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Winged Bean (Sigarilyas)

Updated on September 11, 2017
Winged bean (psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
Winged bean (psophocarpus tetragonolobus) | Source

The winged bean, known as sigarilyas in the Philippines is a tropical legume plant that grows in the country's humid, warm climate. Sigarilyas is a vine that can be grown as an annual, twining plant that can grow up to 9 to 13 feet in height. The plant bears pale to bright blue flowers that can be eaten raw in salads and is a high source of protein.

All parts of the plant is edible, but it is is the pods that is usually seen sold in the markets. Once in a while mom and I would spot winged bean pods on sale on a Vietnamese market we used to go to, and she would always get 1 or 2 packed of winged beans. I loved them stir fried.

This plant can climb into anything too or support. My childhood memories of our winged bean plant was the plant sharing the same spot with our purple yam plant. Cooked in coconut milk, it was my first taste of winged bean and since then, I had liked these four edges bean.

All parts of the plants can be consumed, and that includes the roots. It is high in protein, like other parts of the plants. And the matured seeds can be roasted. The young leaves and shoots can be blanch, can be eaten raw, and is also used to Filipino soup dish, sinigang. While the pods growing up to 9 inches long, they are best consumed when they are young as they would be stringy and tough to chew on when matured. Blanch them, sautee, or use them as you would usually use beans.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Prepared winged beans with onions and garlic. Shredded smoke fish.Cooking winged bean in coconut milk.
Prepared winged beans with onions and garlic.
Prepared winged beans with onions and garlic. | Source
Shredded smoke fish.
Shredded smoke fish. | Source
Cooking winged bean in coconut milk.
Cooking winged bean in coconut milk. | Source

Cooking With Winged Bean

The younger the winged bean, the softer and most enjoyable they are for consumption, suggesting a hint of asparagus flavor with a bit of sweetness. Once sigarilyas, or winged bean becomes mature, the texture becomes tougher so it is better to pick those winged beans when they are no more than 6 inches long if you have them in your vegetable garden.

My favorite, stir-fried winged beans with some soy sauce to taste and that's it. Ground meat is a choice but I enjoy winged beans just like that.

Here's a few ways on how to cook winged beans, or how it is consumed:

* Being stir-fried, as said, add your choice of ground meat and sautee the winged bean in garlic and onion, and soy sauce to taste. You could also add other vegetables to it, long beans and string beans are the two favorite choices in the Philippines.

* It is cook in coconut milk with shredded smoked fish, onions, and garlic. Simmered until cooked. Or cut them about an inch, in halves and cook it in coconut milk together with squash.

* When blanched, winged beans is enjoyed with shrimp paste.

* Some also cook sigarilyas in Filipino soup dish called sinigang.

* Winged bean is also pickled in the Ilocos part of the Philippines.

Winged beans, prepared for cooking.
Winged beans, prepared for cooking. | Source

Why is winged bean called a "winged bean" ?

The goa bean is also called winged beans because of the four edges which is ruffled, somehow replicates wings.

Some other names of the winged bean

Although winged bean has been known to Asia, this vegetable indeed looks like an unusual one for those who haven't seen this green, four edges winged bean. It is known as sigarilyas in the Philippines, but is also known for some other names in other countries, and who knows, you probably had heard one of these names before?

* Mountain bean in Lao

* Kalamismis or sigarilyas in Tagalog

* Sirahu avalai in Tamil

* Shikakumame in Japanese

* Kacang botol in Malaysia

And is also known as goa pea and asparagus pea

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Winged bean flowers.
Winged bean flowers.
Winged bean flowers. | Source

Did you know?

* Flowers of the goa bean is used to give color to pastries.

* Winged beans are often pickled in Southern India and Sri Lanka.

* This tropical legume is native to Papua New Guinea.

* Winged bean has a possibility to become animal fodder.

* The tubers are a high source of protein which is as high as 20% protein.


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    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      @ Rajan:

      Still, good to know you get winged beans there thou they're not as long as these :) What do you call these beans? Thanks for the up,shared and visit.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      The winged beans that we get here are not as long as these. But they are not commonly available too.

      Voted up and shared.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      @ Avian:

      And I think you would also like how these winged beans taste. :)


      Indeed. And a healthy eat too. :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Goa beans sounds great!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I would definitely like those beans.


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