“You should try Xin’s winged bean salad. It’s much nicer than this restaurant’s version,” said Mr. P to ZP, who was passing by Bangkok and having a dinner with us on a Monday evening. Seriously, I don’t think my winged bean salad is that delicious—still lots of room for improvement—but to receive such encouraging remarks, particularly from someone dear, I was touched and even more determined to improve my cooking skills.
Some time back, I declared to Mr. P that winged bean salad will be one of the Thai dishes I’d master to whip up for family and friends in future. Besides it being a simple dish with little preparation time needed, it’s also one of my favourite Thai dishes. I like the different textures, layers and colors to a good winged bean salad. For me, roasted peanuts are a vital ingredient—it adds fragrance and extra crunchiness to the dish. Do request for winged bean salad, or yam thua phluu (ยำถั่วพลู), at a Thai restaurant if you haven’t had a chance to try it!
Winged beans are also known as four-angled beans (kind of obvious, isn’t it? They have four frilly ‘corners’). Their Chinese names—四角豆 or 四棱豆—describe their appearances just like their English names, whereas in Thai, they are thua phluu (ถั่วพลู). When they are cut, the cross-section resembles a ‘X’.
* 300 grams of winged beans, around 8-10 strings, sliced into small pieces of approximately 1 cm each (finer if you like them skinny).
* 200 grams of shrimps, shelled and de-veined
* 100 grams minced pork
* coconut milk, around 1/3 cup
* 10 grams of shallot, sliced and fried
* 1 tablespoon of sugar
* 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
* 2 tablespoons of phrik phao
* 1 bird’s eye chilli, chopped finely
* 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts
* Half a lime
* 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced into quarters (optional)
1. Parboil the winged beans briefly in boiling water; remove and douse them into cold water to retain the colour. (Make sure to have a bowl of cold water handy.) Set aside.
2. Blanch the shrimps in the same pot of boiling water. Set aside.
3. Heat up a pan. Put in the minced pork, stirring it until cooked.
4. Keeping the pan on low heat, add the winged beans, shrimps, peanuts and chillies. Stir and mix well.
5. Add sugar, fish sauce and phrik phao according to stipulations or to taste. Mix and blend well until sugar is dissolved. Then add coconut milk. Switch off the heat. Squeeze the lime wedge and then give the mixture a quick, final stir.
6. Place the mixture onto a plate. Sprinkle fried shallots on top of the dish and decorate the sides of the plate with the sliced eggs (optional). Serve.