Asian Vermicelli with Choi Sam, Tiny Shrimps & Lime Pickel... WITHOUT Peteh Beans!!!
I like "going out on a limb" when it comes to buying groceries and ingredients- I like being a reckless daredevil in the kitchen and trying out crazy ideas... I even like risking picking something intriguing-looking up at the Asian supermarket. I look forward to looking up what I have bought online and finding out what the shop-owners had not been able to explain to me... and usually I am lucky...
What you can see here is a beautiful and delicious plate of food. You might notice the conspicuously missing green "Peteh" beans. For good reason!
They are not known as "stink beans" in Asia for nothing you know! Only... I didn't know what they were at the time when I bought them... but I do now!!!
What you can see here is a nice couple of handfuls of delicious, tender choi sam greens. On the left you can see 1 bundle of Japanese flour vermicelli and in front of them, 2 other interesting ingredients. The slightly reddish-colored tiny shrimps come in a jar and are used for seasoning, in the same way that you would use fish sauce in Asian cuisine or anchovies in Italian. The other slightly yellowish paste is a mild lime pickle- an Indian ingredient, but I liked the thought of lime with the shrimp flavor.
So far so good...
The combination of those ingredients made for a very simple, but totally flavorful and satisfying meal. Spiced-up and emphasized with a drizzle of sweet chili paste and a little sesame oil it was a perfect dish. Thank goodness I left those beans out of the equation!
They look kind-of harmless don't they? And you would probably imagine them to be sweet and mild like broad beans or peas... wrong!
The second I opened the bag, the stench hit me... a kind of natural and yet chemical, nerve-gas attack... I think even a skunk would turn its nose up at these!
I tried boiling them and tasting them... but they stank the kitchen out in next to no time! So bad! I read online that they can even be eaten raw, so I decided to try one and see... how often does a smelly cheese taste wonderful? More times than not... but no- not these fellows! They are stinkers and not worthy of human consumption... that is my last word on the matter!
So after throwing away the beans, I got busy with preparing something else than what I had planned originally- but yet still terrific! And the first step was to chop the choi-sam into smaller, more manageable pieces.
I stir-fried the choi sam for 2-3 minutes with a little peanut oil and in the meantime I brought the water to the boil for my bundle of noodles. I stole a ladle of water before adding the noodles, to deglaze the frying pan and to finish cooking the choi sam better by building up some steam.
I covered the greens and popped in the noodles to boil, for just 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, the water had been absorbed by the greens and they were ready to add some flavoring! So in with the greens went 1 teaspoon each of mild lime pickles and the tiny shrimps- which took care of around 90% of the seasoning!
The shrimp, being salted, had more than enough seasoning for the noodles and greens put together and the pickles made it tangy mildly spicy... but what made it perfect for me was the sweet Thai chili sauce which I added for some sweetness and heat and which thankfully brought in enough balance that everything worked wonderfully.
So it was a case of bye-bye beans and hello supper! You lives and you learns, right? Well this evening I did for sure! And still had a great meal- and you can too!