Petai (Parkia Speciosa) are abundant during the durian season of June and July here. It is also known as stink beans for its foul smell, much like the stench of burnt rubber. It also has a slightly bitter taste. It is a delicacy to those who appreciate it not only for its unique taste but its supposedly medicinal property of countering diabetes.
There are several ways to eat petai. The simplest is to remove the beans from the pod, remove the white membrane and eat it raw. For a little more flavour, it can be eaten with sambal belacan and mashed dried prawns. The pod can be toasted over embers and the beans removed and eaten the same way. Another is to make dried prawns sambal and add petai to it. One recipe I like is the Sambal Petai and Prawns.
Peter gave me some petai a few days ago. Since I have developed an allergy to prawns, it was substituted with chicken. I would have loved to use tom yam paste for the dish but it is not something I should indulge in. I settled with using onions and soy sauce for taste. No salt was used but I believe it would have tasted better with some. The following was what I cooked up for today’s lunch.
Peter Tan’s Petai Masak Pedas
1 cup of petai beans
2 onions, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 dried chillies, remove seeds and soak in water for 10 minutes
1/2 chicken breast, cut into 2 cm slices
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp thick soy sauce
2 tsp soy sauce, or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar, or to taste
(a dash of salt, or to taste)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp corn flour
Heat oil in wok. Add garlic and stir till fragrant. Add onions and dried chillies and stir till fragrant. Add chicken and stir for 2 minutes. Mix the thick soy sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water and pour into wok. Stir for another 2 minutes. Add the petai beans and stir for another 2 minutes. Dissolve corn flour in a little water, pour into the wok and stir until the gravy becomes thicker in consistency. Remove from wok and serve with rice. For an extra dose of spiciness, add chilli padi together with the dried chillies.