I was at my mother’s place for a weekend break and as soon as I entered the kitchen I noticed a bag full of Winged Beans fresh from our farm! I hadn’t seen Winged Beans in a very long time as they are almost never available in markets, especially in Bangalore. I was delighted to see them and wanted to capture these beauties for One Green Planet immediately. Winged beans are quite common vegetable in some of the Asian countries. They are not available in all parts of India and are very special, with a unique flavor with a nice crunch. For those of you who don’t know about this vegetable: Winged Beans are also known as Goa Bean, Asparagus Pea and Winged Pea. They grow in creepers, in hot humid weather and are similar to soybeans in nutritional content! This bean has been called the "one species supermarket" because practically all of the plant is edible. The beans are used as a vegetable, but the other parts (leaves, flowers, and tuberous roots) are also edible. The tender pods, which are the most widely eaten part of the plant (and best eaten when under 1" in length), can be harvested within two to three months of planting. The flowers are often used to color rice and pastries. The flavor of the beans has a similarity to asparagus. The young leaves can be picked and prepared as a leaf vegetable, similar to spinach. The roots can be used as a root vegetable, similar to the potato, and have a nutty flavor; they are also much richer in protein than potatoes. The dried seeds can be useful as flour and also to make a coffee-like drink. Each of these parts of the winged bean provides sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and other vitamins. They are commonly used in my region in cooking, mostly in stir fries with some basic spices. What I dislike about our traditional stir fries is the overcooking and over spicing of the vegetables. I wanted to make something with South Indian flavours without losing out on the winged bean crunch and slight bitterness. I made this simple salad with fresh coconut which is abundant in our area. Textures and flavours worked beautifully in this recipe. Winged bean was still nice and crunchy and coconut added a lot of juicy sweetness to it. It’s seasoned simply with some fresh lime juice and a typical south Indian ‘tempering’ of coconut oil, mustard seeds, dry red chili and a few fresh springs of curry leaves. My entire family enjoyed my new take on an old favorite vegetable. This light refreshing salad is the perfect nutritious and delicious meal for salad lovers.
Indian Winged Bean Salad with Fresh Coconut [Vegan]
- 2 cups chopped wing beans
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut
- 1-2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1-2 dry red chili
- 2 springs on fresh curry leaves
- Clean and chop the wing beans into the desirable size. Boil 4 cups of water with 1 tsp salt. When it comes to a rapid boil, toss the chopped wing beans in and turn off the heat. Let the wing beans sit in water till it changes its colour and turns bright green. Strain it immediately and place it in ice cold water to stop it from cooking further.
- Place the blanched wing beans in a large bowl. Add the freshly grated coconut and a pinch of salt. Squeeze some fresh lime juice and toss it well.
- For the tempering, heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and the dry red chilies. When the mustard seeds are spluttering add the curry leaves and turn off the heat. Add the tempering to the salad and serve immediately.