Pete or petai is an almond-shaped edible bean used frequently in many Indonesian cooking. These beans have a very strong aroma and a peculiar taste. Apparently it comes from the high concentration of amino acid (some say it could pass as methane gas). The smell stays with you long after it’s consumed. It will even follow you to the bathroom in the form of stinky urine, an effect similar to asparagus or shiitake mushroom. No wonder the beans are also called ‘stink beans’ in English — the name is justified.
Hate it or love it, pete has always been an important part of Indonesian cuisine. Indonesians from different regions use them widely for all kinds of cooking. They can be added to soup, made into sambal, cooked with meat or fish. You can even eat them raw as lalapan (Indonesian raw salads). Raw pete is a little bit bitter with a stronger aroma, but for the pete enthusiast, raw pete is considered the best. Uncooked pete is especially popular in Sundanese lalapan.
The perfect combination
Pairing sambal and pete is always a good thing. It enhances each other’s flavour. This combination can be a base for any other sambal dish variants, such as today’s recipe — sambal udang pete, or sambal with shrimps and pete. Here, we’ve added shrimp to the sambal and pete, making it more appetizing.
Sambal udang pete has a complex and rich flavour. It’s savoury, but also spicy, with faint traces of sweetness and a hint of fresh sourness from the tomato. The pungent roasted shrimp paste and the aroma of the strong pete beans lock the flavours that are released. You might not fall in love with pete beans on first smell, but after this dish, you might feel differently. Just try not to eat it before an important meeting.
Enjoy the dish with plenty of steamed rice and introduce it to your family and friends. It’s time for the glorious little stink beans to gain the popularity they deserve.Print
Sambal udang pete is a popular dish consisting of sambal stir-fried with shrimps and petai, or stink beans. For some, the beans might be an acquired taste, but they definitely have a huge fan following!
- 250 gr shrimp, remove the head, wash thoroughly.
- 10 big red chillies, chopped
- 5 bird’s eye chillies (optional)
- 8 shallots, peeled, chopped
- 1 medium red tomato, chopped
- 0.5 tsp roasted shrimp paste
- 2 cm galangal, bruised
- 1 salam leaf (Indonesian bay leaf)
- 50 gr pete beans
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of sugar
- 50 ml water
- 3 tbsp oil
- Fry the shrimp briefly just until they turn pink (around 2 minutes each side), set aside.
- Blend into a fine paste: big red chillies, bird’s eye chillies, shallots, tomato and shrimp paste.
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat.
- Sauté the spice paste, galangal and salam leaf until fragrant, around 3 minutes.
- Add the water, salt and sugar, lower the heat to medium.
- Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, leaving a nice shiny paste.
- Add the pete beans and cook for around 3 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, cook for another 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the dish to a serving bowl.
- In the US or Europe, stink beans can be purchased in stores selling oriental/Asian produce. Fresh ones are not always available, but sometimes they have canned or frozen ones which can be used as a substitute.
- Always split the fresh pete bean in half to make sure there are no worms inside the bean.
Keywords: Spicy, Galangal, Stink Beans