Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Planting A Thai Memory: Long Beans

Monks feeding long beans to the fish at Nam Tok Phlio

Tor Soro jostling for long beans
Anyone who's had stir fry or papaya salad in Thailand has undoubtedly had a Thai version of "long beans," or tua fak yao in front of them. The monk in the shots today has a small handful of them, and you can see more on the ground just behind him.

They're sometimes also known as "yard long beans", although I don't recall ever seeing any longer than 24 inches (60cm) or so. They're a little less sweet than what Westerners know as green beans, or string beans.

The Tor Soro is (in layman's terms) part of the carp family, and are found throughout Thailand in streams, waterfall areas, that sort of thing.  They have quite a taste for these long beans, too, and where they gather you'll sometimes find people feeding beans to them, as the monk here is doing.

You can dangle them and allow the fish to nibble or just snap them into pieces and toss them into the water and the fish will battle it out for their share. If you hold them as the monk is doing and catch them just at the right moment you can lift the entire fish out of the water.  I wasn't lucky enough to get a shot of that.

Personally, I think the beans are delicious, but I wouldn't fight over them, especially in a pond.  Youtiao might be a different story.

About a month ago a package arrived with the seeds for this Summer season's garden arrived, and this year there were seeds for these long beans among the packets of cherry tomato, lemon squash, bell and cayenne pepper, Japanese eggplant, snow peas and some other things, so into the planting mix they went. Starting from seeds and not seedlings makes for a more adventurous gardening year, but it's always interesting to see things grow.

The seedlings are almost to the point where they're ready to be transplanted from the conservatory here at the house into a protected area of the Great Outdoors, and there's a bit of prep work needed to get that process moved along... and that's what I need to get off of my chair and do today.

I'll post more info about the fish and the Nam Tok Phlio National Park near Laem Sing early next week.

Thai Long Bean seedlings, as they looked yesterday morning


Anonymous said...

We've even gotten them to grow in
our orchid greenhouse here in Toronto.
They aren't as good as
Thai grown, but good...

khunbaobao said...

Hey - Welcome, Toronto! Thanks for that. I'll let you know how they do here as the season goes along.