Sataw, or stinky beans, are southern food. The name stinky beans is definitely earned, and recipes with stinky beans are for those who dare to try something not ordinary. You can look at stinky beans as the food to order when on a bad date. But if both of you are having stinky beans, like garlic, you'll not notice the other person's malodorousness. Once you look beyond the namesake trait, you will find that stinky beans add a unique flavor to the dishes they are in.
If you are driving down to the southern part of Thailand, you will see tall sataw trees lining the highways. The beans come in pods that are a foot to a foot and a half long with 15-20 beans per pod. The beans are about the size of your coat button or 2 centimeters in diameter. Sataw used to grow in the wild but is now cultivated. By nature, sataw trees do not have many pests, which make them easy to grow organically.
At Oriental markets, you can find fresh frozen stinky beans in the frozen food section and pickled stinky beans in glass jars. I have noticed that frozen stinky beans seem to smell stronger than when they are fresh. Most Thai recipes that use sataw call for fresh, but fresh frozen beans are a good substitute. The pickled ones are normally eaten with chili sauce (nam prik)
Stinky Beans and Shrimp - Pud Ped Sataw
Stinky Beans and Shrimp
Stinky beans and shrimp is a southern dish. Stinky bean trees grow wild in southern part of Thailand. The long coast lines of both the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand provide fresh seafood. If you have a chance to go to southern part of Thailand, try this dish and other stinky bean dishes.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 package Stinky Bean
1/2 cup shrimp
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon red curry paste
Stinky beans are available in the frozen food section at many Oriental markets. I use one package (4oz –almost one cup) for this recipe. The stinky beans may look like they are freezer burnt, but will reconstitute after soaking in water for a few minutes. Split the beans apart (they will split like peanuts). Peel and devein the shrimp.
Add a tablespoon of oil to a wok or pan over medium heat. Drop the curry paste in and try to break up the paste and stir it around to let the oil bring out the aroma and flavors in the curry paste. Drain the stinky beans and add them to the pan. Stir to coat the beans with curry paste for a minute. Add shrimp and stir until the shrimp are nearly cooked through. Add fish sauce and sugar. Stir again to mix in the fish sauce and sugar and turn off the heat. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
Serve hot with rice.