1/2 cup organic mung beans
1 cup organic Jasmine brown rice
5-7 cups filtered water
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup Chaokoh canned coconut milk (shaken before using)
1/4 cup brown sugar

Toast the mung beans in a deep dry skillet (preferably stainless steel) for 5-7 minutes, stirring now and then, over medium high heat until the beans have started to change color and are becoming fragrant. Add the brown rice and continue to toast, stirring frequently, until brown rice has also changed color and become fragrant. Add 2 cups water and salt and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring every 10-15 minutes or until brown rice is almost completely cooked, about 45 minutes. Take half of the bean-rice mixture, and process in a blender — in batches if necessary — with 3 cups of water, until creamy. Return to skillet and combine with the remaining rice. Add the brown sugar and cook for 15-30 more minutes or until beans and rice are completely cooked, adding water as necessary to achieve the consistency you want.

This is based on a basic Filipino snack, one of our many ginataan dishes (those cooked in coconut milk), which can also be served for breakfast, or even for dessert.

I’ve increased the amount of mung beans from what is called for traditionally, for added nutritional value. Originally, we toast the mung beans until they are browned, sometimes toasting it to the just the point of almost-burned. I’ve shortened the toasting time to cut down on any carbon produced, and to preserve the greenness of the mung bean, which, I’m theorizing, also preserves the nutrients better. This also allows me to eliminate the step of removing the hull, thereby increasing the fiber content of the dish. Brown rice is used instead of glutinous rice, for added fiber as well as nutrition, and to lower the glycemic load. A bit of salt is added to balance flavors, and only a minimal amount of coconut milk is used, to keep the saturated fat low. Pureeing the mung beans and rice in the blender makes it creamy, thereby mimicking the texture of the original. One-fourth cup of brown sugar, I find, adds just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy my (and dh’s) sweet tooth without spiking blood-glucose levels. I am thinking of trying Xylitol next time, though I’m still skeptical about its pros and cons. Or maybe I’ll use organic raw cane sugar. Neither of us have diabetes, but I’m hoping that making dishes like this might help prevent the disease (and others). All in all, a very satisfying substitute to an oft-missed food.