This superb winged bean salad is super simple, and the only cooking involved is the browning of the shallots and chilli! The lime juice kind of pickles and softens the beans, so they should be cut super thin. Like paper-thin enough to put on a microscope slide. You’ll love the burst of contrasting flavours from the savoury moreishness of the dried shrimps, the tang of the lime juice, and the spiciness from the chillies.
This vegetable, also known as kacang botol, or four-angled bean, is unique to South-East Asia even though it can be grown in similar climates. It is very common among Malay or Peranakan cuisines. It looks like a green skinny starfruit. The vegetable looks like a four-pointed star when you cross-cut it. Here’s a tip for buying them: get it only when fresh and bright, they don’t last long. They are a delightful morsel to your taste buds when you find bouncy feathery beans. The winged bean salad has a crunchy texture and tastes great raw. You can blanch the beans if you prefer a less raw, grassy taste. It complements all kinds of Asian food, from heavy earthy dishes like curries or rendang to light porridge or soup noodles.