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Nutrients In Petai - The Benefit Of Stinky Bean

Updated on November 15, 2014

What Is Petai?

Ever heard of this?

Yes, petai, a long, flat edible bean with bright green seeds which have a rather peculiar smell, characterized by some as being similar to natural gas?

It is a popular plant or dish in Laos, southern Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the northeastern India. They either sell the seeds in plastic bags or in bunches but still in the pods.

To be eaten, the petai need to be peeled first and the seeds (beans) can then be consumed directly, boiled or baked…it is also widely consumed by mixing with other foods, and the most famous is no others but sambal petai (a popular culinary delight).

A stinky bean with full of benefits
A stinky bean with full of benefits

Stinky Bean

Because of the pervasive smell, it bears a nickname “stinky bean” as well.

Eager and curious to find out why the name huh?!

Well, it's the smell itself that will linger in the mouth and body, as it contains certain amino acids, it gives a strong smell to one’s urine, you would be amazed enough for the effect that can be noticed up to two days long after consumption…

And to be frank, most of the time, most of us, I mean…myself, tend to forget its real name but always call it “stinky bean” instead of “petai”…yes, due to its effect…

A must to add in your daily diet
A must to add in your daily diet

A Must To Add To Your Daily Diet

For your information, petai does contain many nutrients.

It contains three natural sugars…sucrose, fructose and glucose and it contains fiber as well which gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proved that just two servings of petai provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 minutes workout. Besides this, it helps overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, so…if you do care about your health and nutrition always, this is a must to add to your daily diet.

bean with distinctive pungent smell
bean with distinctive pungent smell

Health Benefits

So, here it goes the benefits when it is added to your daily diet…

  1. Anemia – contains high iron, it stimulates the production of hemoglobin (red blood cells) in the blood, thus helps those in cases of anemia.
  2. Antioxidant – it can counter the damaging effects of free radicals which are reactive and unstable.
  3. Blood pressure – contains high potassium but low in salt, and because of this, it is so perfect to beat the blood pressure, thus, it bears the ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke. According to research in ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’, eating petai can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40 %, that’s pretty much huh, right?!
  4. Brain power – as already mentioned above, this potassium rich bean can assist learning by making people more alert and refreshed. Think about this, those monkeys…I mean...those active, alerts, smart and cunning ever monkeys…I know, they don’t eat stink bean, but they just love the fruit which is potassium rich, yes, that’s right, bananas…so, you get what I mean?
  5. Constipation – because of the high fiber, it helps restoring normal bowel action and helps overcoming the problem…
  6. Diabetes – it is a diet option for the diabetes for its ability to lower blood sugar level.
  7. Depression – For those who suffering from depression, try this! Many felt much better after eating this so called stink bean. This is because it contains tryptophan, a type of protein which the body converts into serotonin that make you relax, improve your mood and make you feel happier.
  8. Hangovers – make yourself a petai milkshake, sweetened with honey…the petai itself can calm the stomach and the honey can build up depleted blood sugar levels while the milk soothe and rehydrate your system.
  9. Heartburn – if you suffer from heartburn, well, try eating petai for soothing relief as it has a natural antacid effect in the body.
  10. Morning sickness – it does help to keep blood sugar levels up, so snacking on it between meals helps avoiding morning sickness.
  11. Mosquitoes bite – you might find it amazingly that by rubbing the affected area with the inside of the petai skin, it can successfully reduce any swelling and irritation…
  12. Nerves – for its high in B vitamins it helps to calm our nervous systems as well.
  13. Overweight – Hey, isn’t this good news huh?! Yes, many of us tend to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps because of the avoidable pressure at work or whatsoever, so, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, snacking on high carbohydrate foods like petai every two hours helps to keep our blood sugar levels steady.
  14. Smoking – believe it or not? Petai can also help those who trying to quit smoking. As I have mentioned above, besides containing potassium and magnesium, the vitamin B6 and B12 that found in petai help our body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
  15. Stress – We all know that Potassium is a vital mineral which not only helps normalize our heartbeat and sends oxygen to our brain but regulates our body’s water balance as well. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate tends to rise and thereby reducing our Potassium levels. All these can be rebalanced with the help of this high-potassium petai snack.
  16. Temperature control – Curious of what this is right? It is believed by many other cultures and they see it as a “cooling” fruit which can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. They eat to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature…
  17. Ulcers – because of its soft texture and smoothness, petai is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders. It neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
  18. Wart – for some of those who may not really know what wart is, let me brief a bit here just in case…well, it’s a small, hard, benign growth on the skin which caused by a virus. Take a piece of petai and place it on the affected area, carefully hold the petai in place with a plaster or surgical tape.

