Saturday, 6 April 2013

Wing Beans – Adding Zing to Greens

I was introduced to wing beans late in life. I remember it pretty well – it was an office lunch, a potluck, and one of my Malay colleagues contributed an interesting Asian salad.  Its sauce was fairly typical: prawn paste (hei go), crushed peanut, assam juice, and chili sambal; quite similar to rojak. But the combination of greens was intriguing. There was turnip, pineapple, ginger flower, guava, snake fruit, and of course, wing beans.

Just like aragula, wing beans contribute a surprising, refreshing “green” taste, and a hint of bitterness. Wing beans basically add depths of sweetness and a hint of "rawness" to any veggy cocktail, and because of that, I fell in love with it. Nowadays I like wing beans however it’s done -- in salads or simply fried with belachan.

When a Hong Kong newspaper asked me for a Singapore recipe for their Singapore supplement, I contributed the one below without hesitation.

Wing Bean Salad

Wing bean                             1 cup
Long bean                              ½ cup, blanched in hot water
Cucumber                              ¼ cup, cubed
Red chili                                  2, sliced thickly
Onion                                      ½, sliced thickly

Fried shallots                      2 tbsp   
Dried shrimps                     2 tbsp, soaked and deep fried
Coriander                             1 sprig, sliced

Salad Sauce (mixed thoroughly):
Sriracha                                  3 tbsp
Tomato                                  1 tbsp
Peanut oil                              ¼ cup
Calamansi juice                   1 tbsp
Sugar                                       ½ tbsp
Salt                                           ¼ tsp
White pepper                      ¼ tsp
Durian                                    3 seeds, deseeded
Calamansi                             2, juiced
Sugar                                      1/3 tbsp
Salt                                          a pinch

1.              Assemble all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2.              Pour salad sauce slowly and toss with the ingredients until it is sufficiently wet.
3.              Spoon the salad in a serving bowl and top with the garnishings.