A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

How To Make: Stink Bean Stirfry

Posted date:  September 24, 2006

Known as sator in Thai, stink bean is the unfortunate English-language name of this podlike vegetable:


The “beans” are actually the large seeds found in the pod, and must be extracted and peeled beforehand. In Thailand, stink bean is mostly associated with southern Thai cooking, where it is eaten raw with dips, used in stir fries and even pickled. The name, although unnecessarily derogatory, is not all that innaccurate, as stink bean is probably one of the most pungent foods around.

Despite all this, I like it (as do many, many people in southern Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia), and find the flavor similar to an intense, but less biting, garlic. If you can get your hands on it, one of the easiest ways to prepare stink bean is this simple stir fry with some shrimp paste and seafood. I use squid in the recipe below, although you can replace this with shrimp or even pork if you like.

Squid Fried with Stink Bean
(Serves 2 as part of a southern Thai meal)



Cooking oil 3 Tbsp
Garlic 3 cloves
Shrimp paste 1 Tbsp
Onion 1/4, sliced thinly
‘Banana chili’ 2, sliced thinly
Water 1/4 cup
Squid 100g
Halved stink beans 50 g
Fish sauce 1 Tbsp, or to taste

Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor grind garlic and shrimp paste together into a rough paste. Set aside.

Wash and slice squid into 1″ wide rings. Set aside.

In a wok over medium-high heat, heat cooking oil and add shrimp paste mixture. Stirring constantly, fry until fragrant, about two minutes. Add onions and and chili, fry briefly, and add most of the water. Allow mixture to simmer and reduce, stirring constantly, until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. Increase heat to high and add stink beans and squid, stirring constantly. Add fish sauce to taste and saute until squid is cooked, about two minutes.


Serve hot with rice and try to avoid talking to other people for at least three hours.

14 Comments for How To Make: Stink Bean Stirfry

3 things.
The content of this post is just great.
The layout is tasteful and the photography is beautiful
I think I can cook that and now I know about the stink bean and it’s thai name.
Well done. Great Blog. I’m hooked.

charles: Thanks, thanks and thanks!

3 hours? Not enough I think… try a night! hahaha. 🙂 Sator is my favourite too!

Yummmm! I can see why some people don’t like it. Bad breath can linger in your mouth for some time, as the name given away. In Sydney, I don’t thin we can find it fresh here. Frozen pods can be foune in Thai groceries. I use Ayam’s brand can for the stir fried. It lacks of crispy texture and less stinks. Ah well, nothing beats fresh produce.

Nice one. I’m a fan of Sator too. It’s good to have with Prik as an accompaniment to a main dish.
Just have to make sure everyone at the table has it so all will be in the same smelly boat…

I love Sator and I’m not convinced it’s such a strong smell or flavour, certainly no worse than eating garlic or onions. I can just munch them raw like peanuts, much to the chagrin of my wife 😀

A kinder English translation to “stink bean” is “twisted cluster bean”

Oh yum!

Sator is also great cooked with squid in a garlic pepper sauce. (Gratium prik thai).

Beware: not good for kissing!


Neither is kissing. In the long run….

The veg called pete in Indonesia, this addictive beans became an essentials element in Indonesian cooking, especially Sumatra and Java. In Sumatra they dish prepared with prawn in the Balado Pete Udang, a spicy Stinky Bean and Prawn stirfry and in Java popular as side crudites either raw, steamed, fried or even grilled, usually dip in chili sambal. Javanese cooking also add this beans to the Veg Curry or as and ingredients in veg stirfry

An even more stinkier bean call Jengkol was also Indonesian favorite, doused in thick curry (Rendang Jengkol) or in tasty sweet sauce (Semur Jengkol)

Wow, wow and wow…I love your photographs and your details about the food…



All these years laters and it’s become my favourite bean. I live for it these days 🙂

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