungbean) soup. It is very inexpensive; goes a long way around and easy to prepare although to refine it, one must take the extra step. You can prepare with or without the pork but having it included, does give it extra flavor and texture. What also gives the soup an extra nutritional lift is adding the mallungay leaves or spinach or chili leaves or ampalaya leaves. With the rise in vegetable-based diets, this is a popular one – sans the pork belly.
Mongo Soup (Mung Bean Soup)
- 1 cup of dried mongo (mung beans) - soak in water with 1 teaspoon of salt, overnight
- 250 grams pork belly - sliced into tiny ¼ -inch strips (optional if vegetarian)
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup bagoong alamang (fermented shrimp paste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups of broth or water
- 8 cups of water for boiling the mung beans in
- 1 cup of malunggay leaves or 2 cups of baby spinach leaves or chili or ampalaya leaves
Beans must be soaked in water in a bowl, with about 2 inches over the beans with water and 1 teaspoon of salt, overnight. When ready to cook, drain and rinse the beans in a colander.
There are two ways of cooking the soup; one way is to tenderize the beans in 8 cups of water and then running a handheld blender to make a puree. The other is to just add the beans to the sautéed pork and let tenderize in the mixture. I personally like it when the mung bean is pureed; seems to taste much better and has that smooth taste. In the old days, it’s is cooked in water till very tender and then strained.
In a 12 cup capacity saucepan, pour in cooking oil set over medium-low heat.
Add garlic and onions and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the pork bits and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.
Then add the bagoong and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.
Now pour in the pureed mung beans and turn the heat to low.
If the soup is too thick, first add the 1 cup of broth and continue to simmer until the pork is tender.
Season with salt and pepper and if desired, some more bagoong.
Just before serving, add the leaves you like and simmer for about 2 minutes or 3 and then serve.