Monggo con chicharon (mung bean stew with pork cracklings)

We Filipinos call pork cracklings chicharon so it’s safe to assume that these crisp fatty delicious nuggets form part of the Spanish colonial legacy.

Although chicharon (localized spelling is tsitsaron) is most popular as a snack and a pulutan (finger food served with beer or other alcoholic drinks), chicharon is also used in many dishes. For instance, ground chicharon is sprinkled on pancit palabok and la paz batchoy.

But did you know that whole chunks of chicharon can be added to vegetable stews and the result is really fantastic? It’s a trick I learned from Speedy. He told me how his mom would add chicharon to monggo in lieu of the usual chunks of pork belly, and the humble pot of mung bean stew would be so delicious.

We have tried it, of course, and I have to say that the best chicharon is the kind with a layer of fat attached to the puffed rind. For the following recipe, you can make your own chicharon or use store-bought. If you’re in the Philippines, I recommend Lapid’s unless you’re in Cebu where fantastic chicharon is so endemic so you’ll probably have more brands to choose from.

Recipe: Monggo con chicharon

Ingredients

  • 150 g. of monggo (green or yellow, your choice)
  • scrap pork bones (sold as soup bones in some groceries)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsps. of cooking oil
  • patis (fish sauce), to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, about half a teaspoonful
  • chunky vegetables (eggplants, okra and squash are my recommendations), diced
  • a generous handful of green leafy vegetables — spinach, kangkong (water / swamp spinach) or talbos ng kamote (sweet potato leaves)
  • chicharon, as much as you like

Instructions

  1. Boil the mung beans in about two cups of water for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan tightly and leave the mung beans to soak and swell for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat about three tablespoonfuls of cooking oil in a pan and saute the garlic, onion, chilis and tomato, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften.
  3. Add the pork bones to the pan and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Add the mung beans with the cooking liquid. Stir well. Add more water to make a rather thin mixture.
  5. Season with patis (fish sauce) and with freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour or until the mung beans are mushy and the mixture has thickened. You will need to stir the pot every 15 minutes or so, scraping the bottom of the pan, to make sure that the mung beans do not settle and stick to the bottom.
  6. Add the chunky vegetables, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Add the leafy vegetables and simmer for another five minutes.
  8. Taste one last time and adjust seasonings, if needed. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle the chicharon on top. Alternatively, add the chicharon along with the leafy vegetables and allow to boil into the stew. Your choice, really.

Monggo con chicharon (mung bean stew with pork cracklings)

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

  • natzsm

    What a coincidence, that is exactly what I am preparing for lunch today. I am using left over lechon kawali though.

    I purposely cook more than enough lechon kawali so I could toss them into pinakbet and monggo guisado and yes, pansit

    I never tried adding in okra or kang kong though. I usually add in talong or ampalaya for my chunky veggies and malunggay or dahon ng ampalaya for the leafy veggies.

    I am going to try this right now.

    Going to the market for the veggies! :)

    I also remember having this dish served in small bowls at Cafe Remedios in Malate a few years ago. It was superb BUT for 100+ pesos per serving- that was the most outrageously expensive monggo guisado I had in my whole life!

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      Bagnet is also a great option. :D