beans that prevent and overcome several illness and conditions
beans that prevent and overcome several illness and conditions

Nutrition In Petai

Amazing for the benefits it offers which not only provide energy but also prevent and overcome several illness and conditions?

I bet you do, yet the most unbelievable part you may yet to know is that when compared to apples, petai has four times the protein, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and carbohydrates over twice as much, twice as many vitamins and other minerals…

Though it is a fact that it bears a stink smell, yet it is undeniable a delicious dish especially when combined with other strongly flavored foods such as garlic, chili peppers, and dried shrimp (or prawns) which it is named “sambal petai”, a popular culinary delight.

A popular culinary delight, sambal petai
A popular culinary delight, sambal petai

Recipe Of "Sambal Petai"

Here a tangy gastronomic that I would like to share with you...I bet you are eager enough to know what ingredient it needs to make this lip smacking good dish…

  1. 12 prawn, cleaned and peeled
  2. 150g dried shrimp, soaked and minced
  3. 8 fresh chilies, crushed.
  4. 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 200g petai bean
  6. salt to taste
  7. 4 red shallots, crushed.
  8. 1 tbsp sugar
  9. 1 tbsp lime juice
  10. cooking oil

Ok, five minutes, just five minutes, with these simple steps shown below you can make this great dish at home with just five minutes…

  1. Heat up a pan or wok with oil, and fry the crushed garlic and red shallots till fragrant.
  2. Add in the crushed chilies and minced dried shrimp, stir fry till fragrant.
  3. Put in the petai bean and prawns, stir fry for 2 minutes or till prawns are fully cooked.
  4. Add in sugar and enough salt, stir fry till mixed well.
  5. Off the fire, add in lime juice, served with steamed rice.

So, it’s done! Five minutes time! Yummy!

About Petai

Frankly, I have not seen the petai tree personally. As the price shoots up like rocket, and I know I won’t be able to resist the temptation of gorging that delicious sambal petai, so do my kids…for economic sake, this makes me wanting to plant the tree as kind of self sufficient but of course, I did seek advice from my cousin who is a farm owner.

However, sadly to know that the petai tree is large and shady than expected according to him, it can grow as high as 30 meters…oh my, and well, you know the rest, that’s being said…I should forget it as the given place for me to plant is so limited…

Anyway, share with you the petai fruits here as well since I have had a brief for the tree. Well, the petai fruits are actually long and thin in the head known as the ‘board’ and they look like large French beans. Each board has a total between 12 to 15 beans arranged lengthwise. The beans look oval and flat in shape with bright green colors, and yes, with very distinctive pungent smell of course…

Petai Lover

People around us may find it hard to ignore our presence after a hearty meal with sambal petai as our body starts emitting a strong repulsive odor that is so pervasive and characteristic of petai especially while we are urinating or when we give out a belch…

However, I am still one of those petai lovers, how about you?

Can you accept the stinky smell of petai?

See results

Are you a petai lover?

See results


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    • profile image

      Dinks 11 months ago

      I'm an Indonesian and I love petai very much. Too bad they don't have it here in Nairobi

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 3 years ago

      Thank you so much Kamzalian, hope you enjoy the reading. Cheers

    • profile image

      Kamzalian 3 years ago

      I love it. It's a delicacies used in chutneys

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 3 years ago

      Yup, this is the great ever benefit to the farmer I supposed. Thank you so much for taking your precious time to leave me your comment Inaobiirengbam. Hope to see you here always.

