Biko and Ginataang Munggo are two well-loved traditional Filipino snacks. Each has their own character and are equally good. The thought of making this dish came about one day when I craved that distinct taste of ginataang munggo but not the part where I had to scoop it into a bowl and eat with a spoon. I wanted something that I can just grab or stick a fork into and easier to pack for a picnic or bring to potlucks.
Then came the recipe testing. Imagining how it looked and tasted is different from reality. It took me a few times before I came up with the right taste and texture. The first try was so promising…until I took my first bite. It smelled great, looked great but some of the mung beans were undercooked. Every bite was a challenge (and scary) as I was afraid I might chip a tooth. Haha! But I had no choice…I had to make sure that it was the only thing that missed the mark.
I thought of soaking the beans first but the extra process and time seemed like forever. Then, I remembered there’s this thing that’s sold at the supermarket called split mung beans (on the packaging). So I bought a pack from the nearest asian store and voila it worked! Though cracking some whole mung beans after toasting also works, the split beans assure you that they will cook evenly and be done by the time the biko is ready.
Here’s the result of my tests and it definitely ticked off all the boxes that I set – look, taste and texture.
Munggo Biko (Rice Cake with Toasted Mung Beans)
- ⅓ – ½ cup split mung beans toasted* (see notes)
- 2 cups glutinous rice
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 400 ml can coconut milk I used Cha’s organic
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- To toast mung beans: Add split mung beans in a dry frying pan and cook (while tossing and stirring continuously) until brown and toasted. Set aside.
- Place rice in a lidded pot (preferably nonstick). Wash 2x until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain well and add 2 ½ cups of water and stir in the toasted mung beans. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, stir well, replace the lid and simmer on the lowest setting for 15 minutes.
- In a large nonstick pan, add the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Stir and cook on medium heat until boiling. Then, add the cooked rice. Lower the heat (medium-low) and continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed and rice pulls away from the sides of the pan. This will take between 10-15 minutes depending on how soft you want your rice. Mung beans will be fully cooked but still intact.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!