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Sataw Beans – Sadtaw or Sator or Sataw*

by Kasma Loha-unchit

See also: Information on Winged Bean & Stir-fried Shrimp with Sadtaw recipe.

Sataw Beans Sadtaw is a prized vegetable in the southern region of Thailand. It actually is not a vegetable, but the young beanlike seeds of a large tree, carried in long, flat and wavy, over-sized, bright green seedpods. Each seedpod yields only a small handful of seeds.

The biological name of this bean is Parkia speciosa and they are called petai beans in English.

Sataw Beans Bunches of these colorful seedpods can be seen hanging from stalls in just about every open-air marketplace in the southern provinces, as well as fruit and vegetable stands along major roadsides. Because it is fairly expensive and a delicacy, it is used sparingly, even in the dishes in which it is featured. Only a few bites of the tasty seeds with shrimp in a spicy sauce are enough to satisfy a craving. The sauce in Stir-fried Shrimp with Sadtaw recipe is a truly southern combination of flavors – very pungent and meant to be eaten with plenty of rice.

Sataw BeansIn my recipes, I suggest substituting the sadtaw with fava beans because they are approximately the same size and color with a slight bitter taste. Lima beans and broad beans may also be used; adjust the cooking times as needed to tenderize them.

[Note from Kasma's husband, Michael – Sataw beans are often called "stink beans" in English. When the beans are fresh, I notice very little smell at all. It is only with older beans or with frozen beans that there is much of a smell: that is another reason that Kasma recommends using fava beans in the United States rather than the frozen sadtaw, which are available at many Asian markets.]

Kasma teaches the recipe Spicy Southern-Style Stir-Fried Shrimp with Sadtaw or Fava Beans (Gkoong Pad Sadtaw) in Advanced Series Set C (class 3).

This blog has some good pictures: The Stink Bean – A Little Smelly, A Lot of Flavor

* Note on transliteration: These beans are usually spelled "sataw" or "sator." In Thailand, there is a consonant that is pronounced midway between a "d" and a "t". That is the consonant used in the Thai name of this bean and is why Kasma spells it sadtaw.

Copyright © 2009 Kasma Loha-unchit. All rights reserved.

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