The mere mention of ‘petai’ can divide your friends and family and it’s either very much loved or loathed.
The ‘petai’as it’s known in Malaysia or generally known as ‘Stink Bean’ or ‘Bitter Bean’, ‘sataw’ (สะตอ) in Thailand, ‘pete’ in Indonesia, ‘u’pang’ in the Philippines or by its scientific name Parkia Speciosa doesn’t sound like a very palatable bean but it has its fair share of loyal fans. Usually sold in bunches with the beans still contained with the pod, petai is usually gathered from the wild.
The pods and seeds of petai has been found to contain high content of:
Polyphenols which are micronutrients with antioxidant activity.
Phytosterol known for lowering LDL (Low-density lipoprotein, bad cholesterol) that can cause blockages in our arteries.
Flavonoids are where the colour of the plant comes from and it has antioxidant activity.
Here are more interesting facts about petai:
Its aroma has been described as ranging from Shiitake mushrooms to natural gas and it’s the aftermath that’s worse than its initial taste or smell. Much like asparagus, it’s smell can be detected in one’s urine up to two days after eating it! This is due to certain amino acids contained in the beans.
In folk medicine, it has been used to treat hypertension and also expelling intestinal worms and parasites.
The high amounts of phenolic compounds found in petai acts as antioxidants in addition to showing antiseptic and antibacterial characteristics.
In addition to the pungent smell it imparts to urine, the complex carbohydrates in petai could also cause strong-smelling flatulence.
It is commonly served with sambal, a spicy paste made of chillies, shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallots and more! Additionally, it can also be pickled in brine or fried with rice and goat meat such as in Indonesia.
A regular contributor to YesMyWellness.com, Norshilah who graduated from from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (MSc of Clinical Psychology), is a seasoned counselor working with individuals, group and family therapy for children, adolescents, and adults on an inpatient and outpatient basis. A devoted parent of 3 bubbly kids, Norshilah loves to collect, try out and share life hacks (only those that really works!) and occasionally works on her little garden, growing traditional herbs like Misai Kucing, Pegaga, Cekur, Daun Kesum, Lengkuas, Lemongrass and many others.