Winged beans, sometimes known as Goa Beans are an Asian vegetable that has started to appear over in the west in the local oriental supermarkets. You will have to do some hunting, but it’s well worth the effort if you can get your hands on them, as they are simply delicious, a very summery taste and highly nutritious to boot. In Thailand, you will most often comes across them in the Thai salads, yam tua phu
, winged bean salad.
What you need for Thai Winged Bean Salad
250g Minced Pork
A small bag of red shallots
Couple of chunky cloves of garlic
4-5 dried red chillies, de-seeded
500g winged beans
Tablespoon of Dried Shrimps
Couple of Limes
Coconut Milk (Small can or carton)
Preparing and cooking a Thai Winged Bean Salad
Wash the winged beans and then top/tail and cut into 2″ bits. Set Aside.
Chop up the shallots, 1 tablespoon nice and small, 2 tablespoon sliced.
Chop up the garlic and chillies into small pieces.
Heat a little oil and first fry off the small shallots for a few minutes, then add the garlic and chillies.
Fry it all until the shallots go sticky, garlic goes brown. Allow to cool a bit.
When cool, pound in a pestle and mortar until just a red paste – five minutes or more.
Meanwhile, bring a pan of water up to boiling and blanch the winged beans for 20 to 30 seconds no more.
Immediately drain and refresh in cold water, preferably iced – you want then to stop cooking and keep that lovely green colour.
Boil up another pan of water and add the minced pork, Just break into small bits as you add. Cook on a rolling boil for 6 to 8 minutes – towards the end of the cooking time, toss in a tablespoon of dried shrimps.
Drain but reserve the cooking liquid.
Either use a mixing bowl or do it straight in the mortar, but now that the red chilli, shallot, garlic paste has cooled, add a good teaspoon of sugar (if you can get palm sugar, use that, but otherwise white is fine), juice of 1 lime and tablespoon of fish sauce.
This is Asian salad dressing, so adjust it to taste as you would when you make a western one – it should be sweet, slightly acerbic, spicy and not too runny.
Take the remaining shallots, heat some more oil to hot and fry them quickly till crisp, draining on paper towel.
We actually prefer to also crisp the dried shrimps rather than briefly boil as above but that’s up to you.
Warm 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut milk.
Now take the winged beans and minced pork and mix together, making sure that you break up any larger balls of the meat.
Add the dressing, turn over and coat thoroughly, then add the coconut milk and do the same.
Transfer to a nice low dish and sprinkle the fried shallots and crispy dried shrimp on top.
Serve with jasmine rice and maybe a very quickly cooked fluffy omelette, putting both that and the winged bean salad on the table so everyone can take a couple of spoons at a a time – Thai style.
Serves 4 for a nice lunch.
Menu Tips and Terms
Yam Tua Phu – yam, salad, tua, bean, phu, winged.
Tip – cook the rice in the cooking liquid reserved from the minced pork.
If no you have no luck in tracking down winged beans, try Kenyan dwarf beans, sugar snap peas or even asparagus as a substitute.
You could use prawns instead of pork, simple blanch for 30 to 40 seconds or a combination of both.
You can use light soy sauce in place of the fish sauce.