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Friday, November 12, 2010

Petai with Minced Meat

Stink me in the day
Or stink me in the night
I don’t mind you stinking me
As long as you stink me right

Petai (Parkia speciosa), or stink beans is an acquired taste. Hate it or love it. It’s odd that we South East Asians love stinky fruits. Durian and petai. Although petai is eaten like a veggie, but it’s a fruit from the Petai tree, just like any other beans.

If you haven’t seen a petai tree, let me tell you it’s HUGE!!!! I’ve seen one at my student’s house back in Selancar and it’s HUMONGOUS!! Taller than the house, it’s even taller than a durian tree. No wonder it’s so expensive, takes a lot of effort to pluck these precious stinkies.

If you’ve never heard or eaten this before… taste wise, it’s slightly bitter and pungent. But it’s the washroom experience that irks the non eaters. If one has eaten petai, the person doesn’t need to tell you. If you entered after this person came out, please hold your breath!!!
If eating asparagus gives you stinky urine, think of this 10X worse. The smell is similiar but haha, much much stronger.

Despite the bad washroom results, why do people still want to eat this? Read the lengthy reasons to know why.

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating petai. This is because petai contains tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS (premenstrual syndrome):
Forget the pills - eat petai. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

High in iron, petai can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.

Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the petai industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power:
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating petai at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fiber, including petai in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a petai milkshake, sweetened with honey. The petai calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Petai has a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating petai for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness:
Snacking on petai between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites:
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of the petai skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Petai is high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Petai is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:
Many other cultures see petai as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Holland, for example, pregnant women eat petai to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
Petai can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Petai can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium petai snack.

According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine, " eating petai as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%".

Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of petai and place it on the wart. Carefully hold the petai in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, as you can see, petai really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has 4x the protein, 2x the carbohydrates, 3x the phosphorus, 5x the vitamin A and iron, and 2x the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A Petai a day keeps the doctor away".

According to:
PM Dr.Aminuddin AHK Dept.of Physiology
Medical faculty of UKM Kuala Lumpur

There are 2 types of petai regularly seen sold. Petai Papan and Petai Padi. How to differentiate?
Petai Papan is bigger, flatter and and tastes slightly harder than Petai Padi.
Petai Padi is smaller, has a taller hump and gives a lighter crunch than Petai Papan.

I personally prefer petai padi, but it’s harder to get in peeled form. Petai padi usually comes unpeeled, sold by Malay or aboriginal vendors. I bought mine this time RM2 for a bunch of 5 long pods and I bought 3 bunches to peel them myself.

Kitchen tip: Some people find that peeled petai bought from wet markets tend to smell “green”. I was told that it is because the beans were soaked in water to increase its weight. And even rinsing the beans won’t make it taste good. So, after peeling, do not wash, and let it be exposed to air overnight. This way, the eating experience is nicer. It produces a nice stinky bean that is not too stinky on the nose, and is pliable and crunchy.

Always split the beans to check for worms

Usually people will cook petai with fiery sambal (chilli spice paste), but today I’m doing it slightly different, by using much less chilli and using a lot of minced meat. My FIL has to cut down on spicy food, so I changed the regular petai cooking method to this.

Petai with Minced Meat
Recipe Source: Wendyywy

150gm petai (stink beans), about 1 cup
200gm minced meat (pork or chicken)
1 red chilli
1 large clove garlic
2 shallots
¾ tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp corn starch
1/3 cup water

1. Pound or mill chilli, shallot and garlic.
2. On high heat, heat a wok and put in 3 Tbsp of oil.
3. Put in pounded ingredients and sauté until slightly golden.
4. Put in minced meat and cook until it turn opaque, put in salt.
5. Continue to cook until the meat is no longer releasing juices, but seem to be drying up.
6. Turn heat to medium and put in sugar and soy sauce and cook until the meat seems dry and fragrant.
7. Put in split petai beans and cook for 20- 30 seconds.
8. Mix cornstarch with water and pour in bit by bit, tossing all the time until the liquid is all absorbed.


  1. mak aihhhh...banyaknyer petai tuhh! meh ler campak sepapan.. my hubby tak suker betol petai. apalah dosa.. kesian petai.. but ai like very much! ari2 makan pong xpe.. pehtu angin bau sungguh nyaman.. hahahahaha.. nice pics!

  2. make the petai sounds like a 仙丹 here!!
    I don't hate it but don't love it so much either, and I think the sambal petai is the best...although I've never tried this lah!

  3. I've been wanted to go to the nearby pasar malam to buy petai since last Thursday, but thinking of of peeling job, I put a pulse, hehe...

  4. This is something new for me...gotta look out for some in Asia markets since they are so nutritious and beneficial to the health.

  5. Wah, I'm in petai-heaven just by looking at your pictures. Yes, I also like the smaller ones. I think there's another type of petai that comes from Thailand, or is that the Petai Papan you mentioned, Wendy?

