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Our sud-an for lunch. Monggo (mung beans) is another staple of the Ilonggo kitchen. Actually there are many possible combinations with monggo.

Monggo with alogbati, latoy & tinuktuk nga karne (what I’ll share today)
Monggo with langka
Monggo with ubad sang saging

Ah yes, people in Manila have this dish called ginisang monggo na may dahon ng ampalaya, not so popular with us Ilonggos.
Monggo is protein-rich. Monggo is also cheap and can feed many. In the market, we buy monggo by the salmon (an empty evaporated milk can) or already packed in plastic. Another of monggo’s virtues is that you can keep it for months.

Here’s monggo recipe no. 1 now.
UTAN NGA MONGGO
(MONGO NGA MAY ALUGBATI, KALABASA KAG LATOY)

You will need:
2 cloves garlic
cooking oil (about a tablespoon)
1 small Bombay (onion)
a handful of ground pork (you can also have dried fish or shrimps)

salt to taste
alugbati
kalabasa, cut into cubes (squash, cubed)
latoy (string beans)
monggo (green or yellow)

How to:

1. Boil your monggo in about 2 cups of water until the seeds soften and break (you get just a slightly mushy consistency). Set aside.
2.Saute the garlic, then onions. Add the ground pork. Stir for a while to bring out the juices.
3.Add the softened monggo (include the water it was boiled in). Bring to a boil. (You can add the salt at this point. Taste to see if acceptable. Others add the salt towards the end of the cooking.
4.Add the kalabasa cubes.
5.Add the latoy.
6.When they’re soft (don’t overcook), add the alogbati.
7.Mix for a few minutes, remove from the stove and serve.

Actually I have trouble giving the dish a title. We don’t call our utan nga monggo by specific names. “Anu sud-an ta? (What’s for lunch? Dinner?) We don’t answer “Utan nga monggo nga may alogbati, kalabasa kag latoy.” That would be pretty funny. We just say, “Monggo or utan nga monggo.”

Unlike western dishes which have specific names, our Ilonggo viands just go by generic names. When we say utan nga monggo, for instance, it can have a variety of vegetables to go with the monggo. I think this is the ability of Ilonggo’s and the Filipino people in general to be flexible, to be able to adapt to circumstances and availability of ingredients for that matter. The rural Ilonggos would simply check what’s available in their garden to add to their monggo. If they have an alogbati plot, then they’d use some. If they have a fruiting langka tree, they’d probably use it too. Of course times are changing. People don’t plant that much anymore perhaps for lack of time, space or zeal. So off they go to their public markets or nearby talipapa to buy the vegetables for their utan.