Ginisang Munggo is sorta like the Philippine’s version of dal. Translating to "Sautéed Mung Beans," this dish, sometimes known as Monggo Guisado, has a vibrant history deeply rooted in Filipino homes and bustling markets. As the fragrant steam of garlic, ginger, and bird's eye chilies wafts through the air, this soup embodies a perfect blend of savory and earthy flavors.
Dal comes in all shapes and sizes from sattvic chana dal, and red lentil dal to dal tadka dripping with whole spices tempered in hot oil. Ginisang Munggo is a staple on its own, with spinach and umami notes that loudly and proudly answer the question “where do vegans get their protein from?”
Get ready to savor the warmth and authenticity of this Filipino classic – it's time to make Ginisang Munggo a table of your home cooking repertoire. Let's cook!
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
🍲 Umami Harmony: The perfect balance of soy sauce and vegan fish sauce creates an umami symphony that elevates the entire dish. You will see how different these flavors make Ginisang Munggo a standout compared to other dals.
✅ Tested and Approved Worldwide: Rigorously tested by a team of recipe testers from all over the planet, this Ginisang Monggo recipe guarantees success no matter where you are on Earth.
🌶️Notable ingredients and substitutions
Mung Beans (Monggo)
Closely related to urad dal (what you would use to make Vadai), split green mung beans are a powerhouse of plant-based protein and fiber. I use split ones because they cook so much faster. Substituting with yellow split peas or toor dal maintains the basic vibe if mung beans aren't on hand.
Beyond their nutrient-packed profile, mature spinach leaves cook much better than baby spinach leaves. Same reason I use 'em for making saag aloo. Substituting with kale or Swiss chard maintains the nourishing leafy goodness.
Coconut Milk (Gata)
Full-fat canned coconut milk imparts a luxurious creaminess and elevates the dish with a hint of natural sweetness. That’s why the stuff is a dream come true for making so many naturally dairy-free Southeast Asian desserts like bubur sum sum, che ba mau, biji salak, and rice dishes like nasi uduk. Don’t use coconut cream, as this is better reserved for recipes like kem chuoi.
Bird's Eye Chilies (Siling Labuyo)
Adding flavorful heat is why I use these in everything from Thai pad woon sen to Burmese khao suey. Finely sliced, they infuse warmth without overpowering. Use habaneros for more heat or jalapeños for a little less heat. You can also adjust the quantity for your desired spice level.
Plant-based Fish Sauce
Crafting that elusive umami note, vegan fish sauce complements soy sauce seamlessly and deepens the overall flavor of this dish. If you want more heat and complexity, substitute with some of my nuoc cham, and if you want to accentuate the sweetness, substitute with vegetarian oyster sauce.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
- 🍲 Bicol Express Twist: Give your Ginisang Munggo a Bicolano flair by infusing it with the fiery goodness of Bicol Express. Swap out coconut cream for the coconut milk, add more bird's eye chilies, and perhaps a dash of tangy, funky coconut vinegar and a spoonful of nam prik pao. I LOVE it this way!
- 🌱 Ilocano-Inspired Greens: Channel the flavors of the Ilocos region by adding a generous handful of malunggay leaves (moringa). This variation not only introduces a distinctly local touch but also boosts the nutritional content with the powerhouse properties of moringa.
📖 How to cook Ginisang Munggo like a pro
Nail this Filipino mung bean soup on your first shot by following these step-by-step instructions with helpful tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Start the tofu topping:
Warm 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat. After 90 seconds, toss in diced tofu, stir-frying for 6-7 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Transfer the fried tofu to a bowl; combine with minced garlic, tamari, and white vinegar. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté diced onion, grated ginger, minced garlic, and sliced bird’s eye chilies for about four minutes until fragrant.
Develop the Base:
Stir in diced tomato, salt, and black pepper. Sauté for approximately 6 minutes until the tomato starts to break down.
Mung Bean Simmer:
Combine green split mung beans, seven cups water or stock, soy sauce, and vegan fish sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the mung beans reach tender perfection. Adjust consistency with water if the consistency starts getting crazy-thick.
