How to Cook Balatong

Close-up of mung bean

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Balatong is a traditional Filipino soup made primarily from mung beans and vegetables. There are several variations of balatong recipes, but the basis is typically similar. Modify the recipe, removing or replacing any of the meats of vegetables with your own, to customize balatong. You can find most of the ingredients to make balatong at either your local grocer or Asian market. You will need approximately one hour to cook balatong. This recipe serves two to four.

Rinse the mung beans under cold, running water in a strainer. Pour the rinsed mung beans into a large pot and cover with 2 cups of cool water. Boil the beans over high heat until they are soft or for about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and leave the beans to simmer until the water evaporates.

Pour the vegetable oil into a saucepan and place over medium heat while the beans cook. Add the garlic, yellow onion and ginger. Stir for three minutes.

Add the tomatoes and pork to the saucepan and continue to cook until the meat is browned on all sides. Drizzle the fish sauce over the contents of the saucepan and stir continuously for five minutes.

Stir the cooked mung beans into the saucepan and add the chicken broth. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the shrimp and bittermelon leaves to the saucepan and cook until the shrimp turn opaque. Remove from the heat and serve while hot.