Dangerously Delicious

In everyday Indonesian language, the word delicious is translated as ‘enak’. The word ‘enak’ is usually used to describe the taste of food and beverage. But we  also use it to describe our health condition. For example, when we are not feeling well, we say ‘tidak enak badan’ which, if literally translated, means ‘my body is not delicious’. Speaking of ‘not delicious body’, I have a habit of craving for a certain food whenever I am not feeling well. Strangely, the food I mostly crave is one of famous Padang dishes named Spicy Prawn and Stinky Beans or in Bahasa we call it Balado Udang Petai. And believe it or not, it always works – the dish can ‘cure’ me whenever ‘my body is not delicious’.
I have learned how to cook Udang Balado Petai from one of Periplus Mini Cookbooks – Spicy Padang Cooking which was written by the famous Indonesian Culinary Expert Mr. William Wongso (together with Hayatinufus A.L. Tobing).
When I first learned how to cook a dish, I followed the recipe to the letter. But after sometimes, I found my own version of every recipe I’ve learned either from books or TV programs. And this is my version of Balado Udang Petai (adaptation of Spicy King Prawns by William Wongso) and I gave it a new name:
When Spicy Prawn Met Stinky Bean
  • 500 gram of fresh large prawns; some people like the prawn to be peeled but I like them un-peeled but the head taken out
  • 20 peeled whole mature stinky beans
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juiceli
  • Pinch of salt


  • 10 red finger-length chilies, finely sliced
  •  3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  •  5 shallots, finely sliced
  •  1 medium tomato, deseeded and chopped
  •  1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  •  Pinch of salt
  •  2 Kaffir-lime leaves


  • To prepare  the seasoning, grind all ingredients, except the kaffir-lime leaves, to a smooth paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the moisture turning.
  • Rub the lime juice and salt onto the prawns. Set aside for a few minutes then drain the prawns and pat dry with towel paper.
  •  Heat the oil in a wok in high heat. Deep fry the prawns, a handful at a time about 1 minute or so for each batch. Remove and drain on towel paper
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of  vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, stir fry the stinky beans with the seasoning and kaffir-lime leaves until fragrant and cooked around 5 minutes.
  • Add the fried prawns and mixed well and blended  but don’t over cooked the prawn.
  • Discard the kaffir-lime leaves 

Serve warm with rice.


I assure you that the combination of Spicy Prawn and Stinky Bean is dangerously delicious. I love it and I believe that many Indonesians and Asians love it too although some people don’t want to admit or eat it in public because the dish contains stinky bean so it is considered dangerous to self-image. 

It’s hard to ignore Mr. Stinky Bean. You’ll either love it or hate it. Stinky Bean has bright green color and shape of plump almond and has a rather peculiar smell. The bean itself is not particularly stinky but once you eat it, you will begin to notice things. The effect on your breath will be worrying.  And when you burp – and if you eat stinky beans you will burp – you’ll get to taste of the stinky aroma all over again. So before eating stinky bean, you really need to evaluate your chances of getting some kissing for a few days (note: people say that drinking a lot of water or eat raw cucumber may help to flush the smell from your system).

I am intrigue. What is so special about this Mr. Stinky Bean? Let’s conduct a little desk research.

Known to the botanist as Parkia speciosa,, stinky bean may be labeled with different names depending on the country of origin: peteh, petai, yongchaak, sataw, or sator.

It has earned its nickname ‘stinky bean’ because its strong smell is very pervasive. It lingers in the mouth and body. Like asparagus, it contains certain amino acids that give a strong smell to one’s urine, an effect that can be noticed up to two days after consumption. Like other beans, their complex carbohydrates can also cause strong-smelling flatulence.
Stinky beans look like broad beans. They have to be peeled before cooking. Aside from culinary uses, stinky bean or Parkia speciosa is said to be beneficial in treating a number of health conditions. Hence, its uses can have far-reaching benefits.
Stinky beans are known to help in treating depression, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and constipation.
Really? No wonder this dangerously delicious dish can cure me when ‘my body is not delicious’.

Notes and Tips

For more details on the benefits of Stinky Bean please see my post ‘Meet Mr. Stinky Bean’ under Food-O-Pedia category .

– Wikipedia
– Gita Rajan in Helium.


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