Chicken Ubad with Monggo (Chicken with Banana Pith and Mung Beans)

Its vast lands and highland climate make the province an ideal home for simple folks to raise free-range, and poultry-farmed chickens, as well as planting an abundant variety of vegetables and fruit-bearing trees. Through the generations, there were many chicken dishes created out of necessity and curiosity.

One of the creative culinary dishes celebrating this domesticated fowl is the Chicken Ubad with Monggo. Notwithstanding its long name, this local soul food, with its very rich taste and texture, shows us how the marrying of the ingredients were crafted in this flavorsome recipe.

Inubaran na Manok, as many would call this dish, is often cooked with native chicken.

Chicken 101 Tip:     Cooking native chicken on wood fire brings out the deep and uniquely native natural taste.

Native chicken is commonly raised by households in rural areas as it provides food security and additional income. There are six domestic native breeds in the Philippines but the present market demands for the Darag native chicken because of its unique taste compared to others. Also, many consumers are more partial to this type of native chicken because of its distinctive flavor and texture. However, dressed native chicken isn’t a daily product in the market or grocery but when they are made available, it gets sold out immediately even if it’s priced higher.

Ubad, which is Banana Pith, is not to be confused with ubod, the Heart of Palm. In order to have it, one has to chop down the whole banana plant. Ubad is the thinnest, softest and innermost part of the banana stalk.  It is fibrous, edible and tasty. The ubad has become an ingredient that can be pickled or cooked. Fresh ubad should be cooked within the day for best quality and flavor. Longer exposure to air and light can make it tougher.

Monggo beans (mung beans) are easy to plant and can readily be stored for months. This high in fiber and protein vegetable is also low in calories and is best eaten with rice. Its light nutty flavors and versatility, especially when cooked in soup, becomes a perfect match with fish, pork, or chicken.

While cooking this dish, one would realize that the soft and sweet taste comes from the ubad. Adding monggo beans and lemongrass enhances the aroma and taste of it. This soup may only have three distinct ingredients and yet you find yourself going back for seconds. This hearty soup will leave you satisfied and definitely asking for more.

Recipe shared by Nanay Lucita Divino Tonato
77 years old
Head cook of the Velez-Gamban and Locsin-Gamboa families

Nanay Luz has been cooking these family recipes that have been passed on for generations. She learned how to cook from her mother at a young age and became proficient with some of the heirloom recipes of the families she worked with.

Chicken Ubad with Monggo


1/4 cup monggo or mung beans

Cooking oil for sautéing

2 - 1/2 inch slivers of ginger

1 medium onion, sliced

500 gms native chicken, cut into 6 servings

1 cup ubad or banana pith, sliced and chopped

 1 lemongrass

Lemongrass Preparation:

Fold the lemongrass stalk into a bundle - size of around 5 inches.
Using the thinnest leaf in the stalk, tie the lemongrass bundle into a knot.

Ubad Preparation:

1. Choose the top part of the banana trunk to get the tender ubad.

2. Remove the tough outer layer to get to the softer part.

3. Clean the pith or core by peeling out the outer layer and extra fibers using a small knife. You will notice that it is colored white and a bit smoother.

4. Thinly slice around half a centimeter like the size of a coin.

5. Using a barbecue stick, remove web-like fibers that connect the slices together to take out the acridity.

6. Put salt on the sliced ubad and squeeze it dry. This makes it possible for the ubad to absorb the flavor of the chicken and monggo.

7.   Set aside for around 30 minutes.


1. Boil the monggo in a pot.

2. In a separate and larger pot, put cooking oil and saute the ginger, onion, and tomato.

3. Add the chicken and simmer until it becomes slightly brown.

4. Add the ubad. Saute for a few minutes.

5. Add the monggo together with the boiled water.

6. Cover and allow to boil until chicken becomes tender.

7. Add lemongrass and boil for a few more minutes.

Makes 6 servings

Text by: Massah Gonzales-Gamboa
Photography by: Project Twenty Six

The marrying of local ingredients were crafted in this flavorsome soup dish. 

Lemongrass is one of the most used herbs used in Philippine cuisine and is cooked often with meats.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back for seconds!

Ubad or banana pith is actually a flower stalk that is crisp and has a mild, sweet-tart, vegetal flavor.

Chicken Ubad and Monggo is a local Negrense soul food that has a very rich taste and texture.

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft