Peter Tan’s Petai Masak Pedas


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.

Petai beans

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.

Spicy stir fried petai

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.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

19 thoughts on “Peter Tan’s Petai Masak Pedas”

  1. Argh! hungry.. *drool*

    The other petai dish which I love is the normal curry petai. woOooo… *sucks in deep* aaahhhh.. 😀

  2. I likes…

    I used to chew on ’em petais raw and go blowing my killer breathe at my sis. Am so evil.

  3. dannyFoo,
    Petai Sambal Udang?

    I think garlic breath smells worse but yes, you are evil. Hehe.

  4. yum yum, i really would love to enjoy some of your cooking one day 🙂 hint hint!

    take care and God bless,

  5. So you’re not forbidden to eat spicy? Goodie. I don’t fancy petai, but I just might make an exception for your case.

    One recipe after another. You’re on a roll, Pete! But take it easy, ‘K? C8-)

  6. i love sambal petai udang! it is very appetising. since i love spicy – there’s the sambal there, then my all time fav. food – prawns is there, and together with petai… wow! very yummy. i only take petai in sambal/curry.

  7. Ummm…why do petai always looks more appetising on photos and not in my mouth? 🙂

    Everytime I’m compel to try but everytime I cannot tahan and have to spit it out. It’s really an acquired taste.

  8. JxT2J,
    It is very easy. Just follow the recipe.

    When you come to Penang let me know. I see what I can conjure up.

    This is not as bad as garlic. Besides, the odour does not linger that long in the mouth.

    Giant Sotong,
    I do not fancy spicy food. This dish is not that spicy. This is also an exception. My normal meals are very boring.

    However you call it, this dish is still as delicious right? 😀

    It would have tasted better with tom yam paste.

    I hope it is does not produce any adverse effect against my health. Beans are one of those I must cut down on drastically.

    Brinjal is supposed to counter the stench in the toilet.

    I do not mind petai with sambal belacan and dried prawns. Very basic but equally delicious.

    If you do not like it, you will never like it. As you said, it is an acquired taste.

  9. Haiya… petai is one of my favourites ‘ulam’! I like to eat it raw with sambal belacan, rice and some ikan kembong goreng as well… Once my mother and I went to the Kuantan jetty and got on board a boat that took us to a peninsular off the coast… We stopped at a ‘gerai’ selling some petai, and it was the best tasting petai I ever had, ‘mata besar Uji Rashid’ (no offence to the lady, but a compliment to her wonderful big eyes…)

  10. Hi Peter
    It looks delicious! although without salt would be a bit of a bummer. Curious to know: can you use substitutes such as sodium free salt or Braggs Liquid aminos?
    ps. you’re right: washing up is the biggest no-fun chore!

  11. Eh Peter, What am I suppose to do with the Brinjal in toilet? Eat it? Wave it around? or place it somewhere? Just don’t let suanie hold it!! :))

  12. man you are making me hungry…

    i eat sambal petai with bread & cheese… you should try it. it makes an interesting sandwich.


  13. LecturerUM,
    Those big ones nicer or the tiny ones? I prefer one that smells bad in the mouth and in the toilet.

    I have not tried those salt substitutes. I have gotten used to eating bland food so much now that anything that is slightly salty will make me thirst no end. Actually washing up is good exercise for me. 😀

    You cook it separately and eat it when you eat petai. It is supposed to counter the stench when you need to go to the toilet.

    Petai with bread and cheese? Must try one day.

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