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Yongchak pods grow in clusters on tall trees, often becoming twisted and longer with maturity. The hard outer shell is green with protruding nodes to show where the individual beans lie within. The pods grow 12 to 18 inches long with 15-20 seeds per pod. Yongchak beans are bright green and look similar to fava beans. Their taste is rich and pungent and they have a soft and tender texture.
Yongchak is available in the late spring.
Yongchak, a very popular legume in India and Southeast Asia is known by two botanical names: Parkia roxburghii and Parkia speciosa. This long, often twisted bean has a unique smell earning it the nickname “stinky bean”. An amino acid in the bean is responsible for a residual effect similar to asparagus, reinforcing the “stinky” moniker.
Yongchak is a powerhouse of nutrients. Like other legumes, it contains a good amount of fiber. Yongchak has been used to treat stomach disorders and lower blood pressure. Studies have shown it has natural energy boosting sugars.
Yongchak is called Sator in Thailand; the beans are commonly stir fried with curry paste, garlic and chilies. To remove the seeds, use a sharp knife to cut the pod or scrape the outer layer off into a bowl. In Manipur, Yongchak is cooked with mashed potatoes, vegetables, chilies and fermented or smoked fish. Stir fried Yongchak with prawns is a popular dish in Thailand, made with chilies and garlic. Yongchak can be roasted in the pods and eaten similar to edamame. The beans can also be pickled in a sour brine, creating a slightly rubbery texture without the loss of flavor.
Yongchak is native to Southeast Asia and is a staple food in Manipur, a state in Northern India that is sandwiched between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Sataw tree, as it is called in Thailand, grows very tall and can be seen lining the streets and streams. The season for Yongchak is relatively short, before the pods turn brown. Other names for Yongchak include tree bean, petai, peteh, bitter bean, and smelly bean.
Recipes that include Yongchak. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Simple Thai Food||Stir-Fry Spicy Stink Bean|
|Nasi Lemak Lover||Sambal Prawns with Stink Beans|
|Thai Table||Stinky Beans and Shrimp|