  6. Wendy..this is so appetizing..I can have 2 bowls of rice with just this dish ! Hungry now looking at it. Jo asked me to make this for her , have yet to buy the petai :p thanks for your version with minced meat. I normally cooked with shrimps :)

  7. Wow, I can smell the petai from here. Stink or no stink I love it. Thanks for all the info re petai.

  8. Hana,
    Mesti bau angin tu yang buat hubby hana tak minat, hahaha!!!
    Kat Jepon takde kan? Nak kirim pun tak leh. Tak lalu kastam

    I just copied and pasted what the prof said. I didn't make the claims, hahah.
    But I think every Malaysian knows it's good for health, especially for diabetes and high blood pressure.

    Little Inbox,
    If I feel like eating, but lazy to peel, buy those peeled ones lor. Might not be as tasty, but better than nothing

    This is a South East Asian delicacy. But be warned, it's really stinky

    Those comes peeled from Thailand is probably petai papan. Really big seeds and look flatter, right?

    Haha, Quickly go and buy some. I think these are available in UK, but in frozen form, and no more stinkiness.

    I prefer it not to stink when I eat it, and later what happens in the washroom, I don't care oredi. Hahaha.

  9. You either love it or hate it. Just like durian :) For me I don't mind having it once a while but the frozen one here is not as pungent as the back home.

  10. You have done this differently without chilli. Looks good! I don't mind eating this but don't like the after effect!

  11. Absolutely love this stinky bean and would usually buy the fat ones. Who cares if they do stink!

  12. Well, garlic stinks too, yet almost everyone loves it. Stinky food can be tasty too.
    I've never heard of petai, but it sounds so healthy. The dish looks great - your shots are SO beautiful.

  13. Wow! You make the petai looks so delicious! I prefer them cooked in sambal prawns but this version looks good too!

  14. Gert,
    Yeah, my MIL says so too. Some more, taste soggy, right??

    Got one chilli, just not as much as usual. Still need some kick, if not boh song.

    LOL, None eaters will care, haha.

    Indie Tea,
    Garlic is nothing compared to petai. In my opinion. If you ever come to South East Asia, make this as something you should try.

    Many versions to cook petai. I do not like to limit myself to only one method to cook each vegetable. Even eating raw with sambal belacan is nice.

  15. hey wendy,

    erm.. I have never eaten petai before but I have read about its stinkiness. Didnt know that there are so many benefits from eating petai.

  16. Bakertan,
    A Singaporean never tasted a petai before? Now you surprise me. Never even smelled one?
    It's actually very nice ;p

  17. No no, Singaporeans eat petai. Only the older ones like moi! I love this with sambal and had cravings for it recently. Bought a pack from a nearby supermarket and was really disgusted to find worms in some of them. I nearly threw the entire pack away but decided to satisfy my cravings there and then. Didn't do it well... now I know, only need to fry them quickly. I think I errrmm.. fry it for 10mins.. to ensure they are COOKED. :D

    Btw, seriously admire how you managed to post so regularly!

  18. Ronni,
    I know Singaporeans eat Petai, I was surpised at Bakertan being a Singaporean with no petai experience.
    Petai tends to have worms, because they are grown without pesticides in the jungles. You must always split them to check for worms. If you are brave enough, just flick the worms away and wash and cook the split petai.

    Abt my postings, I draft them the moment I cooked them, lest I forgot some ingredient. I've actually lined up my post way way ahead. Each post u see could be months old.

  19. Wendy sweetie! Love this post. We have a tree in our front yard with very similar pods! So cool! I am going to look them both up to see if they are in the same family! Too funny about the smells that come from it! I love bitter in my diet and I think the info you posted is awesome! xoxo Megs

  20. Megan,
    Oh no, please don't. The tree you have there might be a cassia tree. All plants from the legume family produce long pods like beans. They may look similiar, but they are not the same. I don't think petai grows elsewhere besides from South East Asia, if not it won't be sold frozen in Asian stores.

  21. Wendy, been meaning to voice out how I dislike petai ... I read this post long ago. Just didn't get around to do it.

    OK, I hate petai because of its texture and the aftermath of consuming petai. The washroom stinks BAD TIME!!! I just smelled something petai at the washroom in the office the other day. YUCK!!!!! Disgusting!

    To top it off, I've not really swallowed petai before. I remember for the first time I bit into the veggie, I spat it out. After knowing my family having some stinky urine issue, I concluded that petai stinks and I ain't gonna eat it!!!

    Sorry ... I just don't like petai AT ALL.

  22. Wow petai!!! it really makes my day. i really love anything with petai be it sambal petai, with minced meat, or something as simple as boiled petai.

    Malaysian petai is the best, especially the ones from kampung. I don't really like Thailand petai, they have big petai, big lychee, big longan whatsoever but all tasteless. Nothing can beat petai kampung.

    Thanks for the recipe, do you use udang kering and belacan as well?

  23. presa1200,
    HAHa, see petai so happy :)
    I do use udang kering and belacan for petai, but not in this recipe


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