Stir in the washed and chopped mature spinach leaves, letting them wilt into the flavorful soup, but don’t overcook.
The (coconut) milkman has come to call:
Just before serving, gently stir coconut milk into the soup. This quick incorporation brings the dish to an ideal eating temperature and prevents any chance of the coconut milk curdling.
Garnish and Serve:
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fried tofu pieces, fresh chives, and optional fried shallots. Finish with a sprinkle of thinly sliced bird’s eye chili and finely minced red onion.
A side to go with the soup like banh bao chay, crispy rice dumplings, or crispy onion bhaji could be just the thing! A nice fresh salad like asinan sayur, urap sayur or Vietnamese rice paper salad with Yuba and homemade seitan makes a nice nourishing meal.
- Meticulous Mung Beans: No one likes to eat (what to speak of trying to digest) undercooked legumes. Simmering them for the full 30 minutes ensures perfectly cooked mung beans.
- Coconut Milk Finesse: Stirring coconut milk just before serving is crucial. This prevents curdling and also swiftly brings the soup to an ideal eating temperature.
As long as you use tamari instead of regular ol’ soy sauce and ensure your vegan fish sauce is gluten-free for a delicious gluten-free version.
Ginisang Munggo’s flavors deepen when allowed to chill out for a bit, making it a perfect dish to prepare in advance. It also freezes well, so you can have a nourishing meal on hand whenever you don’t feel like cooking.
Certainly! Adjust the quantity of bird’s eye chilies to your spice preference for a milder experience.
Transfer any leftover Ginisang Munggo to an airtight container and refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Consume within four days for the best quality, as the flavors may intensify over time.
🔥 Stovetop Reheating:
Gently reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.
Add a splash of water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
Once thoroughly heated, serve and enjoy!
🍲 Microwave Reheating:
Place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish.
Microwave on medium heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval.
Adjust consistency with a little water as needed.
Once heated through, your Ginisang Munggo is ready to be savored. Remember to use microwave-safe coverings to prevent splatters. Note: Avoid using plastic containers or wraps in the microwave.
✌️My faves to serve with this dish:
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Ginisang Munggo (Filipino Mung Bean and Spinach Soup)
Optional crisp tofu topping:
- 4 teaspoons olive oil or canola oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger
- 4 teaspoons garlic minced
- 2 thinly sliced bird’s eye chilies
- 1 ½ cups tomato diced
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups green split mung beans
- 8 cups unsalted vegetable stock or water
- 2 tablespoons tamari or a soy sauce of your choosing
- 2 tablespoons vegan fish sauce
- 1 lb. mature spinach leaves washed and roughly chopped
- 13.5 ounces coconut milk full fat
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives minced
- 2 teaspoons fried shallots optional
- 1 bird’s eye chili thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red onion finely minced
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat. After 90 seconds, when the oil is hot, stir fry the diced tofu for 6-7 minutes until crisp and lightly golden brown all over.
- Toss the fried tofu in a bowl and mix with the minced garlic, tamari, and white vinegar. Set aside.
- Heat 4 teaspoons of canola oil in a Dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, sauté diced onion, grated ginger, minced garlic, and sliced bird’s eye chilies for about four minutes until fragrant.
- Add diced tomato, salt, and black pepper. Continue to sauté for about 6 minutes until the tomato starts to break down.
- Pour in green split mung beans, stock or water, soy sauce and vegan fish sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 30 minutes until mung beans are tender. If the consistency gets too thick, add a little water to get it to the consistency you prefer.
- Stir in the washed and chopped mature spinach leaves.
- Cook until the spinach wilts. Just before serving, stir the coconut milk into the soup which will quickly bring it to a comfortable eating temperature, and will not give the coconut milk a chance to curdle.
- Serve the soup in bowls garnished with the fried tofu pieces, fresh chives, fried shallots (optional), thinly sliced bird’s eye chili, and finely minced red onion.