This earthy dish consists of cooked mung beans added to a medley of sauteed vegetables — garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Then, during the final minutes of cooking, the very nutritious malunggay leaves rich in vitamin A, or bitter-melon leaves are thrown into the pot. Just before eating, the dish is further perked up with the juice of the kalamansi lime and a little olive oil. I have substituted spinach for the Filipino greens. Instead of the kalamansi lime, ordinary lime or lemon may be used.

From page 97 of Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking.


1 cup whole mung beans

5 tbs vegetable oil

cloves garlic, peeled and lightly mashed

medium-sized onions, peeled and chopped

3/4 lb red-ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2 lb tendder spinach leaves, well washed and separated

1 tsp salt

1 tbs lime juice

lime, cut into wedges

1/4 cup fruity olive oil (optional)


1. Clean and pick over the beans.  Wash in several changes of water.  Drain.  Put the beans and 5 cups water into a 2-quart pot and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the pot sit, covered, for 1 hour.  Bring the beans to a boil again.  Turn heat to low and simmer gently for 1.5 hours or until the beans are tender and slightly mushy.  Stir gently during the last half hour of cooking to prevent sticking.

2. Heat 5 tablespoons vegetable oil in an 8-inch wide saute pan over a medium flame.  When hot, put in the garlic.  Stir and fry until the garlic turns a pale brown color.  Add the onions.  Stir and saute them until they turn translucent.  Add the tomatoes.  Stir and fry for 5 to 6 minutes or until tomatoes just start to catch.  Add the cooked mung beans and bring to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes.  Now put in the spinach leaves, salt, and the 1 tablespoon lime juice.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until spinach is cooked.

3. Pass the lime wedges and olive oil on the side and serve with rice.


Serves 4 – 6


Meal   DinnerDish   Main Dish
Cooking Method   SauteedMain Ingredient   Beans/Legumes
Style   One Dish MealsPrep Time   less than 15 minutes
Cooking Time   2 hours 
Features   Dairy-Free, Diabetic-Friendly, High-Fiber, Low-Calorie, Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat, Low-Sodium, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat/Gluten-Free
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