This is another one of those comfort foods that bring back fond memories of my childhood. I don't even use a recipe for this because I've been cooking this dish for as long as I can remember. It's only been recently though that I've discovered that a tablespoon or so of shrimp paste elevates this dish to whole new level. The shrimp paste adds so much umami, which I think translates best to the Filipino word malinamnam.
*Remember, these are approximations...
6 cups boiled mung beans
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 medium onion, slices
2 tomatoes, cubed
1/2 lb shrimps, peeled
1 tbsp. shrimp paste (bagoong)
salt (or fish sauce) and pepper to taste
2-3 cups green leafy vegetable, such as spinach or water cress
1. Boil the mung beans in lots of water until soft, about 30-45 minutes. Watch that the beans don't dry up. Add water as needed during the boiling process. Once done, set aside.
2. In a large pot, heat oil and saute garlic, onions and tomatoes, waiting until the garlic and onion are slightly brown before adding the tomatoes. Saute until tomatoes are very soft.
3. Add mung beans and cooking liquid. Season to taste. This is the time to add the shrimp paste, salt or fish sauce, and pepper.
4. Add shrimp. Simmer until shrimp turns opaque.
5. Add greens. Traditionally, bittermelon leaves are used, but I've used spinach and watercress with much success.
Some people will saute some pork with the garlic, onions and tomatoes. But this meat-free version is more healthful and tastes just as good :-)