    • profile image

      Inaobiirengbam 3 years ago

      Add Your Comment..Besides these benefits to our

      health, farmers can earn there incomes too by growing this tree

      Can a farmer be able to export his products ?

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      Thanks DDE, appreciate much for your reading and comment. Hope you enjoy the reading as well as the petai if you happen to have the chance to try it. Cheers!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Incredible information which I had no idea of, but you have shared this Hub with great work and informed me to the point.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      You are most welcome satyaranjan, glad to know that you love Petai...hope you manage to find it in Haiti...cheers!

    • profile image

      satyaranjan 5 years ago

      I love this bean and I can't forget the taste. I am from Manipur working in Haiti now. We don't have Asian market here. Rasta1 said it is available in Jamaica than it may be available in Haiti also. I will check it out with the local people. Thanks for sharing the information.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      Thanks I learn one more thing too...Yongchak in Manipur...really appreciate your comment here, do hope you enjoy it...have a great day!

    • profile image

      ruby 5 years ago

      In Manipur, it is called Yongchak, it is favorite dishes of manipuris, we don't know earlier it is very useful, now we can eat proudly hahaha lol

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      Thanks for visiting me again Ken, yes, the price is shooting high and I did ask the seller why it is so, she replied that the demand is higher than supply...well, unless we plant again Ken for your support and have a great day ya...cheers!

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 5 years ago from Malaysia

      I never thought that Petai aka ChouTou has so much health benefits. I love them very much exclude the stinky smell comes with it. Yeap, the price is shooting high till touching the sky and I don't understand why this is happening.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      Thanks for the "shared" Paul...glad to have your support here, have tried it huh? Hope you enjoy...cheers!

      Thanks Agus...yes, you should try it, it's worth to try...

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Anonymous...well, it's a delicious dish indeed and the beans themselves are not particularly stinky at all ...the stinky bean is being called for the reason that once you eat them, your urine will bear the unmistakable petai smell, your breath...and the petai's odor that when you burp...

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

      I didn't know that petai has gives so many benefits despite its unfriendly smell. Some people also told me that petai is also good for improving kidneys' health. I think I should try to like it from now on.

    • profile image

      Paul 5 years ago

      Ive shared this interesting facts on my fb! Awesome info! I just started eating them. Difficult at first, now it's like chow wing cashew nuts. Lol..

    • profile image

      Anonymous 5 years ago

      Just tried petai at a restaurant (Pho Hoang) in Flushing, Queens. With fish and what they call Malaysian paste (probably = sambai). The dish is absolutely delicious, and the bean has a perfumed aftertaste, not a stink. In any case, its effects are no worse than asparagus, which westerners eat happily all the time. Rid it of its nickname, and publicize it!

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      You are right Mrs tuoyo, as we grow older, we have to watch out our dislikes and dislikes...hope this hub helps and hope you enjoy it as well...thank you for your reading and support, sincerely too have a good day! Cheers!

    • profile image

      Mrs tuoyo 5 years ago

      I love petai so as grow older hv to watch out our likes n dislikes bt after read ur petai story I start love more...tq hv good day

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 6 years ago

      Owh really? Wow~~~you must be enjoyed it very much. Thanks for dropping by and leaving me your comment Anya, hope to have your support here again, have a great day! Cheers!

    • profile image

      Anya 6 years ago

      I eat this almost everyday love it!

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 6 years ago

      Thanks again Tams for visiting and leaving me your comment. Hope you enjoy the reading though this petai seems that unfamiliar to you...have a nice day there!

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 6 years ago from Missouri

      I've never heard of it before either. That's what makes it a fantastic topic for a hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 6 years ago

      Hi glad to have a new visitor here, nice to meet you and thanks for the comment left, will go to your hubs after this...cheers The Finance Hub, have a nice day!

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 6 years ago

      Hi rasta1, thanks for being the first to leave me your comment, it's kind of encouragement, it can be found in your area? Try it, who may be hooked since then...if not, it benefits you for sure. Once again, thanks for the reading and comment, have a nice day!

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 6 years ago from Jamaica

      It's called the stinking toe in Jamaica. Its rarely eaten here. Mostly consumed by the elderly (90+). I have never seen anyone eat it though.


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