Immunity-boosting ingredient: Mung bean

Published September 25, 2020, 7:03 AM

by John Legaspi

Whether cooked sweet or savory, the mung bean makes for a mean dish

A staple in any Filipino kitchen, mung bean is a nutritious and versatile ingredient. Belonging to the legume family, mung bean was cultivated in East Asia, mainly in Persia and India, and later spread to China and throughout Southeast Asia. Dubbed as the poor man’s meat, it is the cheapest source of protein, which is why for as long as we can remember, Filipinos use mung beans when they abstain from eating meat every Friday during Lent.

Nutritional benefits

Apart from being rich in protein, mung bean is also potent with essential amino acids. These are acids the body cannot produce on its own like phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, arginine, and more. 

It also has antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, which reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Mung bean aids digestion and reduces blood pressure, being a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Plus, it has less carbs compared to other legumes, which are less likely to cause flatulence.

The best part, mung bean, due to its fiber and protein content, lowers the hunger hormone levels, helping individuals to lose weight.

How to cook

Mung bean is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked either savory or sweet.

Ginisang Monggo

One way is the Filipino classic ginisang monggo. There are many ways to cook the dish depending on your choice of additional protein—pork, chicken, shrimp, and tinapa (smoked fish). Seafood goes well with dahon ng ampalaya while chicken and pork are great with malunggay. Boil mung beans for 40 minutes. and set aside. In another pan, sauté garlic, onions, tomatoes, and ginger and stir in the protein. Pour the meat broth. Let it simmer then add the beans. Add seasoning to taste and chicharon for garnish.

Make a sweet dish like ginataang monggo. In a pot, add coconut milk. When it boils, pour in the uncooked sticky rice. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the milk is absorbed. In a separate pan, toast the mung beans until brown. Pound and add to the pot and stir. Serve in a bowl. Topping it with more coconut milk is optional.