Thai bean is an indispensable part of the versatile Thai cuisine. Mung bean, Thai red bean and black bean are some of the most commonly used varieties of bean in Thailand. These beans lend themselves to various Thai dishes such as soups, noodles, curried dishes and even to salads.
Thai bean is available both in fresh as well as dried forms and sold in packaged or loose form. There is a wide-spread bean market in the country flooded with hundreds of big and small bean manufacturers.
Culinary Uses of Beans in Thailand
Beans are commonly used in Thai cuisine where they are incorporated as whole, sprouted and dried forms. Quite often the starch obtained from beans is also used to make jellies and noodles.
The fluffy and crispy batter is prepared from the bean flour that is widely used in making crepes or Thai pancakes. Whole dried beans such as kidney beans and black beans are used to make several Thai curries and soups. Whole beans are generally soaked in water overnight and boiled until soft, before inculcating into dishes. Dumplings, soups and stews are some such dishes.
Thai desserts also make good use of bean paste that is often combined with sugar and coconut milk. A porridge-like dessert made with mung bean paste is extremely popular in Thai cuisine.
Sprouted Thai beans are extensively used in salads, and stews, and often stir-fried with noodles and meats to make delicious Thai dishes.
Varieties of Thai Beans
- Mung beans – These beans are particularly used in Chinese cuisine, but have varied uses in Thai cuisine. These beans are used in all forms starting from whole to sprouted and boiled to dry.
- Red beans – These are most commonly known as red kidney beans. They come in large as well as small size and are used to make Thai curry dishes. Boiled red bean often lends itself to salads and soups.
- Sator bean – Known as ‘parkia speciosa’, this green bean is commonly used in southern Thailand. Normally, it is sold fresh in pods or the seeds in packaged form. Canned, frozen and brine pickled sator beans are highly popular in Thai cuisine as well as other cuisines.
- Winged bean – Also known as Goa bean, is extensively used in Thai dishes in fresh from. This bean is considered a vegetable with a taste resemblance to asparagus. The dried seeds of this Thai bean are particularly used to make bean flour and incorporated to make coffee-like drinks.