The tree produces pods up to 17 inches (43 cm) long. When the pods are very young, before the beans inside have developed, the pods are pale green, very flat, and a bit curly. At this stage, they are sometimes referred to as “twisted cluster beans,” and can be used whole as a vegetable to be either eaten raw, cooked or pickled. If they are stir-fried, they will be fried for about 5 seconds.
When fully grown, the pods are long and quite flat. The beans inside are bright green, and look a bit like Lima Beans with oval, squat, blunt ends. When cooked, the beans are crunchy, and have a strong, bitter flavour. Many people don’t even like the smell; others either don’t detect the taste and smell, or actually like it. Fans say the flavour stands up and matches well with other strong flavours.
Sator Beans are sold fresh in their pods in bunches, or just as podded beans either frozen in flat plastic bags or packed in brine in jars or cans.
Sator Beans are popular in south-east Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma (aka Myanmar) and southern Thailand.
When harvested for the beans, the pods are used for animal fodder.
Chopped-up green beans, or asparagus.
In Indonesia Sator Beans are called “peteh”; in Malaysia they are called “petai”; in Thailand they are called “sataw” or “sator”.